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Can You Drive With Engine Tapping?

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The sound of a healthy engine is very pleasing to the car owners’ ears. Its sweet purr that grows louder as you rev it up is something you want to hear when you turn your keys in the ignition. But when you start your engine or when you accelerate and you hear a somewhat loud engine tapping, it can be alarming. It is an indication that there is something wrong within your engine. If this happens while you are driving, it can lead you to ask, can you drive with engine tapping? Although engine tapping can be caused by something minor such as low oil level that you can easily correct by topping it off, it can also be caused by something that needs major repair. So unless you know what is causing the tapping sounds, it is best to not drive it at all to prevent any further damage.

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Engine tapping can be caused by problems such as exhaust leaks, low oil level, malfunctioning valve lifters, misadjusted valves, faulty belt tensioner or pulleys, and worn bearings. Any of these problems can result in engine tapping. To determine what caused it, your car needs to be checked by a mechanic. So until you know the real cause of the engine tapping, the answer to the question, “can you drive with engine tapping?”, is no. If you want to know more about it, read on! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!



Can You Drive With Engine Tapping? – Is it Safe to Drive with a Knocking Sound?




Tapping or knocking sounds that seem to be coming from your engine can be very alarming. It is an indication that there is something wrong within the engine and car owners know that the engine is one of the most expensive car parts to repair. That is why many car owners ask, can you drive with engine tapping? Is it safe to drive with a knocking sound? They have asked these questions to make sure that they won’t cause any further damage to their engines.


Technically, you can still drive your car with engine tapping, but the consequences you get from driving it is what you are trying to avoid. It might lead to problems that can be very expensive to fix. So unless you know what caused the problem, you should steer clear from using your car until you have addressed or corrected the problem.


To help you determine if you can drive your car with engine tapping, we’ll go through each of the problems that can cause it as well as the possible consequences that could happen if you continue to drive your car with the said problem.


  • Low oil pressure or level


One of the common causes of engine tapping is low oil level or low oil pressure. When you hear unusual noises coming from your engine such as tapping, clicking, ticking, or knocking, it is usually an indication that the vital components of your engine are not receiving sufficient lubrication. It means that you have a problem with your oil level or oil pressure and something is causing it.


One of the components of the engine that can suffer when there is insufficient amount of oil is the combustion cylinder. It is known as a component of the combustion chamber through which the piston, which is powered by the energy made by the combustion, moves. This is the reason why this area requires a proper amount of lubrication so the piston will be able to move smoothly. If not, the piston will knock against the cylinder walls. Aside from this problem, it can also happen that the cylinder does not get proper lubrication due to loose lifters or engine valves.


Can you drive with engine tapping? If the problem is caused by a low oil level, you can just top it off by adding more oil. However, if your car has low oil level due to oil leaks, then you should refrain from driving your car in this condition.


If you drive with an oil leak, it can lead to your rubber hoses or seals to wear prematurely. Plus, it can cause your car to fail completely without warning and it is also a fire hazard. If you drive your car with an oil leak and the oil catches fire, it can cause potential injury to yourself and others.


  • Exhaust leaks


Another reason why you hear engine tapping noises is because of an exhaust leak. Engine tapping can occur when you have a faulty exhaust manifold or broken manifold bolts or studs. There are times when the exhaust manifold leak will just quiet down when the engine has fully warmed up and the metals have expanded.


You may think that exhaust leaks are not the type of problem that you should worry about, but you are wrong. It can cause a lot of problems if left ignored. It can cause issues such as poor fuel economy, vibrating gas pedal, tapping noises, and it can also cause exhaust fumes to be inhaled by the driver or passengers. This can be very dangerous.


If this is what’s causing the problem, can you drive with engine tapping? You can, but it can be very dangerous for you and your car. Inhaling exhaust fumes for a long period is dangerous since it has carbon monoxide which is known to be harmful. In addition, driving a car with exhaust leaks can cause expensive damage to your car.


Driving with an exhaust leak or a faulty exhaust system can lead to excessive heat to flow into your engine. When this happens, it can damage your catalytic converter. It is something you don’t want to deal with since replacing it will be very expensive. So if you have an exhaust leak, do not try to drive your car until you have corrected the problem.


  • Malfunctioning valve lifters


The lifters are components of the engine head. They are the ones responsible for controlling the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. These filters need to work to maintain a constant clearance between the camshaft lobes and the valves. They help make sure that the valves open and close in perfect timing.


When you hear engine tapping sounds, it can be caused by a lifter that has worn down or collapsed since it can produce excessive valve train lash. This should not be the case since a valve lifter uses oil pressure for it to expand and give zero valve lash clearance. The extra clearance that occurs when the lifter has worn or collapsed can lead to the tapping or ticking noises that have a frequency that is lower than the rpm of the engine.


So you ask, can you drive with engine tapping if it is caused by a worn lifter? Experts are recommending that if you should drive your car with a bad lifter, you should drive it straight to an auto repair shop and have it repaired. If you drive your car with this problem, it can lead to more serious damage. The lifters’ inside section can go all the way down where they come in contact with the camshaft, causing damage to the camshaft. Bear in mind that a camshaft replacement can cost around $1,500 to $3,000.


  • Worn bearings


Engine tapping can also be caused by worn bearings. This can happen since bearings wear out over time. You will know if it starts to malfunction or become faulty when you hear the unusual engine noises. Worn bearings give off sounds similar to those produced by faulty lifters. The sounds are usually created when the worn bearing causes excessive clearance. This results in the faulty bearing to cause a grinding contact with the crankshaft of the car when it begins to beat against it.


When the bearings fail completely, there will no longer be friction between the stationary and rotary parts. When this happens, the car won’t be able to function properly. So if you ask, can you drive with engine tapping? If the problem is caused by faulty bearings, then you should not attempt to drive your car since it can cause further damages to it.


You will know if your bearing is failing when you see silver shavings in your engine oil. After this, you might hear loud tapping or knocking noises from your engine caused by the rod knock. You may also notice that your oil pressure has become low. You may also notice that the tapping or knocking sound will become worse when you drive your car slowly.


Experts are recommending not to drive your car when you notice this problem. Aside from causing serious damage to your car, driving it can also compromise your safety. If you drive your car with bearing issues, your wheel may stop all of a sudden while you are driving. So it is better to have your car checked and have the faulty bearings repaired or replaced before you try to drive your car again.


  • Faulty belt tensioner


There are times when the engine tapping noise you hear does not come from the engine. It is possible that the noise is coming from the accessory belt. This can happen since the belt needs to be under the right amount of tension in order for it to work smoothly and quietly. When this belt becomes faulty or stretched, it will produce slapping or tapping noises that are often mistaken for engine knock.


If your car has a faulty belt tensioner, can you drive with engine tapping? Experts are recommending that you should not drive your car when you have this problem. It will not be safe since the bad tensioner won’t be able to guarantee or provide ample tension that powers the accessories.


Worn belt tensioner can lead to loud tapping noises and eventually cause the belt to slip. It can also cause extreme heat along the accessory pulleys. Worn belt tensioner can also cause the performance of your accessory to decrease which can cause irreversible accessory damage. If you still want to drive your car and run the risk of damage and reduced performance, you will have to deal with the annoying noises while you are driving. Noises that get louder when it is wet outside, which are caused by the wear and tear of the tensioner, resulting in the loosening of the belt and the space created between the belt and the pulley. When this happens, it can allow water to move in.


If you continue to drive and the worn tensioner causes the belt to fully dislodge, each of the components that depend on the power supplied by the belt will be lost. If the belt fully dislodges, your car’s alternator, air conditioning, water pump, and power steering will be lost. When this happens, your safety will be compromised since you can no longer easily control your car. If your water pump stops working, your engine will suffer damage, overheat, or worse, fail to run which can leave you stranded somewhere.


When a faulty belt tensioner also causes your alternator to stop functioning, your car’s electrical system won’t be able to work since it is the one that powers them as well as charges the battery while you are driving. You don’t want to deal with a dead battery or lose all your power accessories. So when you ask, can you drive with engine tapping? If the problem is caused by a faulty belt tensioner, you better have it fixed first to avoid any further damage.





Can you drive with engine tapping? If you have asked this question because you are hearing loud tapping noises from your engine, it is best that you don’t drive it. You need to have it checked by a professional to determine what caused it. If you drive it in that state, every tapping you hear may cause more damage that could lead to catastrophic engine failure.

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