What Is That Ticking Noise In Car When Off After A Drive?

Driving your car feels like an escape from your regular routine. Enjoying the drive is an unmatched feeling. The enclosed environment of your vehicle pulls out the best in you and makes you feel happy. A driver experiences a feeling of accomplishment after such a drive. This feeling degrades into a stressful observation if the driver hears a ticking noise from the car after turning it off. Your car is a complex machine with varied components. Noise from your car can initiate from various sources. Any kind of weird noise from your car indicates some kind of fault or malfunction that calls for a fix.

Ticking noise in car when off from a long drive implies that there is something functioning, even after having your car parked. Usually, the heat emitted from your engine causes a ticking noise. There can be other reasons behind it too. The ticking noise, specifically, is a result of heating issues and it is not really something to bother about but the noise must not be ignored as it might lead to part failure in the future.

What Is The Reason Behind The Ticking Noise?

Cars operate when a dynamic variety of components work in sync. A complex process like this is prone to faults and malfunctions. Usually, any sort of external problem in your vehicle leads to a leak or a weird noise from your car. There can be various sources of ticking noise from your vehicle.

1. Exhaust System Cool Down

Basic chemistry about metals tells us that they expand and contract. Metals tend to expand when exposed to heat. A long drive heats up the exhaust system of your car. Furthermore, an extreme change in temperature occurs when you shut your car down. The metal begins to cool down and contract, hence, this cycle of expansion and contraction is something that the exhaust system experiences regularly. Therefore, this ticking noise might be a result of this process initiated by the cooldown of your exhaust system. It is really nothing to worry about if you hear the noise once in a while. A frequent ticking noise can be a bigger problem and you should get your vehicle checked for overheating issues.

2. Noise From Electrical Relays

Relays are basically switches that are operated electrically. The car relays have a coil to transfer current to switch and make it functional. The switch functions to regulate the electric circuits at particular times. The ticking sound of the switch is audible sometimes after the car is turned off. This sound is not really a matter of concern as it is perfectly normal for a switch to make a noise.

3. Leaks

Frequent leaks from your car might sound similar to a tick. If the tick is audible to you, there can be a possibility of a leak below the car under the passenger’s seat. This leak can comprise of the AC condensate, freon, water, or even the transmission fluid of your car. Consequently, the drops of the leak can sound like a tick when you park your car. A leak will create an impression of a ticking noise from any part of your car, hence, proper diagnosis of the problem is important.

4. Hydraulic Valve Lifter Failure

The hydraulic valve is responsible for opening and closing the engine oil valve. Modern vehicles have much more complex valve systems. A car equipped with a hydraulic valve lifter filter might face a problem with time. The filter works on oil. Therefore, any amount of oil that is less or more than the standard amount initiates a weird noise when the engine valve closes. This is usually experienced as a ticking noise in car when off the road.

5. Headlight Noise

Modern cars are equipped with headlights that make noise. Evidently, These headlights use excessive power and need cooling fans or regulators to work efficiently. Therefore, this complex process can initiate a ticking noise when the headlight heats up to a considerable level.

How To Fix The Ticking Noise In Car When Off From Drive?

Simple fixes and checks can help you get rid of this disappointing ticking noise. Sometimes, this problem can be solved with easy measures which are inexpensive. The intensity of the problem depends on the frequency of the noise. If the noise is heard once in a while or after a really long drive, it is not a major problem but, if the noise is frequent, seeking professional help is required. Additionally, a reliable mechanic can diagnose the real problem and prevent your vehicle from any damage in the future.

1. Checking Valves

Once the fact about noise is confirmed that it initiates from the hood, checking the valves is the first step. Valves function frequently during a drive, hence, a valve is prone to damage. Fixing the valves will ensure the proper amount of oil in your car. Therefore, valves must be checked regularly.

2. Oil Refill

There might be a situation where your engine lacks the required amount of oil. Refilling oil at regular intervals is advised as firstly, it ensures that the car doesn’t make noise during the combustion process and secondly, it improves the overall performance of your car’s engine. Faulty valves can lead to a leak. Consequently, the oil leaks in the system and gives rise to a ticking noise in car when off of the required amount of oil.

3. Inspecting Leaks

A leak doesn’t come to one’s mind while looking for a source of the noise but it might be a potential reason. Once the mechanic is sure about checking all the internal components of your car, inspecting the leaks is advised because- Firstly, a leak initiates noise that might sound like a tick and secondly, it hampers the overall performance of your vehicle. Therefore, fixing the leak helps you get rid of the ticking noise and consequently increases the overall performance standards of your car.


To sum it up, noises are disappointing and they should not be overlooked. Additionally, noises give a sense of damage and fault even after the drive is over. As a car owner, any noise from the machine feels stressful. However, most of the time, this is not a major problem. Getting the noise checked by a professional is advised to avoid any complex damage in any component of your car, otherwise, occasional ticking noises are absolutely normal.

Stay safe and keep driving

Thank you

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