Does Your Car Make A Ticking Noise When Accelerating? Here’s The Fix

If you car make a ticking noise when accelerating? Don't worry, this guide helps you identify the problem and explains how to fix it.

Car enthusiasts will tell you that one of the best things about driving a car is hearing the sound of the engine roaring. Unfortunately, that “roar” can sometimes include a ticking noise that isn’t supposed to be there.

If your vehicle produces a ticking noise when accelerating, it may be due to a fault in one of the following components:

  • Oil pressure
  • Exhaust leaks
  • Valvetrain
  • Spark plugs

In this guide, I will look at all of these potential problems, with tips on diagnosing and potentially fixing the issue.

Let’s get started!

Table of ContentsShow

Low Oil Pressure

car engine oil fill port open

One of your most important tasks as a car owner is ensuring your car always has access to sufficient oil to lubricate all the engine’s moving parts.

Low oil pressure can be devastating to your engine as its metal parts will hit each other with significant friction, leading to irreversible damage.

As the metal parts hit each other, a ticking sound might be heard. The noise can be heard when the car is stationary but will be exacerbated when accelerating as the engine parts move more quickly.

How To Fix

First, be sure to fill your car’s supply of engine oil. If you recently replenished the oil, check that there are no leaks, which will deplete your oil more quickly than normal.

Make sure the oil filter is replaced after every oil change, which should be done at regular intervals. Low oil pressure could be due to a clogged oil filter, leaks, or simply an inadequate amount of engine oil present.

Exhaust Leaks

exhaust leaks

When the fuel is combusted, it has to be expelled in a controlled manner. If there is a leak in the exhaust manifold, a ticking noise could be produced.

An exhaust leak can occur anywhere in the exhaust system. However, if the leak is in the exhaust manifold, it may present itself as a ticking noise from the engine compartment.

How To Fix

It might sound serious to have an exhaust leak, but it is a fairly simple procedure to fix it.

The leak can simply be “patched up” by a mechanic. If it turns out the exhaust manifold gasket is leaking, it can be replaced at a relatively cheap cost.  

Faulty Valvetrain

valvetrain or valve train

The engine consists of many valves that each form part of the synchronous mechanisms of the engine. The valvetrain controls the intake and exhaust valves.

If the valvetrain or the valves themselves are faulty, a ticking noise might be heard as the valves are not correctly adjusted. The engine will be prone to misfire, and you could experience decreased power when accelerating.

This problem mostly occurs in high-mileage cars or cars that have not been properly serviced.

How To Fix

Adjusting the valvetrain is not a very complicated job and can be done as a DIY project if you have the necessary tools and patience. If you decide to let a professional fix it, it will cost you about $80 to $150.

Bad Spark Plugs

two spark plugs

Spark plugs that do not work properly, much like misaligned valves, will cause the engine to misfire.

If you have recently changed your spark plugs and hear a ticking sound, it’s possible that the spark plugs were installed incorrectly.

Whatever the cause, spark plugs seal each respective cylinder. If a spark plug is loosely fitted or cracked, the combustion and exhaust gases can bypass the seal, causing a ticking noise.

In a worst-case scenario, the spark plugs may damage the cylinder head threads, which requires a replacement.

How To Fix

If the spark plugs are bad, a simple replacement should do the trick. Sometimes, the only problem is that they are loosely fitted, in which case it is enough to tighten them.

If it turns out that the spark plug has damaged the cylinder head threads, it must be either replaced or repaired, which, unfortunately, can become an expensive scenario.


accelerating black car

A ticking noise when accelerating can be caused by many things. It is important to find the root of the problem, as there is a risk that the engine will be damaged, making the repair bill greater than it would have been originally.

In most cases, the cause is oil pressure, exhaust leaks, spark plugs, or the valvetrain. Each of these problems becomes apparent when accelerating as the sounds are amplified when the engine’s RPM increases.

Fixing these issues won’t cost much, but be sure to determine the cause of the problem as soon as possible!

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Bajro Muric

Bajro is an ASE-certified master technician and car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars, from common problems and fixes to racing.