What causes my car to make a pinging noise?

Question:

Is there a way to eliminate the pinging that I hear in the engine when I accelerate?

Answer:

There are three likely causes of the kind of engine ping you are experiencing. It’s a pre-combustion event in which the ignition in the cylinder occurs prematurely.

  • An engine will begin to ping at a relatively rapid pace when the fuel grade gets too low in its octane rating.
  • A pinging noise in the engine can also indicate the need to repair the part of the car that tells the coil when to fire the cylinder.
  • You might have carbon build-up in the combustion chamber.

If it’s a fuel-grade problem, sometimes you just need to increase the octane that you buy at the pump.

Bottom line: If your engine is pinging, and if the fuel upgrade hasn’t helped, you will probably want to bring it to a certified mechanic. A mechanic’s attention will be especially important in the case of carbon build-up.