My car ticks like a clock.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1989 Ford Tempo. I would like to know if I have a problem. My car ticks like a clock after I turn it off. The dealer said to ignore it, but it still bothers me. Why is my car doing this while others don't?

TOM: Well, unless you've just been through a nasty legal battle, Balnche, then ticking sounds coming from your car are generally nothing to worry about.

RAY: It's probably just the exhaust system cooling off. Most things expand when they heat up, and shrink when they cool down. If you don't believe us, reach into some strange man's swim trunks next time you go swimming in the ocean. After a drive, your metal exhaust system cools down and contracts. And the sound you hear is the creaking of the metal.

TOM: And it DOES happen to other people's cars. You're probably just not in the habit of standing around parking lots, listening to strangers cars as they cool down. And that's good, Blanche. We'd be worried about you if you did that.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One