Diesel Engine Ticking Noise: Causes and Solutions

Hearing a ticking noise coming from your diesel engine can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s essential to identify the root cause of the problem to prevent further damage to your engine. This article will discuss the common causes of diesel engine ticking noise and how to fix them.

Common Causes of Diesel Engine Ticking Noise

Low or Dirty Motor Oil
Low or dirty motor oil is one of the most common reasons for diesel engine ticking noise. Motor oil is responsible for lubricating and cooling the internal engine parts. If the oil level is low or dirty, it can cause improper lubrication, leading to a ticking noise.

Faulty Fuel Injectors
Faulty fuel injectors can also cause ticking noise in diesel engines. If there’s a fuel leak, mechanical problems, or the injectors are not sending the appropriate amount of fuel needed in the combustion chamber, it will cause a ticking, clicking, or knocking sound along with engine misfires.

Faulty Glow Plugs
Diesel engines use glow plugs instead of spark plugs. These plugs cushion the sound generated in the combustion chamber. If the glow plugs become faulty, they will no longer cushion the noise produced in the combustion chamber, causing diesel engine ticking noise when idling or driving.

Diesel engines are louder than gasoline engines, and the noise becomes louder as the engine ages with mileage. A high-mileage diesel engine will make more noise than one that has barely hit 25,000 miles. So, the loud ticking noise from the diesel engine you hear could be a result of old parts trying to work in unison with each other.

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Worn or Sticky Lifters
Valve lifters are crucial engine components that regulate the valve timing in gasoline and diesel engines. If the valve is worn or sticky, it will cause ominous ticking or tapping sounds from the engine. Ignoring the diesel engine ticking noise when cold or hot caused by worn or sticky lifters can damage the cam follower or the entire engine.

Rod Knocking
While not common, a connecting rod in your diesel engine can fail, causing diesel to knock at low rpm or when accelerating. If the bearing on the space that connects the rod to the crankshaft wears out, the connecting rod will knock around, causing the ticking or knocking noise you hear. There’s no easy fix solution for this problem. You are surely going to rebuild the engine.

How to Fix Diesel Engine Ticking Noise

The best way to stop a ticking noise on your diesel engine is to diagnose the engine and address the root cause of the problem. In a best-case scenario, you could have a low or dirty engine oil. In such a case, changing the oil is all you need to fix the problem.

However, in ugly scenarios, you could have bad lifters or bad connecting rods. Fixing them requires technical know-how, so you need to visit your mechanic. In some cases, the problem may require engine rebuild.

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