Ticking/rattling engine. What to do?

A ticking or rattling noise in the engine is a common problem, usually caused by the valves. It doesn’t sound good and it is not good either. Moreover, the costs can be high if nothing is done about this. In this blog we will take a closer look at the following topics.

Click through to the information you are looking for.

  • What do the valves do?
  • Two types of valves
  • Is it dangerous to continue driving with a ticking motor?
  • Avoid ticking valves
  • The solution for ticking/rattling valves

What do valves do?

Combustion engines have inlet and outlet valves. Valves are mounted in the cylinder head and are opened and closed by a camshaft. The fuel mixture is sucked in by the inlet valves and then the exhaust gases are discharged by the exhaust valves.

It is important that the valves function properly, so that the opening and closing of the valves happens at the right time to get a perfect combustion.

Two types of valves

Sometimes you hear a ticking or rattling noise in the engine and in most cases that ticking noise is caused by a problem with the valves. Tapping valves are especially audible when idling. The ticking noise will increase when you drive faster or when the engine speed is increased. With engines running well, you will almost or not hear the valves ticking.

There are two common methods of operating valves. In practice we speak of manually adjustable valves and hydraulically operated valves. Both can cause a ticking sound under the hood. A ticking sound from adjustable valves is a matter of valve adjustment, a job any mechanic can easily do.

A ticking noise from hydraulically actuated valves is often caused by pollution or too little engine oil. The hydraulic valves are controlled by the oil pressure. When hydraulic valves start to tick, it is recommended to first check the oil level. If this is ok, the problem may be in (contamination of) the valve lifters. Often replacing is the solution, but that is quite expensive.

If the problem is related to pollution, a cheaper solution is available..

Rattling / ticking sound harmful?

Driving too long with a rattling or ticking noise caused by the valve lifters need not be harmful in the first instance, provided the oil is at the required level. However, it is not always certain whether the sound comes from the valve lifters. We therefore recommend that you always go to the garage to check where the noise is coming from.

If it does not come off the valve lifters, it could be on the timing belt or the bearings inside the engine, for example. In this case, driving is not a good idea.

Prevent ticking valves

Before we go to the solution for the ticking noise in your engine, it is important to know how to prevent it in the future and to keep the engine in good condition overall.

The greatest wear occurs at the cold start. During a cold start, the engine oil has completely drained back into the oil sump. It always takes a while before the oil is completely pumped through the engine. This ensures that lubrication is missing and there is metal-to-metal contact.

This will be prevented by adding Lindemann Engine Performance Treatment. The teflon particles are responsible for this because they settle on all moving parts, preventing metal-to-metal contact.

The Lindemann Engine Performance Treatment also ensures more efficient operation of the engine. Because Teflon gives even less friction than oil, the motor will have less resistance. In this way, the engine needs less energy (fuel) to do its job. There can already be an immediate benefit because the car is more economical and has more effective power.

Last but not least, the Engine Performance Treatment also has cleaning properties and prevents pollution. The greasy oil vapors that cause pollution will not settle on the Teflon layer that is applied by adding this product. In addition, this product can also be used curatively because of the cleaning effect, but you will read more about this later.

The solution for ticking valves

Pollution often causes the rattling noise of the valves. So, by cleaning the valves you can fix that noise. As mentioned, valves are operated by a camshaft. The connection between the cam of the camshaft and the valve for manually adjustable valves is provided by the rocker arm and for the hydraulic valve actuation by a valve lift. This valve tappet is filled with oil and if this is not done quickly enough due to contamination of the oil supply channel, the tappet will start to tick.

We can offer two solutions to remove pollution. First of all, to get the oil channel clean again, the Lindemann Oil System Cleaner has been developed. However, you must also replace the oil filter and oil when using this product. If this is planned in the short term, we recommend using the Oil System Cleaner.

If the oil change is not planned in the short term, we have another product that cleans the valve lifters. The Lindemann Engine Performance Treatment is not only preventive but can also be used curatively when it comes to ticking valve lifters.

It contains besides Teflon also cleaning agents. These cleaning agents will dissolve the deposits, after which they are filtered out of the oil by the oil filter. An additional advantage is that the Engine Performance Treatment also contains Teflon, which protects the engine against wear and will experience less resistance. Something that will result in less engine noise in general and more efficient operation (light fuel savings).

In conclusion, the Engine Performance Treatment can be added to the engine oil at any time, without having to change the oil and the oil filter afterwards!

You can buy the additives through our own shop or through one of our dealers. By the button “Order here” you will be directly referred to the Engine Performance Treatment in our shop.