How to Stop a Lifter Tick

by Tim Petruccio
Greg Manis/Demand Media

Lifters in vehicles can begin to tick or click over an extended period of time. One of the largest factors in a ticking lifter is sludge and debris built up inside of the valve cover on top of your engine. Removing the ticking noise should take no longer than one day to complete. The materials needed for this project are available at an auto parts store.

Step 1

Open the hood. Remove the oil fill cap.

Step 2

Empty the entire contents of one bottle of engine oil system cleaner into the oil fill spout. Do not worry about over filling the engine. The excess oil will make sure that enough oil is washing the lifters.

Step 3

Replace the oil cap. Maintain normal driving for a 12 to 24 hour period. The engine oil system cleaner is an oil-based super detergent — it will not damage the engine.

Complete an oil change on your vehicle one day after chemical is added. You can do the oil change yourself or have a shop perform the service. Nothing special is necessary to perform this oil change. The super detergents in the oil system cleaner should remove the ticking caused by excess sludge on the lifters.


  • If the engine exhibits the same ticking after performing this project, a complete overhead injection system cleaner may be necessary. Clogged injectors can give off the same sound symptoms as a knocking lifter. Seek mechanical advise if the ticking persists or gets louder after performing this job, as you may have a bent or broken lifter or pushrod.


  • Oil and oil system cleaner are both flammable. Keep this job away from open flame, sparks, static electricity and cigarette smoking. Failure to adhere to this warning could cause vehicle fire, property damage or death from asphyxiation.

Items you will need

  • 1 bottle engine oil system cleaner

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