You may occasionally hear a ticking sound from the back of the car that has just been parked after a drive. In most cases, it is normal to hear this sound. You can read more about it here.
But what of a clicking sound from under the hood immediately after switching off the engine.
This clicking can last for a few seconds before it stops. In some cases, it may continue for longer, or only come on occasionally enough to catch your attention.
Is this normal? Could it be a sign of a bigger problem about to happen? Should you do something about it?
This post explains why you may hear the clicking sounds when the car ignition is switched off, whether it is normal and what you can do about it.
Reasons why your car clicks even when the ignition is off
#1. Car performs self-test on power down
Some cars perform a self-test and re-calibration of actuators, sensors when the engine is powered down and the ignition key is removed. When this is going on, you hear a series of clicks and buzzes for some seconds before it stops.
#2. Electronic Fuel injection pump relay.
In some cars, the electronic fuel pump (EFI) relay may make some clicking sounds before eventually shutting down.
Is it Normal?
In some cases, yes. It is normal to hear the clicking sound for a while after turning off the ignition.
For example, some cars perform a self-test on turning off the ignition or a relay may click for a few seconds. This should stop after a few minutes.
If it is prolonged, then it can be a cause for concern. Check with your car dealer or a qualified mechanic to confirm if this should be expected or not,
What to Do
If the clicking is prolonged or you suspect there is a problem, follow the steps below as a guide:
#1. Confirm if it is “relay type” click or mechanical click
Check whether it is from a relay or not. A quick test you can do is to remove one of the battery cable clamps. If it is a relay then the clicking should stop immediately.
For more information about the mechanical type click or ticking, check out this post here.
#2. Pinpoint the source of the click
Is it a general source of clicks or buzzes or it is a distinct relay click? Where is it coming from? Is it from the relay box near the battery or somewhere else?
If it is from the relay box, open the relay and try to locate which relay is clicking (each relay has a label – usually shown on the underside of the relay box).
Knowing the source of the click gets you one step closer to identifying the likely cause and solution.
If it is a series of buzzes and clicks then it might be that the car is performing a self-test.
# 3. Swap out the relay in case of a relay click
Once you identify the relay, swap it out with a new one (of the same type) to test if it is a faulty relay or not.
If it works then you probably had a faulty relay. If not, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be fixed.
Consult a qualified mechanic for assistance.
In some cars, the clicking sound from under the hood is normal. Some cars conduct a self-test when the engine is switched off.
In other cases, you may have some clicking sounds before the fuel injection pump shuts down.
If the clicking is prolonged or you have any concerns do not hesitate to contact your car dealer or a qualified mechanic for assistance.