Why is my car making a ticking noise?

The timing belt is attached through a series of pulleys to the engine’s cam and crankshaft, and those complex systems are regulated by the timing belt, if something is wrong on either side – belt or cam/crankshaft – this ticking noise is a sign of trouble. When the timing belt starts to wear out, it may start making a ticking or humming sound in the engine. This warning sign may also be an indication of low oil pressure or the engine not having the proper amount of lubrication.

Since the timing belt is a crucial component to the inner workings of your car, if you notice these noises coming from your engine, you should arrange for your car to be collected and taken for a vehicle diagnostic or timing belt replacement as soon as possible.

These ticking or tapping sounds can also be heard if your car’s EGR valve is not opening properly. If the valve is sticking the flow of exhaust gases is being blocked, creating these ticking noises from the engine. A faulty EGR valve can cause performance issues including a reduction in power, reduced acceleration and decreased fuel efficiency. It can also cause vehicle emissions to increase, so must be fixed as soon as possible.

What are the common causes of car ticking noises?

Worn or faulty timing belt

Risk level – Medium

What to do – In most cars you can visually inspect your timing belt. Be sure to look for signs of wear, such as shredding or tearing and check for cracks in the belt as this can be a sign that your belt is old, dried-out and needs replacing.

On average, you might need a new timing belt every 4-6 years or after doing 40,000 miles in your car. This varies depending on your car’s age and condition. However, if your timing belt starts making noises or you can see that it’s worn out, you’ll need to book in for a replacement. You can book your timing belt replacement online and one of our dedicated drivers will collect your car and take it to a trusted garage near you.

Low oil pressure

Risk level – Medium

What to do – You should check the oil level with a dipstick and fill up the tank if the level is low. Check the oil pressure next with a pressure gauge when the engine is warm at idling. The pressure is fine if the reading is between 15 and 20 psi.

Usually there is a more serious problem when the ticking sound in an engine is coupled with low oil levels or low oil pressure. When this happens, it means oil is not reaching the top part of the engine, causing a shrill tapping or ticking sound. The root of the problem is likely to be linked to the timing belt or valvetrain components, including camshafts, rockers, lifters, and cam adjusters.

Issues with EGR valve

Risk level – Medium

What to do – You may be able to clean the EGR valve to unblock it, however we recommend having your car looked at by a mechanic as you may need a replacement EGR valve.

Booking a repair with Fixter couldn’t be easier. Simply select the repairs you need online, choose where and when you’d like us to collect your car, our drivers will take it to one of our vetted, local garages, and we’ll return your car back to you once the work is complete.