You start the car you’ve been using for the past 5 years, but suddenly…
The engine makes a weird noise for a few moments, then disappears.
In this situation, your first instinct is probably to ignore the car engine noise and move on, but this noise will be a BIG PROBLEM moving forward if ignored.
If you’ve been a victim of this, you should know that the noise is coming from your car’s lifters.
Having noisy lifters is one of the worst things your car can go though, and having noisy lifters can cause damage to your car AND wallet.
Luckily, this article will teach you ways to quiet a noisy lifter and save your car from further damage.
How to Quiet a Noisy Lifter: What You Need
Before learning how to quiet noisy lifters, you’ll need 3 items:
1. Oil Additive
An oil additive is a lubricant that takes out any dirt or debris from carbon deposits that accumulates within the car engine.
2. Feeler Gauge
The feeler gauge accurately measures the width of a gap to help in adjusting lifters.
3. Hydraulic Valve Lifter Tool
A hydraulic valve lifter tool helps in taking the lifter out without detaching the entire engine.
Having all these will help you with quieting your vehicle problems. All 3 items will play important parts in this article.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1. Change the Oil
Step one to quiet noisy lifters is to check the engine oil pressure.
The function of oil is to lessen the friction of motor parts through lubrication. This is essentially what will make the engine in your car go.
If the oil pressure of your engine is higher or lower than what it’s supposed to be, the lifter will make a lot of noise.
- When your pressure is too high, the rods in your engine will drown.
- If you have low oil pressure in your engine, there will be a lack of lubrication in the engine. Engine parts will hit each other because of this and your oil pump will only be able to suck air.
In either situation, you’ll need engine lifter repair as noise will be apparent. So always make sure the pressure is at the right amount, and make sure there isn’t any leaking oil.
Additionally, any extra oil will also cause your lifter to jam. This clogged oil will cause your lifter to build up debris from carbon deposits that will create more noise in your engine.
If you see that your engine oil needs to change, the next step is to replace the oil currently in your engine.
- To start, you will have to drain the old oil in your engine. Using a drain pan, seize the old oil that’s dripping from your engine.
- Once drained, use liquid moly, synthetic oil, or any other engine flushing agent to help clean out the remaining old oil. An engine flush helps in dissolving dirt and sludge in any engine.
- Wait for about 10-15 minutes for the engine flush to work. Make sure your engine is idle at this time so the engine flush can work properly.
- After that, replace the old oil with new oil. The new one should be at the right amount depending on the needs of your car and engine.
Your problem with the amount of oil in your engine should disappear after following these steps.
This is a simple solution to insulate noises coming from under your hood.
2. Use Oil Additives
If the pressure in your engine isn’t causing the problem with your lifter noise, then you should try using oil additives for your engine.
The best oil additives can add extra coating around different parts of the engine.
Having additives on your faulty lifter will lessen friction among the different parts of your engine.
The dirt and gunk in your engine, which causes your lifters to make noise, will disappear because of the additives.
So, lifters with oil additives will be able to take out the lifter noise in their engine.
Adding oil additives to your noisy lifters is also the most budget-friendly way to lessen the noise of your lifters.
You also don’t have to drain out the oil you currently have in your engine when using additives.
The best oil additives are also compatible with any type of motor oil. This means lifters with oil additives are able to work well with any existing oil in your engine.
So different types like synthetic oil or any other product will not need an oil change when mixed with additives.
No negative effect will follow after adding the oil additive to your lifter.
Because of its compatibility, using additives only requires one step:
- Fill your oil tank and car lifters with additives and then drive for a few minutes.
The additives will eventually mix with the old oil in your lifters, thus stopping the ticking noise in your engine.
All in all, using oil additives on your faulty lifter is a great investment if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to lessen engine lifter noise.
3. Use Feeler Gauge to Adjust Lifter Valves
If after doing the first 2 steps, check if your lifters are still noisy. If your lifters are still noisy, you’ll have to check a part of your engine that is not the lifters.
The problem that is making so much noise may be coming from the valve lash in the valve train.
A valve lash is located in a small space between the valve lifters and rocker arms.
To fix the noise problem in this situation, you’ll first have to use your feeler gauge.
- Use the gauge to measure if the space between the valve and rocker arms is the right size. The manual of your engine will be able to tell you the optimal size of your valve lifters.
- If the valve lash is too wide or narrow, you’ll have to turn the valve adjustment screw found on top of the rocker arm.
- Turn the screws clockwise using a flathead screwdriver if your valve lash is too narrow. On the other hand, turn the screws counterclockwise if your lash is too wide.
If the problem in your car still persists after this, try the next step.
4. Change the Push Rods
The push rod, also known as rocket arm, connects to the lifters.
With the help of the rocker arm, push rods open and close the intake and exhaust valve.
Broken push rods can cause lifter tick. A lifter tick is what happens when your push rod doesn’t make continuous contact with hydraulic lifters. Lifter tick causes damage to the push rod and everything around it.
And damage from the push rod may be the cause of the ticking noise of your vehicle. Changing it may be something that your engine needs to lessen noise in your vehicle.
To change the push rods in your car, you first have to check which push rods needs replacing.
- Take off all of the push rods in your lifters and then put them on a flat surface.
- Then, check which push rods are bent or broken. The bent or broken push rods are what cause the noisy lifter and lifter tick sound.
- The next step is to either straighten or replace the broken push rods.
- Finally, place the push rods back in your vehicle and check if the ticking noise is still there.
Once the push rod part is back on your car, the noisy lifter shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
5. Buy New Lifters
Did you try every step already, but you still have a noisy lifter?
There’s one last solution to make your noisy engine quiet and fix your lifter problem:
You can buy new hydraulic lifters for your car.
This is a simple, but expensive way to quiet noisy lifters, especially if you don’t know where the noise and damage in your car is coming from.
But, you can’t just buy new lifters and expect that everything will work out. You still have to be careful about your choices to lessen the noise in your engine.
- Step one of buying new lifters is choosing the right lifter. Choose the lifter that best fits your car. Be sure to read the manual thoroughly to know the right engine specifications.
- The second and final step is to replace the old lifters with the new lifters. For this step, you have 2 choices. You can either hire a mechanic to replace your lifters for you, or you can use your own tools.
It’s up to you, but remember that hiring a mechanic to replace your lifter is more expensive than replacing it on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Lifters?
Valve lifters are parts of your engine that push the push rods into the rocket arms and then opens the valves.
A lifter is only the size of a finger, but a car can’t function properly without it.
What Causes a Noisy Lifter?
There are 4 main causes of a noisy lifter:
- Poor Maintenance
- Oil Pressure Level
- Valve Lash Adjustments
The wear and tear of a car over the years play a big part in this.
As the mileage of a vehicle increases, its engine parts naturally depreciate.
2. Poor Maintenance
The ticking of a lifter because of poor maintenance can come from several reasons:
- Oil and parts problems were ignored
- Wear and tear/maintenance was ignored
- Accumulation of dirt in lifter/valve train
You can watch this video to see what poorly maintained lifters sound like:
3. Oil Pressure Level Is Too High or Too Low
- Low pressure level will yield a lack of lubrication and lack of flowing parts.
- High pressure level will yield to clogging of the passage of push rods
4. Valve Lash Adjustments
Parts of the car will be negatively affected if the valves are not properly adjusted.
What Are the Types of Lifters?
Before handling and trying to quiet noisy lifters, it’s good to know the different types of lifters you might encounter.
There are 3 types:
1. Solid Lifter
The solid lifter has a metal cylinder shape.
Race cars usually use these lifters because of the high tolerance and spring rate it has. However, it’s hard to maintain because its noise level is higher compared to other lifters.
2. Hydraulic Valve Lifters
Hydraulic lifters are the most commonly used lifters. Also, these hydraulic valve lifters are self-adjusting. What self-adjusting means is that you will not need to adjust push rods manually.
A hydraulic lifter requires less maintenance and is quieter compared to the solid and roller.
They are, however, easily over-pressurized.
3. Mechanical Roller Lifters
A roller lifter has rollers on its end.
These rollers reduce valve train friction, thus increasing power. The rollers also allow the lifter to have a higher rate compared to other lifters.
The only downside to this lifter is that it is more expensive than other lifters.
Can Noisy Lifters Cause Damage?
Yes, noisy lifters cause damage. But, the damage depends on the type and length of the noise.
- Clicking and ticking noise
- Tapping noise
- Short time after turning on the engine
- Whole time you use your vehicle
If you hear something like a tapping noise, but only for a short time when you turn on the engine, it’s okay.
This is very common and it means dirt and mud are present in your engine.
You don’t have to solve this right away, but the earlier you do, the better. Also, if not done right away, noisy lifters cause damage in the long run.
If you hear something like clicking and ticking for long periods of time, you should have your vehicle checked RIGHT AWAY.
The combination of the clicking and tacking and the long length of time is a sign of a big issue.
In this situation, not fixing your lifter right away will be more expensive and dangerous. The longer you delay addressing the issue, the riskier it gets.
Now that you finished the article, we hope you understand how to quiet a noisy lifter effectively!
Remember that it’s always safer for you to have your car maintained periodically. Don’t let laziness stop you from fixing your faulty lifter right away and maintain your car engine performance!
July 8, 2021 – removed 2 external links, embedded 1 YouTube video
June 22, 2021 – removed 1 internal link
June 8, 2021 – added changelog, removed 1 internal link, added 1 new internal link, fixed and updated article formatting and content, optimized content