How to Quiet a Noisy Lifter: Can Noisy Lifters Cause Damage?

how to quiet a noisy lifter

If you are into cars, you are very well familiar with what a lifter is. In case you are not, let me explain a little.

Hydraulic valve lifter or simply called a lifter is somewhat like a tiny cylinder that is well attached on one end of a pushrod or also known as the rocket arm.

This is where it meets the valve.

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

The fact is that they are made to keep the engine quiet and to be quiet themselves.

But if you’re reading this post, you’re probably wondering how to quiet a noisy engine and you’re maybe even wondering what causes noisy tappets.

Sometimes lifters can go faulty too and start making unnecessary noise, that is surely not something that should happen.

Broken rocker arm noise is one of the most common problems of lifters, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

No matter the problem you’re having with your lifter – you’re in the right place.

can noisy lifters cause damage

What Causes Lifter Tick?

Sadly, this is not a rare problem. It can occur rather often in older cars and in those cars that have a really large mileage.

And not to mention the cases when the car itself is not serviced regularly.

The lifter tick that they are producing can vary. It can last from just a few moments to the full time of a motor running.

The noise that a faulty lifter can produce is usually just simple ticking or tapping, but when it happens constantly, it can be really annoying.


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 on your car.

If you do not take care of it in time, your engine might get seriously damaged, and you will end up diagnosing some of the most common bad lifters symptoms.

For this reason, I have listed four simple and common things that might cause a noisy lifter and I have also given you some solutions on how to fix noisy lifters.

But let’s first give a quick look at the damage it can cause and how harmful it can be.

Can Noisy Lifters Cause Damage?

Now, I have stated that there are several types of noise that a faulty lifter can produce.

It can be clicking and ticking or tapping, and it 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.

The most common thing that can happen with lifters is that they produce some simple tapping noises for the first few seconds after turning the engine on.

In most of the cases, this wouldn’t make any serious problems, but it can indicate that there are some dirt and mud accumulating somewhere in the engine and it might be starting to interfere with the proper functioning of your car’s lifters.

How to Make Your Car Exhaust Quieter

When this problem occurs, you can just simply clean it with some oil additives and the problem should be solved quite easily.

There will be more words about this further in the texts.

However, if the tapping and ticking noises continue for a longer time that might be a symptom of a more serious problem that should be solved very quickly to avoid further problems.

If the problem with the noise persists and is not solved as quickly as possible, the cause of the engine lifter noise - whichever it is - can prevent other parts of your engine of working properly.

It can even cause very serious problems and damages to your car in the long run.

The damage can be from fixing some components of your motor that are alone far more expensive than just fixing the lifters, to the total collapse of engine’s functioning.

Read on to learn how to quiet noisy lifters,

You might also like: How to Fix a Squeaky Alternator Bearing

How to Quiet a Noisy Lifter

What You'll Be Needing:

Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush - 500 Milliliters
Using oil additives such as this can help get rid of accumulated dirt in your engine which helps to quiet a noisy lifter
Lucas 10001 Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer - 32 oz.
Using oil additives such as this can help get rid of accumulated dirt in your engine which helps to quiet a noisy lifter
Feeler gauge
Used in adjusting the lifter after changing your car's oil and cleaning it with oil additives

1. Changing the Oil

As every mechanical part and engine, your car’s motor asks for the right way of care and lubrication.

If you are using oil that is not suitable for your car, if it is, perhaps, more or less heavy than your car needs, it will not lubricate as it should, and it can cause some problems.

This improper lubrication can cause metal parts that come in contact with one another to produce the lifter tick sounds that are the problem here.

If this tapping and rubbing continue for too long, the oil filters in the engine can accumulate too much dirt and sludge in them, which can cause the prevention of further lubrication of engine parts.

Oil is supposed to be changed on a regular basis, but it’s very common to fix quiet ticking noise in engine, in most cases.

In order to stop this problem and prevent your engine from running itself, you will have to give it proper lubrication, which can be done with the right type of oil.

You will have to find the right gradation of oil for your car’s engine and change it accordingly.

Now, there is a constant question that is flickering and that is how to choose the right oil for your engine.

If you are wondering the same, here is a good video that might help you solve this dilemma.

2. Cleaning Your Car’s Lifters with Oil Additives

As I mentioned before, there is a way to stop that simple tapping in your car engine that occurs when you first start the motor.

This can be solved by cleaning the lifters with oil additives, but not only lifters.

You can also use oil additives to clean rockers and valves from all the dirt and sludge that has accumulated inside of an engine.

These oil additives do not change the viscosity of the oil that is used in your engine, so you will not have to worry about ruining the oil now that you have finally found the perfect one for your car.

I would really honestly suggest doing this every now and then because it can change a lot in your car, and it can save a lot of money in the long run.

Getting rid of all the accumulated dirt in your engine is the most affordable option when it comes to solving the noisy lifters.

And not only that it can save your ears from constant tapping, but it can save your motor in the future.

Again, here is a simple video guide for cleaning your engine’s lifters with oil additives.

The products that were used, Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush and Lucas 10001 Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer, are available at very reasonable prices, and they can o a lot to help you and your motor, so I warmly recommend trying them out.

3. Adjusting Your 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.

What will have to be one here is adjusting the engine’s lifters.

In order to do this, you will need a few things.  

The first thing that you should be reaching for is a feeler gauge that you will be using to a rocker arm of your engine and a valve stem.

Now, you will have to adjust the valve adjustment screw to the correct clearance, but before doing so remember to check the manual.

It will be of high importance to find the correct factory settings to adjust to in order not to make the lifters even faultier.

Also, there is a good video guide that can teach you a little about adjusting the lifters:

4. Replacing a Bent Push Rod

Now, this is a final solution that I have for you.

If there is luck, you won’t even be reading this far and would have already solved your problem in the first two steps. But in any case, let’s go through this one too.

Push rods of an engine work by opening and closing all of the valves in your engine.

Fixing a bent push rod will probably stop lifter tick, in most cases – depending on the problem.

In cases you like to go heavy on the accelerator and if you like to dry fast, it can just happen so that you can bend the push rods and so they can start producing that hideous ticking and tapping sounds.

Once the speed bends the rods, there is nothing else to do but to replace it.

how to quiet a noisy lifter

However, this might be a little bit more complicated procedure, so I would honestly suggest taking your car to a professional for this purpose.

The process can be very hard and draining and it can take up to 6 hours, even for a professional.

Now, the price of each part is somewhere around $20, but there is a labor cost as well and we shouldn’t forget that.

Sadly, this is the only way to fix the bent rods, but it is not as common of a problem as the first three.

After all, it is much better to fix it in time, then to put yourself in a situation when you have to change the whole engine.

On Quieting Noisy Lifters

In the light of everything I have mentioned so far, I can advise you again to take a good listen to your car.

My Dad was always saying that you have to listen to your car; that it is speaking to you; and if it has a problem, it will tell you.

It’s very easy to notice a lifter noise, and if that’s your problem – we hope this post was useful in teaching you what causes lifter noise and how to fix such problem.


He was right, and it is just like that. Listen to your car, and if you hear any irregularities, give a good look at it, and solve the problem as soon as possible.

Now, here were a few reasons and lifter noise fixes, I hope they helped you, and that you will know how to fix lifter tick now.

But in some cases, you will need an engine lifter repair – but hey, you probably did half the work by diagnosing the problem.

Here are more car soundproofing guides you may like:

Drive safely!

I want to quiet my noisy lifter

How to Quiet a Noisy Lifter

can noisy lifters cause damage

Is your lifter making lots of noise? Can noisy lifters cause damage? Fret not, read through to learn how to quiet a noisy lifter.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush - 500 Milliliters
  • Lucas 10001 Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer - 32 oz.
  • Feeler gauge


  1. Changing the Oil
  2. Cleaning Your Car’s Lifters with Oil Additives
  3. Adjusting Your Lifters
  4. Replacing a Bent Push Rod
Share this with your friends!
Skip to Instructions