Why Is My Car Making a Clicking Noise?

To many of us, cars are complicated. Clicking, ticking, whirring, grinding. Is it normal or is it a problem? That’s the age-old question. Tick, Tick, tick… is it OK to drive?

When your car starts making a different noise you might be thinking it’s time to take it to an auto repair shop. Or you turn up the music and ignore it all together. That might not be the best idea though. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons your car may be ticking and clicking, before you start searching for “auto repair near me”.


The first thing to determine is the source of your tick.

If the tick sounds like it is coming from your engine, it could be due to low engine oil. If you hear the noise primarily when you are at a stop light, or upon accelerating, this could mean you are a quart or more low on oil and the engine doesn’t have enough lubrication to perform properly. Check your oil level with the dipstick and add the correct type of oil if you are low.
Now, if you have checked the oil level on your car, and it is still ticking, it could be due to your spark plugs. Spark plugs should typically be replaced between 30,000 – 100,000-mile mark, or sooner if you notice any problems. Since you can go long periods of time between changing your spark plugs, they can be easy to forget. Most older cards will have a ticking noise if the spark plugs are damaged or no longer fitting correctly.

If you have checked your spark plugs and your oil, and you’re still hearing a clicking noise coming from the engine of your car, it might be time to call a mobile mechanic. The culprit could be your lifters. The cylinder head on the engine uses lifers to open and close the valves on the engine. Over time, the lifters can get worn down and cause a ticking noise from the two metals clicking together. This is more easily diagnosed by someone with experience and training, and you’ll likely need to hire a car mechanic to fix the issue.


What if the clicking noise doesn’t sound like it’s in the engine and it is happening when your car won’t start? This can be really scary and might have you running to the mechanic. The good news though, the most common reason for rapid clicking and no start is a dead battery. The clicking difference between a battery issue and a different issue is usually the amount of clicking you hear. Multiple rapid clicks are likely a battery. If you feel comfortable doing so, try jump-starting your battery. Just remember to wear gloves and use proper protection before jump-starting your car. Call an auto shop if you have questions on how to jump-start your battery. Do not attempt this yourself if you are unfamiliar with cars, or the proper way to attach the jumper cables. Electric shock or more serious damage is possible, if not done correctly.

If jumping your car and/or replacing the battery was unsuccessful at fixing the issue, it could be your cars starter. The clicking from a bad starter is usually just a single click, instead of multiple fast clicks. If you’re hearing a single click, the starter could have gone bad, disabling the battery from fully charging the starter, resulting in the no-start clicking noise. Or the cables could have gone bad or disconnected, also leaving the starter without proper voltage to start the motor. The starter is not typically something you should try to diagnose or fix yourself. This is a job for your mechanic.

This is the point where you would typically call a tow truck. Instead, call a mobile mechanic! At South Jordan Mechanic, we come to you. There is no need to pay for a hefty tow bill or haul it to the nearest auto repair shop. Mobile auto repair service means you can get your car fixed where it is. Call us today for a car repair estimate and we’ll come to you. We can fix your vehicle while you’re at work, school or home. No more wasting time at the dealership or in a long line at the auto repair shop. We likely have a mechanic near you. Keep on with your day while we conveniently come to you and fix your car where you are. 

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