It’s troubling when you hear a “clicking” sound on your dashboard after you have turned off the ignition. The noise could be both annoying and distressing. Why is the dashboard clicking?
When your dashboard seems to produce a clicking noise, it can be caused by a malfunctioning blend door actuator. The sound can be low or loud and can be repetitive. This kind of noise usually comes from the HVAC control section of the dashboard.
There are some reasons why this blend door actuator can inadvertently create this kind of sound. It can be because it was installed improperly, or it is already broken, or its gears are already stripped.
Read on to learn more about why your dashboard is clicking, the possible causes, and the fixes you can apply.
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Why Is the Dashboard Clicking? Main Causes
If you hear a clicking noise on your dashboard, it can be caused by a failing blend actuator. It can even happen that you will hear the dashboard clicking when the car is off. The sound can be low, or it can be loud and could be repetitive as well.
This actuator could be acting this way, perhaps because it was installed incorrectly. Or maybe it is already damaged, and its gears have already been stripped of their teeth because of old age.
The blend actuator is a miniature HVAC motor that works in tandem with the temperature sensors of your car.
They work together to make the climate control system of your car function efficiently. The signal is sent through this blend door actuator whenever you turn the dial to cool or warm the cabin temperature.
This clicking sound could also be created by a battery or alternator problem. The reason is that the starter is not receiving enough energy to stay powered and crank the engine. As the system repeats the process, you will hear the clicking sound each time it tries to crank the engine.
The question is: can you still drive your car even with this clicking sound? There are several reasons for this clicking sound. You have to determine the cause and then fix the problem first. Driving your car is unsafe if you haven’t fixed the exact problem.
Why Is There a Clicking Sound from the Dashboard?
There are many causes why it appears that clicking noise is coming out of your dashboard. However, there are three most common causes of this issue. They are:
- Malfunctioning blend door actuator
- Lost calibration of the heater control module
- Bad relay
I will discuss these three issues in detail in this article. But before I do that, let’s discuss the other possible causes of this problem:
1. Faulty Blend Door Actuator
Your car uses ventilation, heating, and an HVAC air conditioning system with manual controls. The blend door actuator moves one way for cooling and another for defrosting. This actuator is a small electric motor whose primary function is to control your vehicle’s climate control system.
When failing, it can produce clicking sounds even if you have already turned off the ignition and your car is no longer running. It can be a low or loud clicking sound with repetitive frequency.
The sound will usually come from the HVAC control area on the dashboard. The sound will get louder when you vary the temperature setting on the AC.
When this blender is no longer working correctly, the actuator door won’t be able to turn automatically. So, you will hear the clicking or knocking sound from the dashboard.
The inner structure of this actuator is made of plastic gears. These gears produce clicking sounds as they click until they finally complete the air conditioning cycle.
2. Uncalibrated Heater Control Module
The HVAC system of your car controls the temperature, humidity, and quality of the air inside the cabin. Its primary function is to give your vehicle air quality and temperature.
The noise in the dash related to temperature control is one of the reasons. If these parameters of the HVAC system lose their calibration, clunking and other strange noises are created.
The cause of lost calibration could be a damaged or loose mechanical part which causes the clicking noise from the dashboard.
The HVAC is a complicated system. Its ability to make sure that the cabin air is moving in the correct direction is made possible through the help of the actuator, motors, and sensors. If the sensors do not give accurate data, the HVAC system won’t be able to provide the right action.
When the condition of the hot engine is not correctly calculated, a rattling or clicking noise on the dashboard will be created while driving your car.
3. Failing Relay
Not all cars are the same. However, they have some similarities, regardless of their brands and models. An example is the relays. No matter what car you are speaking of, its relays are usually located in the fuse box, which is located under the hood.
You need to know what relays do to make your car run efficiently. If your car does not use any relay, the electric current flowing in every electrical device that your car use will not be controlled.
Without relays, the electrical switches on your car, which are large in numbers, will quickly burn. That will make your car motionless. However, if the relays are all working well, all electrical gadgets on your vehicle, including its HVAC system, will work well.
Additionally, suppose dirt is present on the electrical junctions. In that case, it can cause the dashboard to produce a clicking noise, especially if it continuously disconnects and connects at high speeds when connecting to the main power supply several times.
Other Causes of Dashboard Clicking Noise
Aside from the three leading causes, there are other reasons why your dashboard can produce clicking noises. Here are some of the other causes:
1. Bad Valves
The distance between the pushrod or cam and the valves should be accurate. Shims and other adjustment parts ensure that this precise distance is maintained. However, over time, these components wear down. Their ability to maintain precise distances is compromised.
As a result, clicking noises will be created while the engine is running. If this happens in your car, one of the culprits could be these valves. The fix for this is to adjust the rocker’s arm and replace the shims.
2. Rod Knock
If the clicking noise in your car occurs while driving slowly, it can be a severe problem. This problem is related to the engine RPM, which may happen every time the engine revolves in its axis.
A severe problem such as this requires a costly fix. Your engine needs rebuilding. And this task is quite expensive to perform. If this is the noise you hear from your engine, you have to talk to your mechanic and explore options.
3. Bad Stepper Motor
A problematic stepper motor is one of the common issues of modern cars. The function of this motor is to control the car’s idle speed. It regulates the air going to the engine according to constantly updated parameters.
If it is broken, it will cause loud noises in the dashboard. This is the primary cause of modern cars producing noise once they fail. If this is the cause of strange noises in your vehicle, you should have a mechanic examine your vehicle and perform the necessary fix as soon as possible.
4. Lack of Lubrication
Oil is necessary to keep the engine parts running without any problems. One of these engine parts is the components of the valve train. So, you can guess what will happen if they have insufficient oil lubrication.
You will hear all kinds of noises, including clicking noises from these components because their metal parts will be rubbing against each other. So, you need to check your engine’s oil level regularly to ensure that all these parts are correctly lubricated.
5. Low Battery Energy
This is one cause of clicking noise that you can quickly check yourself. If this is your problem, you can also quickly fix the issue. You will know if it’s a problem if you hear repetitive clicking noise.
Look at your car’s interior and exterior lights. Are they as bright as they should be, or are they dimming already? Your battery could lose energy if you forget to turn off any interior or exterior light when you leave your car parked in your garage.
If the clicking noise occurs every time you turn the ignition, and the battery tries to crank the engine but can’t, it is undoubtedly a problem with the battery.
To revive your battery, you have to jump-start it with a good one and leave it running for several minutes until it fully charges. You have to replace it if it can’t carry a full charge.
Again, why is the dashboard clicking? A clicking dashboard might be due to a faulty blend actuator even when the car is off. This loud or repetitive noise will come from the dashboard’s HVAC controls.
How to Fix the Clicking Noise in the Dashboard?
Once you find the cause of the clicking noise, you must fix it to prevent the problem from returning. Here are the effective fixes for this problem:
1. Repair or Replace the Blend Door Actuator
If the culprit is the blend door actuator, you need to bring your car to a competent car mechanic so they can examine it properly. The mechanic will make sure it is the fault of a bad actuator by using an OBD2 scanner.
Once they confirm that the actuator is the problem, they can repair or replace it. The steps the mechanic will take to do this are the following:
- Disconnect the negative cable of the battery from its terminal.
- Remove the glove box and pull it out from its holding knobs. Afterward, they will remove the contents inside the glove box and put them aside.
- Unplug the wiring harness and find the location of the heater core behind the place where the glove box is usually located.
- Pull out the two holding screws so they can remove the air filter assembly.
- Get a small screwdriver so they can remove the door actuator and the actuator itself.
- Remove the bad blend door actuator and install a new one.
Note: Before installing the new BDA, they will manually rotate the door in both directions to ensure it will not jam. If it jams, the new actuator will be damaged.
2. Calibrate the Heater Motor
There is also a need to recalibrate the AC controller so the clicking sound from the dashboard will not return. Here are the steps this is usually done:
- Press the Auto button.
- Turn off the engine when the “Auto” function is on.
- The mechanic will access the fuse box to remove the fuse of the AC controller system for about two minutes. This is enough to reset the system.
3. Replace Faulty Relays
Failing relays are also some of the most common causes of the clicking sound you hear on the dashboard. The only way to fix a bad relay is to replace it. Here are the steps to do this:
- Find the location of the offending relay. It could be under the hood or the dashboard, depending on the make of your vehicle and the controlling relays that is bad. They will check the repair manual of your car to be sure.
- Remove the bad relay with bare hands or a standard pair of pliers.
- Replace the old relay with a new one. Ensure that the new relay has the exact specifications as the bad relay. Push the new relay into its place by lining it up with the receptacle and gently but firmly pushing it in.
If there’s a clicking noise that appears to come out of your dashboard, it is usually caused by a malfunctioning blend door actuator. It could be a low or loud sound and is generally repetitive. This noise typically comes from the HVAC control part of the dashboard.
Several reasons could have made the blend door actuator produce this sound. Perhaps its installation is faulty, already damaged, or its gears have already been stripped because of old age.