Top 5 Ways To Quiet Noisy Lifters Before They Cause Engine Damage (2023)

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Quieting noisy lifters is a must for any vehicle owner who wants to avoid costly engine repairs.

Many different products on the market claim to do this, but not all can deliver as promised. (Check my latest guide on the best additives that quiet a noisy engine)

This blog post will review five of our favorite new and old methods for quieting noisy lifters without spending tons of money or risking your safety with DIY solutions.

Also: Power Steering Pump Pulley Noise: Causes and Effective DIY Fixes

Contents show

What Are Lifters, And What Do They Do?

A car lifter, also known as a hydraulic valve lifter, is a cylinder attached to the hydraulic valve by a rocker arm.

The small cylinder, about the size of a finger, lifts the rocker arm until it meets the top of the hydraulic valve.

While there is a lot of movement involved where hydraulic lifters are concerned, they are designed to work quietly.

The lifters are fitted with small holes in the inside for easy lubrication and quiet operation.

This system works well until something goes wrong, causing an irritating tapping or ticking noise.

Fortunately, there are enough solutions for noisy lifters depending on the underlying problem.

Top 5 Ways To Quiet Noisy Lifters Before They Cause Engine Damage (1)

What Do Bad Lifters Sound Like?

Bad lifters produce a ticking or tapping noise.

The frequency of this noise will be depending on the problem’s severity.

Lifter ticks may be occasional, or they can last the entire time the car is running.

While you may think that tick isn’t loud enough to bother you, hearing it for even one hour can drive you crazy.

The noise is also more likely to distract you when driving and can be dangerous. (Source)

Therefore, it is a good idea to get it fixed as fast as possible.

(Video) How To Quiet Noisy Lifters (Andy’s Garage: Episode - 253)

Bad lifters are often associated with older cars that have covered quite some mileage. However, you can still experience it in newer cars, especially if you have not been consistent in service.

Can Noisy Lifters Cause Damage?

The short answer is yes. However, this depends on the severity of the problem.

If you only hear the lifter tick for a few minutes after turning on the engine, the lifter is likely functioning well.

The noise may simply indicate dirt in the engine that is affecting how the lifters work.

In older vehicles, lifters will produce noise because they are worn out.

The only solution, in this case, is to replace them for your car to continue running efficiently.

Noisy lifters may also indicate an oil problem.

Either the oil is too thick or thin, or dirt from the oil has accumulated around the lifters.

Extremely noisy lifters can be damaging to your ears.

If you have to endure hours of annoying ticking plus the traffic noise, your ears will suffer.

Can I Drive With Noisy Lifters?

Yes, you can drive with a noisy lifter.

As highlighted above, the noise could be caused by a minor problem in the lifters or oil.

However, it isn’t advisable to drive for too long with a noisy lifter, especially if you have not diagnosed the issue.

If the lifters are worn out, you can still drive safely, but you shouldn’t stay for too long before replacing them.

Damaged lifters may damage the camshaft, and this can only translate to added costs for you.

How Can I Make My Engine Lifter Quieter?

The first step towards resolving a noisy lifter problem or any other car-related issue for that matter is proper diagnosis. You may have to pay a mechanic to make the diagnosis, but the cost is always worth it and may save you more expensive repairs in the future.

However, before visiting the mechanic, below are some solutions you can try at home.

Also Read: How To Make Serpentine Belt Stop Squeaking

Change The Oil

If you don’t oil and grease your car regularly, you should consider changing your oil before taking any other action.

Going forward, you should add oil change to your car’s maintenance routine to ensure that all moving parts are well lubricated.

Failure to change the oil regularly leads to an accumulation of carbon deposits and sludge. This accumulation will eventually lead to a noisy lifter and engine inefficiency.

You also have to be careful when selecting oil for your car.

(Video) How to Clean, Fix and Quiet noisy Lifters and noisy Hydraulic Lash Adjusters

A thick oil rich in lubricating agents is ideal if you want to keep your engine in top condition.

If the oil you have been using is too thin or thick for your engine, it could be causing the lifter noise.

If you aren’t sure if the oil you are currently using is sufficient for your vehicle, ask your mechanic to recommend a good choice for your engine.

Before adding oil, make sure you drain the old one. There are enough videos on YouTube on how to complete this step.

Use Oil Additives To Clean The Lifter

Oil additives coat the engine parts enhancing the oil’s lubricating ability.

In addition, they also dislodge carbon deposits and debris accumulated in different parts of the engine.

If you only experience the tapping/ticking noise when starting the engine, oil additives may immediately rectify the problem.

Since oil additives don’t change your engine oil’s viscosity, you can use them without worrying about ruining it.

Make a point of using the oil additives every time you change your oil.

If the lifters are still noisy after changing the oil and using additives, there are more solutions to try.

However, you may want to leave these to the professionals unless you know your way around cars and engines.

These additional solutions include:

Lift The Lifters

The lifter may be squeaking because it isn’t aligned to the correct clearance.

A simple lift will resolve this problem.

However, you will need a feeler gauge to use on the valve stem and rocker arm.

You may also need a valve adjustment screw to rectify the clearance.

You need to know the correct factory setting for the lifter clearance.

Check the logbook for this information or do a search online based on your car engine and model.

Replace Bent Push Rods

Push rods open and close engine valves.

However, they may get bent if you decelerate and accelerate suddenly.

Just like lifters, bent push rods will produce a tapping noise. It is easy to confuse one of these noises for the other.

Once damaged, it is impossible to repair push rods. Fortunately, they aren’t as expensive to replace.

(Video) Clicking, Tapping Engine Noise? Try This Trick Before Replacing AFM Lifters! #shorts

Replace The Lifter

If your lifters are worn out, it is advisable to replace them.

Changing the oil or using additives may quiet worn-out lifters for some time, but the noise will eventually come back.

If you want to resolve the lifter noise once and for all, just get a new piece for your vehicle.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Noisy Lifter?

A lifter set will cost anywhere between $150 and $ 400.

If you choose to DIY, the only other cost you need to consider is the hydraulic valve lifter tool.

Since the filter removal and replacement process involves, you may need to set apart a few hours for the job.

If you involve a mechanic, the amount you pay will depend on the number of lifters replaced and the expertise, among other factors.

Some mechanics will charge up to $1000 for all engine lifters.

To reduce costs, you can choose to have your lifters changed during your annual maintenance, significantly if you don’t drive for long distances.

What Is The Best Product To Quiet Noisy Lifters?

One of the best products to quiet a noisy lifter is engine oil.

Top 5 Ways To Quiet Noisy Lifters Before They Cause Engine Damage (2)

If you have not changed your oil for a while, some fresh oil can make all the difference in lifter noise and overall engine performance.

Mobil, Castrol, Valvoline, and Shell have a huge selection of top-rated engine oils that will do your engine a lot of good.

One of my most recommended oil additive in this case is Archoil AR9100 Oil Additive (16oz) for All Vehicles.

Since they work to dislodge dirt in the engine, additives will effectively remove whatever buildup prevents the lifters and other parts of the engine from working correctly.

Will Synthetic Oil Quiet Noisy Lifters?

If you have been using conventional oil, it is customary to wonder if changing to the synthetic one will quiet your noisy lifters.

Yes, as highlighted above, synthetic oil can help quiet noisy lifters. However, this depends on what is causing the noise.

If you have not changed your engine oil for a while, a good synthetic oil may quickly resolve the noise issue.

You may need to drive a few miles to get the desired results.

However, if the lifters are broken or worn out, no oil will resolve the problem.

When switching to synthetic oil, it is always wise to listen to your mechanic’s advice or someone familiar with how the engine work.

The last thing you want is to switch to synthetic only to discover that the oil negatively affects your engine’s performance.

(Video) Collapsed Valve Lifter (Ticking) TOP SECRET Fix in a bottle for GMC Chev Cadillac - Gears And Tech

However, synthetic oils primarily work just like their conventional counterparts.

They don’t cause any significant change in the engine, and you will experience no problem with them.

Final Thoughts on How to Quiet Noisy Lifters

The above solutions will come in handy when you want to quiet noisy lifters.

Whatever is causing the noise, you can rest easy knowing that the problem is solvable.

Just like with other engine parts, noisy lifters need to be fixed to prevent further damage.

That click you ignore may grow into something that will cost you thousands of dollars to fix.

However, unless yours is an old car, an oil change and additives will quiet a noisy lifter.

If the problem persists after these solutions, your mechanic will quickly diagnose and rectify the problem.

Top 5 Ways To Quiet Noisy Lifters Before They Cause Engine Damage (3)

Mike O'Connor

Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.

As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.

Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.

Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.

Related posts:

  1. How to Reduce Wind Noise In Your Vehicle: 9 EASY Steps
  2. How Long Will A Wheel Bearing Last After It Starts Making Noise?
  3. Lizard Skin Vs Dynamat: Which One is BETTER?


Is there an additive to quiet noisy lifters? ›

Liqui Moly's Hydraulic Lifter Additive damps the noise produced by worn hydraulic lifters.

Will thicker oil stop lifter noise? ›

Adding more oil will make the noise go away, but it won't solve the underlying cause of the noisy engine – the oil leak.

How can I make my engine lifter quieter? ›

How Can You Quiet Your Car Engine? Once you verify the lifter ticking is not caused by a worn-out lifter or some other damaged part, the best thing to do is change the oil. Get rid of all the oil currently in the engine and flush it out before adding new oil.

Can lifter tick damage your engine? ›

If your engine has a lifter tick, or tap, you need to have it fixed as soon as you can, because it can cause serious and expensive problems with your engine.

Can cheap oil cause a lifter tick? ›

It absolutely CAN, DEPENDING. Depending on what is causing the engine to be “noisy”, and what type of oil is used.

Is thinner or thicker oil better for lifter tick? ›

Heavy oil will resist collapsing more than thin oil, but heavy oil might also not pass through the teeny tiny oil passage holes leading to the lifters collapsing in the first place. Thin oil might get into the lifter easier, but it might not be strong enough to not collapse after it's in there.

Can synthetic oil cause lifter noise? ›

Does synthetic oil cause engine noise?" No. It simply makes the engine noise more apparent. When you use the conventional oil, it will tend to stick to your pistons more completely.

How do you quiet a knocking engine? ›

Engine knocking often occurs when the air-fuel mixture is incorrect. To counter this, you can add an octane booster in the mix. This can help ensure proper octane rating, which can then stop the knocking. The recommended minimum octane level in the US is 87.

Why do my lifters tick when cold? ›

In the mornings or when the engine is cold, the oil has had the chance, due to gravity to drain out of these back down into the oil pan. When you start the engine when it is cold, this can produce a ticking sound as you describe. This happens as the lifters are moving without oil initially.

How long do lifters last? ›

Lifters like good oil change schedules and can last over 100,000 miles.

Does sea foam actually work? ›

It works through fuel injectors and carburetors to remove harmful residues and deposits from fuel passageways, intake valves, pistons, and chamber areas. Made from petroleum ingredients, Sea Foam is safe and effective when used in all types of gasoline or diesel fuels and fuel blends.

Can you put sea foam in your oil? ›

Sea Foam is safe for all motor oils, conventional and synthetic. Made from petroleum ingredients, Sea Foam does NOT contain harsh detergent or abrasive chemicals that can harm your engine or fuel system components. It's easy to use – just pour it in! Add Sea Foam to your oil crankcase - super easy!

Does Marvel Mystery Oil damage engine? ›

Marvel Mystery Oil is completely safe in today's high-tech cars and provide the same benefits as it has since 1923-cleaner engines, upper cylinder lubrication, reduced acid and sludge build up, improved fuel economy, clean and lubricated fuel systems and many more!

How long can I run Marvel Mystery Oil in my engine? ›

Marvel Mystery Oil can be added to engine oil 300 to 500 miles before your next oil change to supplement sludge removal and enhance engine cleaning.

What does Marvel Mystery Oil do to your engine? ›

Description. Marvel Mystery Lubricating Oil is safe for catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. Added to gas it cleans and lubricates fuel injectors and carburetors, improves gasoline mileage, extends spark plug life, reduces and prevents varnish and gum build-up.

What happens if you ignore lifter tick? ›

A bad lifter will only cause a tapping or ticking sound at the initial stage. However, if you ignore it and continue driving, it may cause the pushrods to break and fall out of their sitting position. Once this happens, it may break the valves and rocker arms and stop that cylinder from functioning.

Can bad spark plugs cause ticking sound? ›

bad spark plugs or wires

spark plugs seal off each cylinder, so if one cracks or gets loose, you'll hear a ticking noise. this is a common problem after diy tune-ups.

Does Lucas help with lifter tick? ›

As a stopgap treatment for ticking lifters, Lucas really is "a miracle in a can." Well, in a bottle. Lucas is the best, hands down.

Is it OK to use 10W40 instead of 5w30? ›

What happens if you use the wrong engine oil? By mistake, we put 10W40 instead of 5W30. Nothing catastrophic, the engine won't explode the moment you turn the key. HOWEVER, with the oil being too thick the engine won't have adequate protection and it'll wear out faster (especially the bearings).

What happens if I use 10w30 instead of 5w30? ›

If you use 10w30 oil in a car that's designed for 5w30, the oil may not flow as easily at lower temperatures. That can lead to increased wear on the engine, since the oil won't be able to lubricate as well. In extreme cases, it could even cause engine damage.

Will thicker oil stop engine knocking? ›

So, the first job in slowing down the deterioration is to thicken your oil viscosity and boost the oil pressure inside the engine. You'll know if it is working because it should quiet the knocking. Auto parts stores are full of products that thicken oil.

Does low oil pressure cause lifter noise? ›

Not likely, hydraulic lifters will pump up with minimal pressure. Most likely cause is not enough preload on the lifter caused by wear or over revving the engine.

Which of the chemical is used to avoid knocking in a car engine? ›

An antiknock agent is a gasoline additive used to reduce engine knocking and increase the fuel's octane rating by raising the temperature and pressure at which auto-ignition occurs.

Can adding oil fix rod knock? ›

If your oil pressure is low or you have a low oil level, you'll likely hear a splattering, tickling, or ticking noise from the engine. If this noise is from the valves, or lifters, adding or doing an oil change will stop the noise. But unfortunately, if the noise is rod knock, an oil change will not stop it.

How do you prevent lifters from failing? ›

The best and most simple way to prevent AFM lifter failure is to check your oil regularly; ensure that it is full enough, and conduct an oil change if it's not. Most issues with your lifters can be prevented by simply keeping on top of oil changes.

Why is my engine ticking while idling? ›

The engine's cylinder head uses a series of lifters in order to open and close the valves. These lifters can get worn out over time, which inevitably causes a metal-on-metal ticking noise at idle and upon acceleration.

What do worn lifters sound like? ›

Instead of a knock or ping, a faulty hydraulic lifter will usually make a sound more reminiscent of a tapping sound. The tapping will be quick in rhythm and may occur when the vehicle is cold or hot, depending on what the problem with the hydraulic lifter is.

What makes a lifter go bad? ›

Over time, the lifter mechanism will wear out (especially with dirty oil or not enough of it), leading to a lifter tick or tapping sound. If you ignore this sound or other signs of a bad lifter, the problem can worsen and cause severe damage to your vehicle.

Is it worth it to replace lifters? ›

Having an engine with one or more faulty lifters is a costly problem that can lead to additional concerns if left unchecked. You'll want to fix the engine as soon as you notice any of the telltale signs of a bad lifter.

How much does it cost to have a lifter replace? ›

Usually, an engine's lifter is simply replaced if there is an issue. The cost of a lifter replacement including parts and labor can often be steep, ranging in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. However, this price will vary depending on your car's make, model, and year and the rates of the shop you use.

What quiets the noise of the engine? ›

The presence of zinc in an additive will not only help keep the engine quiet but will also improve its performance. Phosphorous ingredient, especially if you want to reduce the wear and tear of your car engine. Most engine additives have phosphorous in them.

What does lifter additive do? ›

Prevents and reduces hydraulic lifter noise. Cleans oil passages to remove oil flow restrictions. Restores proper hydraulic lifter function and reduces wear.

What can I put in my engine to stop knocking? ›

Increasing the fuel's octane level:

Engine knocking often occurs when the air-fuel mixture is incorrect. To counter this, you can add an octane booster in the mix. This can help ensure proper octane rating, which can then stop the knocking. The recommended minimum octane level in the US is 87.

How do I temporarily quiet my car? ›

Wrapping bandages around the exhaust will hold it together temporarily, at least until you get to a garage. Using these materials will make no difference to your car's performance, and will help to quiet down a loud car exhaust, particularly if a new crack has developed.

How can I silence my car? ›

How To Reduce Road Noise In Your Car
  1. #1 Undercoating Your Car.
  2. #2 Getting The Right Tyre.
  3. #3 Add Vibration Dampeners In Your Car Flooring.
  4. #4 Soundproof Your Car Doors.
  5. #5 Have a big trunk? Soundproof that as well.
  6. #6 Soundproof The Wheel Arches.
  7. #7 Line your cup holders.
  8. #8 Muffle The Car Exhaust.

Can oil additives hurt my engine? ›

Are oil additives bad for your engine? Not really, no. People think that they need an oil additive to “improve the lubrication” for their oil. But they don't really need that because today's high-performing oils do that job plenty well.


1. Engine Ticking Noise Lifter Tick Hydraulic Lifters FIX ALL CARS With This....NEVER SEEN ON YOUTUBE
(BMW Doctor)
2. How to Fix Lifter Tick or Rod Knocks With Oil Additives
(Ratchets And Wrenches)
3. Humble Mechanic - LIQUI MOLY - Valve Train Noise
(Apple Drains)
5. Do Engine Oil Additives Really Fix Rod Knocks, Lifter Noise, Oil Burning or Leaks
(Ratchets And Wrenches)
6. Can Marvel Mystery Oil Stop ticking lifters or engine Knock?
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