tick over

World English Dictionary
tick over
1.  (Brit) Also: idle (of an engine) to run at low speed with the throttle control closed and the transmission disengaged
2.  to run smoothly without any major changes: keep the firm ticking over until I get back
3.  (Brit)
 a.  the speed of an engine when it is ticking over
 b.  (as modifier): tick-over speed

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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