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My 2003 Opel Agila 1.2 is making a very loud ticking noise when I start it up, and it doesn't sound right. It only ticks when idling and when I rev it, the ticking noise goes away. The car runs completely fine, but the noise is really annoying and I'm worried that it is something bad.

I had an oil change in December, and I have no warning lights. Also sometimes when I start the car up and the car revs itself up to about 1.2k at idle to warm the O2 sensors, the car judders and shakes, and the ticking noise is really bad. However when I rev it all of this goes away again, but this only happens about once a month.

I have a recording of the sound here. Sorry about the bumping around, I did it with my phone...

The recording is from inside the engine compartment, and you can hear the ticking noise.

Can anyone tell me if this noise is bad? Can I fix it?


MORE INFO: My engine is chain driven. There is no timing belt, there is a timing chain.

It's recently started doing it. I've done about 6000 miles since the oil change.

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    did it do that before the oil change? – Digital Lightcraft Jul 27 '16 at 19:24
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    Do you know when the timing belt has been changed last time? It sounds like a timing belt to me, and a tensioner pulley. If you can't have a look at it, make sure you find someone to look at your belt as soon as you can. – Arturs Bolsunovskis Jul 27 '16 at 19:42
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    The very top (usually) part of the engine, It usually has the oil fill in it. – dlu Jul 27 '16 at 23:21
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    Exactly! The screwdriver will act like a stethoscope and help you isolate the source of the noise. It will also make you bend over the engine, so be careful of long hair, jewelry, loose clothes, anything that could get caught in moving parts – that is usually very unpleasant. Don't forget that the fans are usually thermostatically controlled and may start at any time. – dlu Jul 27 '16 at 23:24
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    It does sound like lifter tick from the audio clip. Does the ticking sound occur only after the vehicle has been left unused for an extended period of time? That would correlate with a lifter that has lost some oil over time. With the screwdriver test suggested by @dlu you're looking to confirm that the ticking is chiming from the top end (valve cover). Also, an ageing hydraulic chain tensioner can generate a fair amount of ruckus for the same reason - inability to stay filled with oil. – Zaid Jul 28 '16 at 1:59

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