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Honda Civic Clicking Noise (What Is It – How to Fix)

The Honda brand is known for its quality cars, so it is unusual to find a problem that is experienced by so many owners across models and years of manufacture.

One such problem is an unexplained clicking noise that emanates from the front of the Honda Civic.

But don’t despair as we’ll show you how to identify the problem and then show you how to fix it.

If a Honda Civic makes a clicking noise, then establishing if it is from inside the cabin or outside in the engine bay is key to solving the problem. Clicking from the front may indicate a valve problem or even worn CV joints. Clicks from inside the cabin may come from the steering column or aircon.

A clicking sound heard inside the cabin can originate from the air conditioning unit. Wear and tear on the fan or a build-up of dust on the fan blades can result in the unit becoming noisy. To fix the problem, change the air filters regularly and clean the fan blades and ducting.

Another location that can cause clicking sounds is the steering column height adjustment lever. Adjusting this lever so that the steering column moves up and down through its full range of motion helps to prevent noise.

Nervous female driver

While moving the steering wheel telescopic locking mechanism has helped some car owners, there are others for whom it has made no difference, or the sound goes away and then comes back a few weeks later.

A few owners report that the problem seems to occur more in summer than in winter and the theory is that the sound is connected to the temperature. This may indicate that the clicking or ticking sound has its origins in the heater fans.

External clicking sounds are more difficult to diagnose without access to the vehicle as the sound’s location could be in the engine, gearbox, suspension, or wheels and brakes.

A regular clicking or tapping sound that rises and falls with the engine revs, indicates a location in the engine. If this occurs while the car is stationary, you can rule out the suspension or wheels as the source of the problem. It is more likely to be the valve clearance that requires attention.

The valve clearance refers to the gap between the rocker arm and the top of the valve stem. The rocker arm or cam follower, moves up and down, making contact with the top of the valve stem to push it down to allow gasses to either flow in or out of the combustion chamber.

Before making valve adjustments, be aware that while a clearance gap that is too large may be noisy, it is less likely to damage the engine than a gap that is too small. There’s an old saying amongst mechanics that “noisy tappets are happy tappets”. While this may no longer be completely true in an era of hydraulic valve lifters, it does give you an indication that the problem is not quite as severe as you may imagine.

Adjusting the valves requires that you move each piston to the top dead center (TDC) position on the power stroke, before making the adjustment. You should also follow Honda’s advice and only make these adjustments when the engine is cold. If the engine is hot, your valve clearance adjustment will be incorrect.

You may find that the clicking sound happens when you are driving and increases in volume when you turn a corner. The clicking may then change from a gentle ticking sound to a harsher clinking sound. Turning one way or the other may make the sound worse.

This is a sure indication that you have a problem with your CV joints and you must replace them as soon as possible.

A ticking sound from your wheel area may also be caused by problems with your brakes. The caliper may be loose or the brakes could be worn down beyond their safe thickness.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Accelerating

Side view of red car driving fast on road

When road-testing your Honda Civic, a mechanic will make various adjustments to his speed to help identify the problem.

If a Honda Civic makes a ticking noise when accelerating, it may be caused by low oil pressure, the valvetrain, or a leak in the exhaust. Faulty sparkplugs have also been known to cause a ticking sound. Check your oil level and top up if it’s low. Valves can be adjusted and sparks can be replaced.

Low oil pressure is usually caused by the oil level being too low. This is a serious problem and should be addressed immediately.

Having too little oil in your engine increases wear and tear drastically and can cause it to overheat. This in turn can cause a blown head gasket, lead to damaged valves and pistons, as well as an engine fire.

Check your dipstick to see how much oil you need to put in and look for any signs of leaks.

The valvetrain refers to all the components that control the intake and exhaust valves. As you accelerate, the engine revs increase, causing the valves to open and close more rapidly.

If there is a problem with any of the moving parts, it will cause a regular clicking sound which increases and decreases in unison with the vehicle’s speed. The problem may be as simple as the tapet gap needing adjustment or it could be a more serious problem.

If the clicking sound is accompanied by a loss of power under acceleration or increased misfires, then adjusting the valve clearance will most likely solve the problem.

Wait for the engine to cool down overnight and then remove the tapet cover. You’ll need a feeler gauge, a screwdriver, a torque wrench, and a set of box wrenches to make the adjustments you need to the valves.

After turning the engine so that the timing marks are aligned with the TDC mark and the timing chain sprocket reveals the “UP” stamp, you can start from the number 1 cylinder on the left side of the engine. These are the valves that are closest to the timing chain.

Check the valves with the feeler gauge. The gauge should slip between the tapet and valve stem with a snug fit. If it slides in too easily, the gap must be reduced. If you struggle to get the feeler gauge into the gap, then you need to widen the gap.

The intake valves on the 1.8 models have a gap of 0.007-0.008 in (.18-.22 mm). The exhaust valve gap is 0.009-0.010 in (0.23-0.27mm).

The 2.4 models have an intake valve clearance of 0.008-0.010 in (.21-.25 mm) with the exhaust valve gap being 0.010-0.011 in (0.25-0.29mm).

Adjusting the valve requires that you use a box wrench and screwdriver. Hold the screwdriver in place while you loosen the locking nut. Once it is loose, slip the feeler gauge under the tappet and turn the screw to increase or decrease the gap. When the feeler gauge is snug, hold the screwdriver in place as you tighten the locking nut.

Move on to the third cylinder’s valves and turn the engine clockwise through 180°. The number three will appear on the timing chain sprocket. You can then adjust cylinder three’s valves.

Rotate the engine clockwise through 180° so that the number four is visible on the timing chain sprocket. Once you’ve adjusted cylinder four’s valves, turn the engine again so that the number 2 is visible on the timing chain sprocket.

Adjust cylinder two’s valves and your job is almost done. Your last job is to tighten the valve locking nuts to the required torque. Set your torque wrench to 120 inch-lbs (14 Nm) and tighten the nuts while holding the adjusting screw head in place with your flathead screwdriver.

If your exhaust leaks, you can trace it by sliding under the car and listening for the sound of escaping gas. If the leak is in the exhaust manifold, you can get your mechanic to weld the hole shut.

If the hole is in the exhaust pipe, then you’ll need to take it to a service center where they can replace the damaged section.

If the spark plugs are not working or broken, remove them and replace them with ones of the specification.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Driving

Side view of female car driver

It is easy to ignore noises coming from your vehicle while you are driving, especially if you listen to loud music.

However, these noises can act as an early warning that something is about to break and should not be ignored.

When a Honda Civic makes a clicking noise while driving, you can diagnose the problem by listening to when the sound increases or decreases. If it gets noisier when you turn, then your CV joints are most probably to blame. You must replace them as soon as possible to avoid possible problems.

To confirm that the CV joints are the problem, find an empty parking lot and turn the steering wheel to the full lock position in each direction as you drive round in a circle.

If the sound changes into a clunking sound and gets louder, then you can be sure that the CV joints are the problem. Unless you are an experienced DIY mechanic, you need to get a mechanic to replace the CV joints for you.

If you find that the clicking noise gets worse when you drive over bumps, then the problem may be a damaged or broken strut. This needs to be replaced by your mechanic.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Turning

Hand on car steering wheel

In an older vehicle, the constant movement on your suspension eventually causes many parts to wear out.

One of the areas of the car to receive a lot of abuse is the connection between the gearbox and the wheels.

If a Honda Civic makes a clicking noise while turning, it is either a problem with the CV joints or the steering rack. If the noise gets louder when turning more quickly, then it is likely the CV joints are worn. To avoid excessive wear on tires and suspension, the CV joints must be replaced.

To confirm that the problem is related to your CV joints, drive in a circle, first to the left and then to the right.

The clicking noise will increase as you turn harder or drive faster when the CV joints are worn out. The constant velocity joints are the point at which the rotational torque from the engine is transferred to the wheels in a front-wheel drive vehicle.

The joint can move in all directions while still allowing the drive shaft to turn the wheel. As the car gets older, the grease inside the joint escapes, and the ball bearings and metal surfaces become more and more worn. Eventually, the joint starts to fail, causing a clicking sound which eventually gets louder and louder until the CV fails completely.

At that point, the car will not be able to drive as the drive shaft will just spin when you accelerate.

The only solution is to replace the CV joints and the rubber boot. To get the longest life out of your CV joints, make sure that the rubber boot is intact and no grease escapes from it. If the boot is torn, it should be replaced and the grease replenished. This prevents premature wear on the components inside.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Starting

Hand turning keys in car ignition

It can be frustrating to start your car only for it to make a clicking noise.

If a Honda Civic makes a clicking noise when starting, then you most likely have a flat battery or a failed starter. The starter motor may be poorly grounded, causing the car to make a clicking sound as it attempts to engage the flywheel. You may also have corrosion on the battery terminals.

You can check the battery’s charge by using a multimeter. The voltage should be at least 12 Volts when the car is off. You can also use a battery tester to see what the battery charge is under load.

If it drops below 9.6 – 10.5 volts while under load, the battery must be charged.

If the battery is constantly discharged below these levels, then you will need to check for any parasitic loads that may be draining the battery while your car is switched off.

If the battery light comes on while driving, then your alternator may not be charging the battery.

Clean the corrosion off the battery terminals and make sure that the connections are secure.

If the starter motor is faulty, it can be easily replaced.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Braking

Food stepping on car brake pedal

Worn brakes are both a safety hazard and irritating to listen to.

If your Honda Civic makes a clicking noise while braking, you need to replace the brake pads and check the wear on the rotor. If the rotor becomes worn or warped, the movement of the rotor against the pads can cause it to make a rhythmic clicking noise.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise When Idle

Confused female car driver with hands up in the air

While many Honda Civics have noisy engines, it’s not normal for them to make a lot of noise when idling.

If a Honda Civic develops a clicking noise while idling, it can be the valve train or a failed purge valve. Increase the revs to see if the clicking sound increases. If it does, the problem is likely the valves. However, the purge valve makes a similar sound, so it is worth checking too.

If you experience a loss of power or the engine misfires, then you most likely have a valve problem. To fix it, you may have to reset the valve clearances.

If the valve’s clearances are correct, then you can check the purge valve on the side of the throttle body. A failed purge valve will affect the amount of air entering the engine and prevent the computer from knowing exactly what the fuel-to-air mixture is.

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This will cause the car to misfire and lose power. Your spark plugs will have increased carbon deposit buildup on them and they will wear out more quickly.

To replace the purge valve, remove the air filter and cover. Unscrew the purge valve and remove the two hoses attached to each side. Replace it with the correct purge valve for your vehicle.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise But Not Starting

Male with hands on car steering wheel

Honda Civics are reliable vehicles that seldom cause problems.

However, when they get older, parts wear out and may prevent the vehicle from starting.

If your Honda Civic makes a clicking noise when you turn the key but doesn’t start, the battery is most likely flat. You may also have a bad connection to the starter motor. The clicking noise you hear is the solenoid trying to get the starter motor to turn the flywheel.

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Check the battery voltage and if it is less than 9.6 volts when under load, you need to charge it. If, after the battery is charged, it quickly drops below the required voltage, it is either worn out or there is a parasitic load that you need to find and remove.

This often happens after work has been done on the vehicle. You’ll need to check the wiring loom yourself or get an auto electrician to diagnose the problem.

Honda Civic Clicking Noise Going Over Bumps

Male with hands on car steering wheel

The suspension on a vehicle takes a lot of abuse over its lifetime.

So, it is not unusual for an older vehicle to develop squeaks and other sounds.

If your Honda Civic makes a clicking noise as it goes over bumps, you may have a problem with the suspension. You may find that your control-arm bushings are worn or the control arm is broken. Worn struts or strut mounts will also cause a clicking sound.

For safety reasons, a mechanic should fix any suspension problems. Without the correct tools, working on the suspension can cause serious injury if the parts break or come loose.

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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on Aug 18, 2022 and last updated on .

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