What’s that clicking sound that I hear while traveling? Where does it come from? And how to best deal with it? You’re probably asking yourself these questions. A clicking noise when driving might imply various issues; some are detrimental, and others aren’t. Yet, they all need to be addressed soon for the best driving experience (and, sometimes, your safety).

In today’s post, Driverevolve will discuss the 10 most common reasons behind these clicks and what to do in each situation. 

  1. Low Engine Oil

If you notice a clicking noise when driving and wonder, “Why is my car making a clicking noise?”, a low engine oil level might be to blame.

Many modern cars' engine oil lifespan control feature will alert you when it's time to replace the oil. Although the specifics may vary from one model to the next, most oil-life control systems work by keeping tabs on the vehicle's mileage and the driver's behaviors to estimate how long the oil lasts for.
Low engine oil might make your car click. – nitiFilter 

Your car’s clicks are probably because of dry connections between moving parts – the result of an oil shortage. If this is the case, you can easily top up your motor oil at home or ask a mechanic to handle the task.

If the oil level drops abnormally right after you have just refilled the oil, investigate your engine compartment for a possible oil leak. You should have your car checked out at a local repair shop in this scenario.

  1. Dirty Oil

What happens if you don’t change your oil? Some dreadful and annoying consequences, including a non-stop clicking sound, might occur. 

Put this way, contaminated oil won’t be capable of performing its cleaning and lubing duty. Engine oil must be somewhat clean to lube the necessary parts and carry away the accumulated grimes within the engine effectively. 

Always be sure to examine the oil level and quality routinely. If you want to check your oil quality, just pull out the testing stick and inspect the oil. You might also use a hand towel to clean the tip of the tester for a more reliable reading. Darker brown or black oil indicates it's time to change it.
Use a testing stick to check for old oil. – AutoGuru

If you leave nasty engine oil flowing into your motor for a long time, ultimately, it might make your engine filtration system defective or collapse.

Luckily, you can change the old oil inside the motor at home, or you may take your vehicle in for a repair and have a mechanic perform the task for you.

  1. Damaged CV Axles

If this clicking sound is loudest when you turn the vehicle’s steering wheel, it may come from a constant velocity (CV) wheel. CV axles enable the car’s gearbox to control an automobile’s wheels and allow various movements using bearings.

A fracture typically causes broken CV connections in the joint buckle. Moisture and grime get into the pin and spoil the lubricant protecting the splines.
A broken CV axle might cause car clicking. – Masterparts

One of your CV axles possibly has a broken shaft cover, which causes the clicking noise. When shaft covers are torn, they lose oil, and the moving parts will run dry without lubricant. As a result, the engine components will generate a clicking noise when they meet each other.

Noticing this issue in its early stages may help you save money on a new CV axle. It’s best to seek assistance from a professional technician to determine the severity of the problem and the kind of repair work required.

  1. Loose Brake Pads

A loosened brake pad might cause a clicking noise. In that case, the noise will occur mainly at idling but will become more noticeable when braking. The brakes will create a clicking noise, and the pads will slide around at low velocities if they are not correctly affixed to the calipers.

This operation causes a squeaky sound while driving. This may not be dangerous, but do not ride for an extended period without changing your brake pads.
Loosened brake pads are among the most common reasons for your car’s clicking sound. – Car Treatments

Replacement of the brake pads should solve the problem.

  1. Defective Battery Or Alternator

If your starter clicks quickly but fails to run your engine, it’s likely because the battery isn’t fully charged. Power loss might be the result of a defective battery or the alternator’s failure to recharge.

clicking noise when driving - These rotating electromagnets yield alternating current (AC), which is afterward routed to the rectifier of your alternator. This same rectifier transforms the alternating current electricity into direct current electricity, which powers your vehicle's electrics.
The alternator supplies electricity to all electrical parts.- Auto-Howstuffworks

If you have to use the vehicle right away, you may try jump-starting it. However, when your alternator isn’t operational, your batteries will fail shortly after. The best bet, in this case, is a battery (or an alternator) replacement immediately once you notice the symptoms of a defective alternator (or a bad battery).  

  1. Bad Starter Motor

A starter is a little machine driven by your automobile’s batteries. While it is in charge of starting the system, starters have a short lifetime and may only last from 32,000 to 205,000 kilometers.

A defective starter will produce different noises that indicate something is wrong.
A bad starter will make “weird” sounds. – Car Treatments 

If your starter gets defective, you must install a new one. Some warning signs are a delayed starting motor and fumes escaping from the vehicle. The worst-case situation when you notice a single click is that your engine has chained away or seized.

When this occurs, the best thing to do is take your automobile to a technician who can properly evaluate and repair the issue.

  1. Bad Struts

Another reason behind your car making clicking noise is a bad strut.

When combined with the spring-loaded shock stabilizers in the back wheels, struts significantly reduce the force transmitted through the chassis and into the passenger compartment.

Your car's shocks and struts are damaged and must be replaced. Another thing to pay attention to is your vehicle's movements: it will get loose and springy when passing the potholes.
Old struts and shocks might produce creaking sounds when steering. – A New Way Forward

Cylinders loaded to full capacity with gearbox lubricant or transmission fluid greatly help this operation. They provide tremendous friction against the valves, soaking in a substantial percentage of roadway shocks, supported by a spring coil.

So what happens if those struts are torn or stuck? The chassis obviously can’t absorb the shock of the terrain. Such deficiencies don’t only pose serious threats to the car but also lead to an annoying clicking sound when driving at constant velocities or pounding noises while changing speeds.

Fortunately, you can quickly solve the issue with a strut replacement.

  1. Loose Hubcaps

With loosened lug nuts, your brake discs get more room to move. This allows for more maneuverability while turning. As you travel in a single direction, this instability may be perceived as a succession of clicking noises within the braking rotors.

If your lugs are not secured, they will inevitably slacken out of their positions, and your wheel will come off while running. No one wants that to take place, to put it mildly. Also, don't forget to check that you're utilizing the proper lug nut diameter.
Your lug nuts might be to blame. – Reddit

You can quickly tighten the caps yourself or contact a mechanic if you don’t have much time to handle it.

  1. Loose Drive Belts Or Driving Belt Tensioners

Which components are responsible for routing the wires from the motor to the air conditioner, automatic gearbox, and alternator? 

It is none other than drive belts, which deliver electricity to all of the abovementioned components. Meanwhile, the drive belt tensioner aids in securing the belt tightly for optimal efficiency.

clicking noise when driving - Likewise, if your alternator is overloaded or involves ragged or broken cables, you may notice a smoldering stench close to that of a circuit blaze. An overstressed alternator strives to force too much power via its cables, making them overheat and blisteringly hot.
Check for loosened drive belts or tensioners. – Kkram

For this reason, any loosening might cause severe consequences. Indeed, your belts will rattle against the vehicle, emitting a weird clicking noise that seems to come straight from your engine bay.

In this case, we recommend visiting a repair center since the part we need to deal with is quite hard to reach. 

  1. Wrongly Inflated Or Misfit Tires 

Some car owners don’t pay much attention to the designs and dimensions of their tires because they presume the tires will fit.

clicking noise when driving - You might possess an imbalance tire if your car shakes at steady velocity and the vibrations get nastier at higher speeds. Another possibility is that one of the wheel loads just dropped off. Take your vehicle back to the repair center and rebalance the tires to address the issue.
Unbalanced tires also lead to a clicking noise when driving. – Car Treatments

The reality, however, is quite different: traveling with a tire that isn’t the appropriate fit will result in annoying noises, including a clicking and squealing sound.

Always check your inflation pressure and ensure that your tires meet the manufacturer’s standards. If you see any unusual deterioration, rip, or swelling, you should get new tires right away.

Wrapping Up 

No matter what the culprit behind the clicking noise when driving is, a car owner should always pay close attention to abnormal automobile activities. Make sure you find out and handle the problem early to protect both the car and yourself. Otherwise, you risk damaging the whole machine, which costs a fortune to repair.

For similar content, visit our Fun Driving category.

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