Your car will make different noises, many of which you do not quite understand. One sounds that shouldn't be ignored is knocking or rattling underneath the hood. It will be challenging to find the source of the sound, but there are a few ways that you can quickly troubleshoot it on your own. Follow these tips to determine the culprit.
Tools & Materials
Before you can get started, you'll need the following items to troubleshoot your car.
- Wrench set
- Flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers
- Valve cover gasket
- Motor oil
Check The Oil
Oil that is low or dirty can be the cause of intermittent ticking or rattling. It happens because oil that is thick or insufficient will cause the valves to stick. In addition, debris that is in motor oil can damage the lobes in the engine.
You'll want to check the oils condition carefully. If the oil is thick, dark, or contains visible debris, you'll need to completely change the motor oil and the filter.
Examine The Rocker Arms & Valve Spring
Removing your car's valve cover is necessary to examine the vehicle's rocker arms. Thankfully, all you need is a wrench to remove all of the bolts that keep the cover on.
You'll want to make sure that the car's rocker arms and valve springs are all at the exact same height. Rattling can be caused by one of the rocker arms sitting notably lower than the others. The fix is to replace the valve springs with new ones so that everything is level once again.
Tighten The Valve Springs
Try turning each valve spring with your wrench to make them tight. If the valve springs are not turning at all, they should be good. If the springs have some room to tighten, and it silences the noise, it is a sign that the valves may need replacing. The valve springs will eventually loosen and cause the rattling to start again, so you are better off replacing all the springs at the same time.
Now that you're finished performing an inspection of these parts, you can replace your car's valve cover and install a new gasket.
If you have never worked on a car before, trying these troubleshooting tips may be out of your comfort zone. It's also possible that you tried these tips and the rattling is still happening. Consider taking your car to a local auto shop that can inspect the problem and fix the rattling for you.