Is Your Jeep Making a Ticking Noise? Should You Worry?


Jeep ticking or tapping noise from the engine #Jeep

If there is a ticking or tapping noise in your engine, this article is for you.

Because driving is part of everyday life, there are some instances in which people might be worried about the safety of their vehicles.

Some Jeep owners have had to worry about ticking sounds underneath their hoods. It’s more common than people think. Knowing what it means allows the driver to be able to seek the right assistance.

What Is That Engine Ticking Noise?

So, what’s that engine ticking noise in your Jeep? There are a few different reasons that could be the cause of a ticking noise in your Jeep, and they include:

  • Problems with the Jeep’s valvetrain
  • The wrong air filter is being used
  • The oil pump is dying out

While the first issue can potentially be diagnosed and fixed by the Jeep’s owner easily, mechanical defects like the second two issues are more difficult to diagnose and fix unless the driver is a mechanic.

In this article, you will be given in-depth explanations of the issues that can lead to a ticking noise in your Jeep and how to fix them.

Valvetrain Problems

If you have noticed a ticking noise in your Jeep, the first thing you should do is investigate the vehicle’s valvetrain.

By design, most cars use hydraulic valve lifters. These rely on oil pressure to help maintain a tight clearance between the camshaft and the rocker arm.

If the pressure is not correct, it can cause problems between the lifters and the drivetrain, thus starting the tapping noise that becomes a concern.

A tip to rectify this issue is to use cold oil at start-up to help pump up the lifters. If that solves the problem, then it likely means the temperature of the oil is the culprit.

Using oil at ordinary temperatures, however, could result in the viscosity being too thin to work the lifters efficiently.

In most cases, the oil will break down after over a thousand miles, ultimately eliminating the noise. If that doesn’t happen, however, it could signal a much bigger problem with the vehicle.

Jeep Wrangler 3.6L Engine Tapping Noise [Video]

Is this the noise you are engine tapping noise you are hearing?

Taking Care of the Valvetrain

As with any vehicle, it is a good idea to care for the parts that keep it moving.

It has already been established that the valvetrain can do some strange things when it is not cared for properly. So, taking care of your Jeep’s valvetrain is important!

Some tips for caring for your Jeep’s valvetrain include:

  • Some models of Jeeps require the valvetrain to be cleaned periodically. If your engine light simply won’t go off, you may not be cleaning your valvetrain often enough. 
  • The camshaft is usually the part of the valvetrain that fails first, but, if the other parts have not been cleaned correctly, the issues can spread. This means that the longer the issue is left unattended, the more money it will cost to fix.
  • Only use the oil recommended for your specific engine. Using the wrong oil can result in many things going wrong with the vehicle.

Mechanical Issues

Mechanical issues are notoriously harder to diagnose because they usually involve popping the hood and examining the inner workings of the vehicle. Below are two of the most common mechanical causes of a ticking noise in your Jeep.

#1 The Wrong Air Filter is Being Used in the Vehicle

Using the wrong type of air filter in a vehicle is a significant cause for concern and could explain the ticking noise. So, the first thing you should do when you open your hood is check if the correct filter is being used.

Even if the specifications of the air filter are correct, vehicles work much better with the filter supplied by their manufacturer in many cases.

Even if the manufacturer filters are more expensive, it is recommended to pay the extra for peace of mind of knowing the chance of issues will be slimmer.

Additionally, paying a bit more for your air filter could also potentially save you money by preventing further mechanical issues that need to be fixed.

#2 Faulty Oil Pump

The worst-case scenario when a ticking noise arises is that the oil pump is slowly dying out. Driving a car with a dying oil pump can slowly damage other components of the vehicle, meaning that the cost associated with a repair could be much higher if the driver continues to use the car.

If you have checked the valvetrain and the air filter of your jeep and are still hearing the ticking sound in your vehicle, then you should bring it to a mechanic as soon as possible.

How to Change the Air Filter in a Jeep

Some people prefer to make improvements to their cars without the need for a mechanic. An air filter is easy enough to change if the correct directions are followed.

To change your air filter yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Undo both hood catches and prop up the hood.
  2. Turn attention to the factory air box on the lower left side of the engine bay and find the four clips around the airbox. Undo each clip.
  3. Use a 10mm socket wrench and undo the two bolts to the right of the airbox.
  4. Lift the airbox to reveal the filter.
  5. Pull out the filter and find the replacement.
  6. Replace the filter, while ensuring the tapered end always points towards the driver’s side.
  7. Once in place, close the box again, replacing all the screws.

How To Video: Change Your Air Filter on a Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2018)

Air Filters to Consider for Your Jeep

If changing your Jeep’s air filter is the best course of action, then the following choices are great filters to consider for your vehicle.

#1 Spearhead Max Thrust Performance Filter

The Spearhead Max Thrust filter comes recommended by Amazon thanks to the rave reviews from people who have actually used it as well as the high quality of the product. It is listed as an Amazon’s Choice product.

#2 Fram CA348

The Fram CA348 is another product that is gathering excellent reviews on Amazon, with many liking how robust it is and the longevity of the filter.

Amazon also has this one listed as an Amazon’s Choice product, meaning it is another product of great value.

#3 K&N Engine Air Filter

The K&N product comes at a higher price than the other two, but it comes with many benefits to back up the price.

It comes pre-oiled, so it is basically a plug and play component that you can add with ease. This filter also lasts 50,000 miles without cleaning. [Filter Reviews]

Why Should Ticking Noises Be Taken Seriously?

There are many issues that can arise with vehicles. Some problems are worse than others, but drivers must remember that driving a problematic vehicle could be putting everyone inside at risk, as well as other drivers.

That’s why it is always imperative to take any vehicle-related issues seriously.

If this is your Jeep’s first issue, it would be wise to check the warranty and contact the manufacturer. If the Jeep warranty is still valid, it could save you money. If the vehicle warranty has expired, it would be the best course of action to contact a mechanic.

In Conclusion…

There are various things that could cause an irritating (and rather foreboding) ticking noise in your Jeep but knowing what to do when you hear it is crucial.

In many instances, it is something that can be dealt with without the need of a mechanic, possibly by cleaning or swapping a part out. In all cases, it is better to be safe than sorry!

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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