VauxhallVauxhall Astra Ticking Noise: Common Causes And Solutions

Vauxhall Astra Ticking Noise: Common Causes And Solutions


In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of the annoying Vauxhall Astra ticking noise and provide you with some solutions to fix it.

The ticking noise is fairly common in the Astra J, Astra VXR, Astra GTC, Astra 1.4 T, Astra 1.6 CDTi as well as in the standard model.

From low oil levels and contaminated oil to broken cam lifters and misaligned valves, we’ll cover the most common causes behind that ticking noise.

Let’s Go!

Wrong Grade of Oil / Low Oil Level

Low oil level or using the wrong grade of oil can contribute to the ticking noise in a Vauxhall Astra engine. It is important to maintain the proper oil level and use the recommended grade of oil to prevent engine issues.

When the oil level is low, it can lead to inadequate lubrication, causing various components in the engine to rub against each other and produce a ticking noise. Similarly, using the wrong grade of oil can result in poor lubrication and increased friction, leading to ticking sounds.

If you hear a ticking noise from your Astra’s engine, it is crucial to check the oil level and ensure that you are using the correct grade of oil specified by Vauxhall.

Example of Astra Ticking Noise from Engine

Contaminated Oil

Contaminated oil can contribute to the ticking noise in car engines. One possible cause of contamination is a blocked oil filter, which can prevent proper oil flow and lead to engine issues.

Damaged Oil Filter

One possible cause of the Vauxhall Astra ticking noise from the engine could be a damaged oil filter. When the oil filter becomes damaged, it allow dirt and debris into the oil, leading to inadequate lubrication and can cause engine components to stick.

To address this issue, consider the following:

  • Schedule regular oil and filter changes to prevent contamination buildup.
  • Use high-quality oil filters that are compatible with your vehicle’s specifications.
  • Ensure proper installation of the oil filter during maintenance.
  • Monitor your vehicle’s oil pressure gauge or warning light for any abnormalities.
  • Consult a professional mechanic if you suspect a blocked oil filter as the cause of the ticking noise.

By addressing a blocked oil filter promptly, you can help maintain optimal engine performance and reduce potential damage caused by inadequate lubrication.

astra oil filter
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Dirty Tappets

Contaminated or dirty oil often results in oil / debris deposits building up on engine components. This can occur on the hydraulic tappets, making them sticky.

Dirty / sticky tappets can create friction and prevent proper movement, resulting in a ticking sound. To address the ticking noise in your engine, you should consider cleaning the tappets.

Cleaning them involves removing any built-up debris or sludge that may have accumulated over time. Sometimes an oil change will suffice in cleaning the deposits from the tappets.

It is important to note that if the tappets are severely damaged or worn out, cleaning may not completely eliminate the ticking noise. In such cases, replacement might be necessary.

Broken Cam Lifters / Hydraulic Tappets

If you’re experiencing a ticking noise in your Vauxhall Astra’s engine, it could be due to broken cam lifters / hydraulic tappets. These components are responsible for opening and closing the valves in your engine, and if they become damaged or worn out, they can produce a ticking sound.

This issue is often caused by lack of lubrication, which can lead to increased friction and wear on these parts. To address this problem, it is recommended to have the cam lifters or hydraulic tappets replaced by a professional mechanic.

Misaligned Valves

Now let’s talk about another potential cause of the Astra Ticking Noise: misaligned valves.

When the valves in your Astra’s overhead cam engine become misaligned, they can create a ticking sound as they make contact with other components. This can happen due to wear and tear over time, low oil levels or using the wrong grade of oil.

In comparison to sticky tappets / lifters, the tick caused by misaligned valves is a lot slower – several ticks per minute compared to several ticks per second.

If left unaddressed, it may lead to further damage and costly repairs down the line.

To resolve this issue, it is recommended to take your car to a trusted mechanic who can properly diagnose and realign the valves.

Faulty Spark Plugs

One potential cause of the ticking sound in a Vauxhall Astra could be faulty spark plugs.

Spark plugs play a crucial role in igniting the air-fuel mixture inside the engine cylinders, and when they start to wear out or become unseated, they can produce a ticking noise.

Faulty spark plugs cause inefficient combustion which can result in exhaust gas bypassing and entering the Astra’s engine.

If the spark plugs are not firing properly, it can lead to misfires and uneven engine operation. To address this issue, it is recommended to have the spark plugs inspected and replaced if necessary.

Spark plugs should last you 70,000 – 100,000 miles but it is important to have them checked at recommended intervals.

It’s important to consult with a qualified mechanic or refer to the vehicle’s owner manual for specific information on spark plug replacement for your Vauxhall Astra.

Replacing spark plugs is not an expensive job so don’t let this put you off booking in with your local mechanic.


What is causing my Vauxhall Astra VXR ticking noise?

Your Vauxhall Astra VXR’s ticking noise is likely being caused by an underlying low oil level or contaminated oil. This will then cause a lack of proper lubrication which can lead to moving engine components making noises. Hydraulic tappets are an example of engine components that, without proper lubrication, can cause a ticking noise.

Can a bad oil filter in my Astra J cause ticking?

Yes, a bad oil filter in your Astra J can cause a ticking noise. A bad oil filter results in contaminated oil circulating the engine. This can then cause ticking from various sources within the engine.

Can too much oil in my Astra GTC cause ticking?

Yes, too much oil in your Astra GTC can cause ticking. Air pockets can then form making the oil foamy and less efficient. This often results in a lack of lubrication which can cause a ticking noise from the engine.

What is the most common cause of the Vauxhall Astra ticking noise?

The most common cause of the Vauxhall Astra ticking noise is a lack of lubrication of the engine components which usually stems from a low oil level, low oil pressure, wrong grade of engine oil used or oil contamination.


Addressing your Astra’s ticking noise is crucial for the overall health and performance of your engine. By maintaining proper oil levels and using the correct grade of oil, you can prevent many common causes of ticking noises.

Regular maintenance, including checking for contaminated oil, breached oil filters or sticky / dirty cam lifters, is also essential. Misaligned valves and faulty spark plugs can be the cause of the issue as well, so be sure to check for these.

If in doubt, I would recommend having a local mechanic run a diagnostic inspection to get to the bottom of the problem. Leaving a ticking noise unresolved will almost certainly cause more damage, and cost you more money in the long run.

Dave Marlow
Dave Marlow
Dave has been a petrohead since he can remember. He worked as a mechanic for 12 years before transitioning into automotive content writing. His dream car is a classic Red Ferrari 458.

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