How to Quiet Noisy Lifters: Fix Lifters Ticking, Tapping Noise and Prevent Damage

Looking for how to quiet noisy lifters in your automobile?. Great, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you can expect to learn the following:

  • What hydraulic lifters are
  • How lifters work
  • Are noisy lifters dangerous?
  • What causes lifter noise
  • How to quiet noise lifters
  • And more…

Noisy lifters are annoying and might also cause severe damage to your engine if not properly fixed. The weird ticking and tapping noise can be frustrating to any driver or commuter.

But what really is a lifter in case you are not familiar with it.

how to quiet noisy lifters

What are Lifters?

A hydraulic valve lifter which is also known as a lifter is a tiny cylinder that is well attached to one end of a pushrod also known as a rocket arm.

The main purpose of a hydraulic valve lifter is to keep your engine quieter and at the same time to improve its performance of it and ensure the long and healthy life of your car engine.

Now that you understand that their job is to make the engine quiet, you may be wondering, why do they sometimes make unwanted sounds that can be annoying and frustrating?.

Well, there are possible causes of noisy lifters that could result in unnecessary noise. A broken rocker arm noise is one of the most common problems that lifters face and this shouldn’t be ignored.

Today, we will look at how to fix your noisy lifters.

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Are Noisy Lifters Dangerous?

It is important to keep your ears open while you drive in order to hear any noise that might be coming from your car especially the tapping or ticking noise that might come from your car lifters.

The clicking and ticking or tapping, and can last from just a few moments to the whole time the engine is working.

The type of engine lifter noise and its duration are the most important things when it comes to deciding on how bad and harmful a noisy lifter can be, and if it is, in the first place.

First of all, to ensure that the tapping or ticking noise is not coming from loose sheet metal parts rattling around the engine, clean the vehicle of any metals parts that might be causing vibration.

If after the cleaning, you still hear ticking sounds from the car, the high chances are that you’ve got faulty lifters or rods.

Basically, if you let the noise persist, your vehicle performance will suffer. This will result and more expenses than if you were to fix it right away.

It is always best to let a mechanic look into the source of the noise and fix it than to leave it and spend a lot of money down the line on maintenance.

Causes of Lifter Noise

There several reasons why your lifter could be ticking or tapping as this is not a rare problem but a very common problem drivers face nowadays.

It occurs commonly in older cars and cars that have a really large mileage. It is also common in cars that are not serviced properly or regularly. This indirectly gives the solution to the problem if you are the type who doesn’t service the car regularly.

The ticking or tapping sounds that are produced can vary. It can last from just a few seconds to the whole time the engine is running.

Just remember the tapping of water from a leaky faucet. It is not much when you look at it, but when you have to listen to it; it is even more than annoying.

Now, not only are the tapping and ticking sounds of a faulty lifter are just annoying, but they can also cause or be a symptom of more serious problems in your car.

Here are the main causes of Lifter Noise:

  • Worn out Lifters: Older cars are culprits. If you have an older car you have been driving for a long time, it is more likely this is the problem. If that’s the cause, you need to replace the lifter or lifters. It always best to replace them all since the other one too will soon develop the same problem.
  • Using oil that is too thick or too thin for your engine filters: Viscosity is the measure of how thick or thin your oil is. If you changed your oil then notice the lifter ticking, there is a high chance its viscosity is the problem. IT could also be there is dirt or sludge from the oil that may form in and around the lifters or along the valve train. This can make it difficult for the lifters to function properly.

If you notice any of the above, you need to investigate properly and fix your noisy lifters before your engine gets seriously damaged.

This now brings me to how to quiet noisy lifters.

How to Quiet Noisy Lifters Before They Cause Damage

1). Change the Oil

Vehicles can not do without oil. Oil is one of their bloodlines. Therefore, if you notice that oil is the problem, you will need to fix it.

Keeping changing your oil frequently and only use high-quality suitable oil for your car. The oil provides the lubrication the car needs for the valves in the engine to function properly. So if you want your car engine to last long, then you need to change the oil regularly.

Improper lubrication will cause friction between parts which can cause damage to the parts.  This is one of the main reasons for the lifter tick sound that you would hear in the engine.

If you don’t fix the problem, the oil filters in the internal combustion engine will accumulate all the dirt and sludge in the filters which will cause more damage to the car in the long run. That’s why is necessary to fix lifter ticking or tapping noise.

This is for those who know what they are doing, if you don’t place take your car to the mechanic to change the oil for you safely.

  • To change the oil, first, you need to drain out the old oil. To do this, unscrew the cap under the car and hold the leaking oil in a bucket or bow.
  • Afterward, you need to flush out all the leftover or clogged oil in the engine by inserting an engine flushing agent such as Liqui Moly 2037 Engine Flush.
  • Lastly, replace the drained oil with the right oil per your engine specifications.

2). Clean the Lifters with Oil Additives

Another way to fix a noisy lifter is to clean the lifters with oil additives. Besides fixing noisy lifters, oil additives can also be used to clean rockers and valves in the car to get rid of the accumulation of dirt and sludge inside the engine.

If you are concerned that these oil additives will get mixed up with the engine oil, then be rest assured that they don’t mix together.

Oil additive any substance that you can add to your engine that is not oil. There are many types of oil additives that also include thinning agents, thickening agents, or even flushing agents that are part of oil additives.

But in this situation, to fix a noisy lifter, you will need an oil stabilizer to do it.

Oil stabilizers usually help in breaking down debris without you necessarily draining your oil completely from the engine. Simply, pour the oil stabilizer into the engine and drive for a few miles for the oil additives to circulate well to stop the lifter’s noise.

3). Adjust the Lifters

If you have already tried changing your car’s oil to the right one and it has not made the lifters quiet, and if you have cleaned them with oil additives properly and they are still squeaky, there has to be something else that you can try.

The next thing you will have to do is adjust the engine’s lifters.

To accomplish this, you will need a feeler gauge that will help you adjust the rocker arm of the engine and a valve stem.

Before you commence any adjustment on the valve, you first need to do a cross-check on the manual for the correct factory settings that you will adjust the lifters to. Otherwise, you may make them even noisier.

4). Replace the Bend or Damaged PushRods

The pushrod is responsible for the closing and opening of all the valves in the engine. A bend or damaged pushrod can also be the cause of lifter noise.

If the pushrods in the engine are bend or damaged then as they open and close, they collide with the interior of the engine making the lifter noise.

Cross-check to make sure these pushrods are not compromised in any way. If they are, then you will need to replace them with new ones.

Please seek professional help on this one if you don’t know what you are doing. Because replacing pushrods can be a complicated task. They can take as long as 6 hours even for a professional mechanic.

5). Replace the Old Lifters with New Lifters

If all the above-recommended solutions still do not fix your noisy lifters, then it is time to replace your old lifters with new ones. The price of the lifters will depend on the engine that your car is using.

They cost around $20, but they come in packs which can bring the total price up to a couple of hundred dollars, plus other charges too.

Final Thoughts on How to Fix Noisy Lifters

Noisy lifters can be annoying but with the above-mentioned solutions, you will be able to quiet noisy lifters by employing one or more of the above solutions.

Persistent lifter noise can cause a lot of damage to your engine that will require total replacement. Therefore, it is good to always service your car regularly to avoid unforeseen expenses.

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