Clicking Noise In Dashboard When Car Is Off [Why + How To Fix]

The major reasons behind clicking noise in dashboard when car is off are a bad blend door actuator, a leak in the compression cycle, a damaged battery, an uncalibrated HVAC system, a faulty stepper motor, and a malfunctioning relay, and a damaged starter.

Keep reading this article to find out more about these issues in detail and learn how you can fix these issues. Let’s dive in and see how you can solve your clicking noise problem!

Clicking Noise In Dashboard When Car Is Off [Reasons + Solutions]

While it can be worrying to hear the clicking noise from your dashboard, the fixes are easy in most cases. Here are the most common reasons why your car makes the clicking noise:

1. Bad Blend Door Actuator

The actuator controls the flow of air and makes sure that you get the correct air according to your settings. It has a gear that opens and closes the flap that controls the flow of hot and cold air in your car.

When you set a temperature, the blend door opens up to a certain percentage to match that temperature. There are multiple actuators in most cars to make the air come from the right place.

More often than not, you’d get the clicking sound in your dashboard because of a bad actuator. When the actuator goes bad and the door can’t turn freely, you can hear the actuator clicking when the car is off.

You can diagnose if you have a faulty actuator by following these steps:

  • Keep the car off and let it cool down.
  • Unplug the actuator that you suspect is making the noise.
  • Turn the car to accessory mode.
  • Check if the clicking sound is still there.

If the clicking sound has stopped, you have found the bad actuator. If it doesn’t stop, plug it back in and repeat the process for all the actuators testing one at a time. You’ll know when you’ve identified the bad actuator when the annoying rat-a-tat clicking noise stops.


In some cases, you can get away by replacing the gears in the actuator if one of the teeth in them is broken. But a blend door actuator isn’t expensive and it’s better to replace the blend door with a new one when it becomes damaged.

2. Leak In Compression Cycle

The clicking sound isn’t always a cause of concern. Sometimes, it can come when you hear the compressor in your AC cycling on and off. It’s not unusual to hear that clicking noise in car dashboard when AC is on. But you could also hear the noise when there’s a leak in the compressor.


You’d have to get your car checked to know for sure if what you’re hearing is the normal cycling of the compressor or a leak. If there’s a leak, it will have to be sealed to prevent further damage.

3. Damaged Battery

If the starter doesn’t get enough power from the battery, it can make a clicking noise on the dashboard when starting the car. The problem can also be caused if the alternator has become faulty and fails to recharge the battery.

You’ll get a constant clicking noise as the starter will turn on and off when it happens and the engine may also misfire. Engine misfiring is one of the common symptoms of battery and alternator issues.


The first thing to do is to check the battery and see its condition. If the battery appears to be fine, you need to inspect the alternator and replace it if it has been worn out.

In case of a damaged battery, check the battery for corrosion. If it’s not completely dead, you can repair it by getting rid of the corrosion and making the connection of the batteries stronger at the terminal. But if the damage is severe, you’d have to replace the battery.

4. Uncalibrated HVAC System

The Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning or HVAC system in your car is more complicated than it looks. This system uses sensors, actuators, and motors to control the flow of air and make sure it goes in the right direction.

This complicated system is handled by a computer called the HVAC control module. It cannot operate correctly if it gets false readings from the sensors. When the position of the heater motor is miscalculated, it can cause a clicking noise in dashboard when car is on.


Recalibrating the heater can get rid of the clicking sound coming from your dashboard. Some vehicles require you to get a bidirectional scan tool to recalibrate your HVAC system. But on other vehicles, you can recalibrate the heater motor by following these steps:

  • Turn on the ignition of your vehicle.
  • Turn on the Auto button.
  • Turn off the ignition.
  • Remove the HVAC fuse from the fuse box.
  • Keep the fuse removed for at least one minute.
  • Turn the ignition on and the HVAC system will be in relearn mode now.
  • Don’t touch the control for a few minutes.
  • Start the car again.

The HVAC system is recalibrated now. If it solves the clicking noise coming from your engine, you’re good. But if the problem still remains, the next things you should look at are the stepper motors and relays.

5. Faulty Stepper Motor

The clicking noise behind the glove box can also be caused by a damaged stepper motor. But what is a stepper motor? It’s a small electrical motor that is designed to move in precise increments.

There are usually multiple stepper motors in a car and they’re attached to the blend doors. When the motor fails to work properly, it causes a clicking noise.

Diagnosing The Faulty Stepper Motor:

As the heating system is run by a computer called the HVAC module, you can easily diagnose if you have a faulty stepper motor with the help of a scan tool.

The scanner will record an error code and identify the malfunctioning stepper motor along with its location.

But because most car owners don’t have access to scanners, the next best thing to do is to use your ears. Turn up the AC settings and see if the clicking noise increases because of it. Follow where the sound is coming from and remove the glove box to listen to the sound.

Sometimes, there could be an obstruction in the motor that keeps it from spinning. The motor itself can also be faulty or disconnected from the actuator and make an annoying sound.


If there’s any obstruction on the motor, remove it and see if the noise is gone. If there isn’t any object blocking the motor, the motor is most likely faulty and needs to be replaced.

You can replace the motor yourself if getting access to it is easy and it’s on the near end of your dashboard. But if it’s too far in, hiring a mechanic to do the job is a smarter way to go about it.

While you’re at it, spray some WD40 on the pivots and gears to make sure they’re good. Recalibrate the system after replacing the motor so that you can get rid of the clicking noise.

6. Malfunctioning Relay

If there is a defect in the relay, it can be stuck and cause the engine clicking noise. One way to diagnose a faulty relay is to see if it clicks or not. If it doesn’t click, you can confirm your assumption by replacing it with a good relay.


Replace the faulty relay with a new one and you’ll no longer have to wonder why is my dash clicking. Open the fuse box, pull the old relay out, put the new one in and you’re all set to go on a drive that’s free from clicking noises.

7. Damaged Starter

A common symptom of a damaged starter is that you’ll hear one loud click instead of multiple clicking noises. Starters last from 40,000 to 200,000 miles on average depending on the use and it’s common for them to be worn out.


It doesn’t always work but you may get your car to start by pressing the starter a few times. That should be enough to take it to the mechanic and get your starter replaced. If it doesn’t start, you have to get your car towed, taken to a mechanic, and finally replace the starter.


What causes clicking noise on driver side?

The most common cause of clicking noise coming from the driver’s side is a broken CV joint. You’ll also hear knocking sounds from the wheel when your CV joint is damaged.

Is it safe to drive with clicking noise from the dashboard?

In most cases, the clicking noise comes because of minor issues that are easy to fix. So, you can drive with clicking noise from the dashboard but it’s better to get it addressed ASAP.

What are the components in an HVAC system?

The main components of an HVAC system are the heater unit, heater core, temperature sensor, blend door actuators, fans, stepper motors, and the control module.

What is the most common reason behind the clicking noise behind a speedometer?

The main reasons for the clicking noise have been discussed but the most common is faulty blend door actuators. Nine times out of ten, it’s the actuator that will be the culprit behind the clicking noise problem.


Now that you know the most common reasons behind the clicking noise in dashboard when car is off, you can fix them by following this guide.

We hope you have an easy fix on your hands and you can get rid of the clicking noise without making a dent in your pocket. Drop a comment below if you’ve any more questions about the clicking noises that come from the dashboard.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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