The engine of a car should make a sound that is recognizable when running under normal conditions. It should run smoothly with soft noises. If you hear some noises that are not supposed to be there, then it can be an indication that there is something wrong somewhere within the engine. One example of these unusual noises is the tapping sound. You might ask, can engine tapping be fixed? Fortunately, it can. But the repair cost can be as low as $80 or as high as $3,000, or maybe more depending on what caused it and your car’s make and model.
In order to know the answer to the question, “can engine tapping be fixed?”, you need to determine what caused it. Engine tapping can be caused by a number of factors which include exhaust leaks, faulty valve lifters, low oil level, bad valve trains, faulty belt tensioner or pulleys, too low octane, and worn bearings. It is important that the moment you notice engine tapping, you should have it repaired immediately to avoid any further damage to your car. If the problem gets worse, then you might deal with the question, should I replace the engine or buy a new car?
Can Engine Tapping Be Fixed? – How Do I Stop My Engine From Tapping?
It is normal for a healthy engine to make soft sounds when it is running. This is because engines have a lot of moving parts that work together. However, hearing unusual noises from your engine can be a cause of concern, especially if they are a bit loud. This might lead you to ask, can engine tapping be fixed? It is understandable since hearing any ticking or tapping noises that seem to be coming from your engine is an indication that something is wrong somewhere in the engine.
To determine whether the engine tapping can be fixed, you need to know what is causing the problem. Here are the common causes of engine tapping and some of the ways to fix them.
- Exhaust leaks
If your system has exhaust leaks, it can cause engine tapping. This problem can occur when there is a broken exhaust manifold or faulty manifold bolts. To determine if this is what causes engine tapping, you can do a visual inspection on your exhaust system. You can inspect your exhaust manifold and look for any signs of damage such as leaks or cracks. One way to determine if there is an exhaust manifold gasket leak is when you see black soot marks in the area where the exhaust manifold connects to the cylinder head.
Another thing you should check are the exhaust manifold bolts and the gasket area where the manifold is bolted to the exhaust pipe of the system. Small exhaust leaks are not something to worry about since they usually just seal on their own when the engine’s metal parts are heated and expanded.
How to fix it.
Can engine tapping be fixed? If the problem is caused by an exhaust leak, it can. All you have to do is replace the defective components that caused the leak. Replace the faulty gaskets, seals, or the defective manifold itself. Cracked manifolds can be repaired or replaced with a new part. For cars that have expensive manifolds with minor cracks, they are usually welded to fill the breaks.
Repairing an exhaust manifold leak usually costs around $100 to $800. It usually takes around 2 to 3 hours to finish. The actual cost can vary, depending on the car’s make, model, year, and how many cylinders your engine has. Experts are recommending that the repair should be done by a professional to make sure that the problem will be corrected properly.
- Faulty valve lifters
A lifter, which is also known as a cam follower or a tappet, is a small cylindrical mechanism that is attached to the end of the pushrod or rocker arm. The lifters make use of oil pressure to expand the lifter that provides a zero valve lash clearance. We all know that the engine oil becomes dirty over time. It can accumulate dirt and increase in viscosity over time. When this happens, the interaction between the tappets and the camshaft will start to wear them both to a point where an unusual noise can be heard between them when the camshaft spins, and when the lobes lift and will drop the lifters.
This degradation can result in the engine tapping sounds as well as reduce the efficiency of the engine and its power. A lifter that has worn down can lead to the valve not opening to its precise lift distance which can restrict the air and fuel mixture that is trying to reach into the cylinders. If you notice this problem, you need to have it repaired immediately. If the problem is neglected for a long time, it can lead to very expensive damage to the engine components, including the camshaft. A camshaft replacement can cost around $1,500 to $3,000.
The engine tapping sound can also be caused by misadjusted lifters. The sound can be produced when the lifters are excessively spaced. When the engine is warmed up, it can cause the valve stem to thermally expand so a proper spacing is needed to accommodate the expansion. It is for this reason why when the engine is as cold as possible, the valve adjustments should be completed.
How to fix it.
Can engine tapping be fixed? If the problem is caused by a faulty or misadjusted filter, you can fix it. To fix it, the first thing you should check is the viscosity of the oil. If your oil has become dirty or contaminated, you need to have it changed. You can also use and add oil additives to clean your lifters, valves, and rockers.
If changing your oil or adding additives don’t correct the engine tapping noises, you need to have your lifter fully adjusted. You can do this by using a feeler gauge to wedge between the valve stem and a rocker arm. You should be able to find its factory setting through a workshop manual so you will be able to adjust the valve adjustment screw to the appropriate clearance.
If you can still hear the engine tapping noise after adjusting your lifters, then the only option to fix it is by replacing the lifters. It is a pretty laborious job since it usually requires a major engine disassembly. Replacing a bad lifter can cost you somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500.
- Low oil level
When your system has a low oil level, it can cause a lot of problems. It is because a proper amount of oil is needed to make sure that all of the engine’s components are properly lubricated. One of the problems a low oil level may cause is engine tapping. When this happens, some components of the engine won’t get enough lubrication and this can lead to tapping, clicking, or ticking sounds.
The engine tapping you hear might be coming from the engine valve train components such as cam adjusters, rockers, camshafts, and as mentioned earlier, the lifters. When your oil pressure oil is low, it can also cause your timing chain to create tapping noises. When you experience this problem, it is important to address it as soon as possible since low oil level can also lead to engine overheating and it is something you don’t want to deal with.
How to fix it.
If low oil level is causing the problem, can engine tapping be fixed? It can be fixed. To fix it, you can start by checking the oil level of your car. You just need to make sure that your car is on a level surface when checking it. Find the dipstick, pull it out, and wipe the oil. Once done, put the dipstick again and pull it out. You should be able to determine your oil level this way. If your oil level is low, top it off.
Aside from topping the oil up, you need to determine what caused your oil level to be low. You should check for any leaks under the car by looking for any dripping oil or tiny spots of oil. If there is an oil leak, you should investigate what caused it. Oil leaks can occur when your gaskets or seals have worn down. But no matter what caused it, it needs to be fixed immediately. Oil leaks can usually be repaired and it can cost you around $150.
- Worn bearings
Engine tapping sounds can also be caused by worn bearings. This can happen since bearings usually wear down over time. It can cause them to produce tapping noise due to spacing and wiggling.
How to fix it.
Fixing engine tapping caused by worn bearings can be very laborious and expensive. It is because the mechanic will have to get deep into the engine to reset the bearings that have become misplaced or dislodged over time. Repairing or replacing the worn bearings will usually cost between $2,000 and $3,000, including the parts and labors.
- Faulty belt tensioner or pulleys
You might think that the tapping you hear somewhere within the engine is produced by the engine itself. While it is true in some cases, there are times that the tapping sound is produced by something else. It can be caused by a faulty belt tensioner or pulley. The sound is produced since when the engine runs, it will cause a belt to turn which is connected to different pulleys throughout the engine bay. This belt has to be at the right or exact amount of tension for it to turn quietly and smoothly. If it is not, then you will hear the tapping sound.
It can happen when the belt becomes faulty due to normal wear and tear since it tends to become stretched out. When it does, the tensioner won’t be able to do its task and this can lead to tapping or clicking noises. These noises can also be heard when one of the pulleys become bent out of shape.
How to fix it.
If the problem is a faulty belt tensioner or pulley, can engine tapping be fixed? It can be fixed by adjusting the tension, replacing the belt, or by replacing the faulty tensioner or accessory pulley. A belt tensioner replacement can cost somewhere around $200 to $250 and a pulley replacement can cost around $80 to $200.
- Too low octane
When you use the wrong type of fuel, it can lead to engine tapping. This is because high octane fuel will burn slower than the low octane ones. This means that a low octane fuel burns more quickly in a high pressure environment. This translates to low octane fuels causing knocking or producing tapping noises more easily since they are more susceptible to detonations that can keep the cylinders from operating properly.
How to fix it.
Fixing this problem is pretty easy. You just need to use the right type of fuel with the right octane level, the one that is recommended by your car’s manufacturer. You can consult your owner’s manual to determine the right type of fuel your car needs.
Can engine tapping be fixed? Fortunately, most of the causes of engine tapping sounds can be fixed. But the question is, will it be worth fixing? This is because engine tapping can be fixed for as low as $80, but it can also cost you for as much as $3,000 or more. You need to determine what is causing the problem first so you can decide if it is worth fixing it. If you think that the repaired value, or the value of your car after the repair, is less than the total repair bill, then it might not be worth fixing. If you want to build a budget for a new car fast, you can sell your car to Cash Cars Buyer. They can give you an instant offer in less than a minute.