Lifter Tick Noise: Causes and How to Fix Noisy Valve Lifters

One of the biggest signs of a faulty lifter is lifter tick noise, tapping or clicking noise from your car’s engine.

Lifter tick noise can either be occasional or continuous, and the type of noise and, of course, the duration will determine the severity of the problem.

Some people tend to ignore the problem- and that won’t stop the car engine from running.

However, I would advise you to never ignore any sort of noise coming from the engine as it could have unrepairable damages in the long run.

How to Fix Noisy Valve Lifters

Fixing lifter noise is one of the many different car soundproofing methods. Other methods include investing in a quiet performance muffler or installing sound deadening car mats to make your car quieter inside.

Sometimes lifter tick noise can easily be repaired by simple oil change or regular engine maintenance.

Below are some of the most basic DIY hacks on how to fix noisy valve lifters.

1. Change Oil

Valve lifters are small cylinders found inside the engine. They consist of pushrods, rocker arms, and tiny holes.

When the engine is running, the lifters are subjected to a lot of friction, resulting in a loud noise.

If you do not regularly grease and oil your vehicle, carbon deposits and sludge may cause that ticking sound from the filters.

Lifter Tick Noise: Causes and How to Fix Noisy Valve Lifters

An oil change in most cases could be all you need to get rid of that annoying noise.

However, do your due diligence and ensure there is no other problem than low engine oil.

The engine oil needs to be thick and filled with lubricating agents.

Your mechanic should guide you on the best engine oil for your car so remember to ask for recommendations the next time you get your vehicle professionally serviced.

In the future, ensure that the engine is well oiled at all times.

Choose a thick, high-quality product that will offer your engine the lubrication it needs.

2. Clean the Lifters

If there are carbon deposits and debris lodged on the lifters, they will start to produce some noise.

Cleaning them will resolve the problem and ensure they function efficiently.

Lifters are cleaned using oil additives.

These additives are thick enough to coat different engine parts, eliminating friction and that annoying noise that accompanies it.

The cleaning depends on the amount of debris and deposits clogging the Lifters.

You can choose to soak the lifters in an oil bath or just pour in the oil plus additives and clean as much of it as possible.

Clean lifters should also be part of your regular maintenance.

When you take the car for servicing, remember to check whether the lifters were cleaned adequately.

Additives are often compatible with most motor oils, so there is no problem in using them together.

There is no way the oil additives will alter the oil’s consistency, so you have nothing to worry about.

They work to dislodge accumulated debris and lubricate the engine makes them ideal for anyone who cares about their vehicle.

Here is my guide on the best oil additives for noisy lifters.

To narrow your search, check what different users have to say about the products that come at the top of your search.

3. Adjust the lifters

If the above solutions help, you should consider slightly adjusting the lifters.

However, care should be taken to ensure that mistakes do not arise.

Sometimes it is better to have a mechanic check and adjust the lifters for you.

Read the manual thoroughly if you plan to DIY and ensure you have a feeler gauge to help you measure the gap widths accurately.

There is a good collection of videos on how to adjust lifters.

You can use these for inspiration and when deciding what tools to get.

Lifter Tick Noise: Causes and How to Fix Noisy Valve Lifters

4. Replace any bent Pushrods

Pushrods may bend, especially after a sudden acceleration and deceleration.

As they open and close the engine valve, these bent pushrods may produce a tapping noise.

Once bent, the pushrods cannot be rectified.

The only solution is to replace them, and a professional is better equipped to fit in new ones.

Fortunately, pushrods are inexpensive.

They cost anywhere between $15 and $30, depending on the type and brand.

Do a search online and see what options are available to match your car engine.

5. Replace worn-out lifters

Instead of adjusting old filters, why not replace them all with a new set.

If you have never changed your lifters, you should consider getting new ones if you have had your vehicle for a while.

A whose lifters set will set you back $150-400 in most car shops.

You can choose to install them yourself or have a mechanic install them at a slightly higher price.

A mechanic will know how to install the lifters and possibly diagnose any other problem causing the noise.

Just ensure that you explain the noise problem and how long you have had it.

If you choose the DIY way, purchase a hydraulic valve lifter tool to help you remove and install the lifters without removing the engine.

Lifter Tick Noise Long Term Effects

The severity depends on several factors, including how long the noise is produced and the type of noise.

If you notice a tapping noise a few seconds after you turn the engine, this shouldn’t be a major problem.

A tapping noise often indicates an accumulation of carbon deposits and debris.

It may also be a sign that some part of the lifter is damaged due to normal wear and tear.

If the lifter is not too far gone, changing the filters or cleaning them using oil additives is all it takes to eliminate the noise.

However, you should consider getting a new set if you notice that the tapping noise returns after some time.

Please remember that lifters, just like other parts of the engine, require regular maintenance to keep them performing optimally.

Use the right oils to lubricate the lifters among other parts, and incorporate some additives whenever necessary.

If the noise lasts the entire duration the engine is running, it may indicate a bigger problem. Have the noise checked ASAP to safeguard the engine against irreparable damages.

When lifters malfunction, they are unable to maintain good oil pressure and remain in a collapsed state.

This results in an increase in friction hence the loud noise coming from the engine.

Noisy valve filters can be distracting and make it hard to hear the horn, among other noises when you are driving.

You should get the problem rectified immediately if you can barely hear anything over the lifter’s noise.

The chances are that if the noise is unbearable, continuing driving your car in that condition will only result in more damage and unavoidable repair costs.

On How to Fix Noisy Valve Lifters

While lifter tick noise is something that most people tend to ignore, it’s important to never ignore it as it can result in engine damage in the long run.

Above are some of the best DIY methods on how to fix noisy valve lifters.

If these hacks don’t work for you, I’d recommend visiting a professional mechanic for proper engine diagnostics.


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