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5 Best Oil Additives for Lifter Noise and How To Fix It

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the best oil additives for lifter noises on the market. We also look at alternative ways to quiet annoying sounds and compare the price of each solution to find the most cost-effective option.

The truth is, lifter noise problems are simple to fix. With the right oil additives, you can remove dirt and sludge that have accumulated within your lifter. Every engine oil is different and it can feel overwhelming to choose the best oil additive to fix your specific problem.

We spent a week testing, researching & comparing various oil additives on the market to find the 5 best additives on the market. They’re a far cheaper solution to try out before booking in an expensive mechanic.

Liqui Moly Hydraulic Lifter Additive

Quick Specs
  • Rating: 4.9 / 5
  • Brand: Liqui Moly
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If you are looking for a solution, that will not only get rid of that awful lifter noise in your engine but also improve the performance of your car as well, look no further than Liquid Moly Hydraulic Lifter Additive.

This is one of the best oil additives for lifter noise due to its ability to dampen the noise caused by worn hydraulic lifters. The nice thing about LiquiMoly is that it does not affect the properties of your engine oil. It will clean out the valves, guides, and bores to ensure your tappets/lifters are clean and silent while at the same time promoting optimum engine operation without any effect on your engine oil’s viscosity.

Another great thing about Liqui Moly is that it is entirely suitable for a wide range of commercial motor oils in gasoline and diesel engines with and without diesel particulate filters.

This means that you need not worry so much about the compatibility of this good additive with your engine. However, if you have a motorbike that employs the use of a wet clutch, you might have to sit this one out.

What We Liked

  • Compatible with a wide range of motor oils
  • Provides a quieter start and idle
  • Improves gas mileage
  • Improves performance of old engines
  • Does not support wet clutches

What We Didn’t Like

  • Does not support wet clutches

This is a high quality penetrating lubricating oil. It is composed of great additives that enhance its ability to clean out your engine and ultimately get rid of the lifter noise. As a cleaning agent, it removes the sludge from your engine while also preventing the formation of more of it.

Not only is Rislone a great performance booster, it also works to improve the functioning of older engines by reducing the friction and wear on the engine. It is therefore highly effective in quieting noisy lifters.

You can add this fine oil additive to your engine oil at any time. Choosing Rislone as one of the best oil additives for lifter noise will hopefully take care of your problem.

What We Liked

  • Boosts performance
  • Enhances smoother running of the engine
  • Good for older engines

What We Didn’t Like

  • No cons

Marvel Mystery Oil

Quick Specs
  • Rating: 4.5 / 5
  • Brand: Marvel
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This is a highly economical, highly effective fix for the lifter noise problems. Marvel Mystery Oil fortifies the base properties of your basic motor oil, whether traditional or synthetic, by increasing its ability to prevent valve sticking and clutter by breaking down the harmful deposits of carbon and sludge.

In its attempt to prevent valve sticking, Marvel Mystery Oil works perfectly in getting rid of lifter noise. It will prevent sludge build-up in newer engines and remove built-up sludge in the older ones. This helps the engine run smoothly and efficiently. It, therefore, functions well in improving the performance of your engine.

Using this oil additive improves the performance of all your valves, lifter check valves included, and ultimately improves your overall fuel economy. This makes it one of the best oil additives for lifter noise as it is not only pocket-friendly but also very efficient.

What We Liked

  • Cleans out dirty valves
  • Works perfectly in most motors
  • Rejuvenates gasoline
  • Fairly cheap

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can plug fuel filter
  • It is not compatible with most motor oils

Archoil Friction Modifier

Quick Specs
  • Rating: 4.2 / 5
  • Brand: Archoil
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This is a Nanoborate-based oil additive that forms a solid boundary lubricating film that is guaranteed to protect your engine from friction.

It also provides anti-wear, extreme pressure, and anti-corrosion protection to engines and hydraulic systems. For those with hydraulic tappets/lifters, Archoil Friction Modifier will ultimately take care of the tapping noise.

As an oil additive, Archoil Friction Modifier extends oil life significantly making sure you can go for a bit more mileage before the next oil change. This makes Archoil quite a viable option for those who are not adept at remembering to carry out an oil change. It is also fairly safe for both gasoline and diesel motors.

What We Liked

  • Enhances smoother running of the engine
  • Works wonders for classic cars
  • Provides anti-wear protection to internal engine parts

What We Didn’t Like

  • Does not work well in cold weather

For those who are worried whether there is an oil additive that will be compatible with their synthetic oils, look no further than Zmax Engine Additive and Cleaner. This fantastic additive can be used with all types of oils comfortably.

Perfectly suitable for both old and new engines, Zmax is meant to be soaked up by the internal engine components upon use. With continuous metal wetting action, this product will help dissolve and thereby disperse carbon build up in the engine. This means that your lifters will be cleaned out and the tapping noise will be taken care of.

Unlike other additives that are not compatible with motorbikes and wet clutches, Zmax is a viable option for all motors as it will not cause any clutch spillage. Also, this additive is unique in that it has its schedule.

It is recommended to conduct treatment every six months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first, as it continuously weeps from treated metal surfaces. It is, therefore, not a one-time treatment fix like other additives.

What We Liked

  • Compatible with different motor types
  • Compatible with a wide range of motor oils
  • Does not clog up filters

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not good for engines that use thicker oils

What Is A Lifter On Car?

Car lifters are little known to most drivers yet when they fail; it gets you stranded. It takes a fault to recognize their roles in the car. So, what exactly is a car lifter and where is it found?

What is a lifter on car?

Read on to know more about them concerning what they are, where they are found, and their fault causes how to solve the flaws in other aspects.

A car lifter, in essence, is a subset of the valve train in the engine that follows the camshaft. It is the bridge between the valve and the camshaft.

Symptoms Of Car Lifters Failure

A good engine in the optimum state is meant to be clean and function quietly. A lifter in good condition should be able to lubricate and supply oil to the engine. However, like many other motor parts, it can fail. How will you know that the lifter has failed?

There some signs and symptoms to look out for. Knowing puts you in a safe position. Below is a list of the symptoms to anticipate.

  1. You will hear a noise in the lifters; the noise in the lifters is the first lead to problems that need your attention.
  2. The Valvetrain will also produce some noise; the noise is a warning that the oil is not getting into the valve train for lubrication. This means the lifter, being part of the valve train got issues.
  3. Red warning on the dashboard of low pressure and oil; Check your oil level against the user manual to see if there are some discrepancies.
  4. The engine will heat up; Temperature increase. The oil from the lifter pump is used as a lubricant and a coolant. Its inefficacy is a pointer to something wrong.

But how do you know for sure if it is a faulty lifter problem? A repetitive tapping noise under your car’s hood is the one symptom that you should watch out for if you need a confirmation of a faulty lifter. This noise is more specific to a bad lifter.

Causes Of A Faulty Car Lifter

Now, you are probably wondering, “What could have caused my lifter to be faulty?”It can be due to a sticky check valve, dirt accumulation in the lifter, or the action of wear on the lifter.

If you have hydraulic lifters, the tapping sound can be caused by the accumulation of dirt within the lifter’s hydraulics due to a lack of routine oil changes. This will then cause a drop in the internal oil pressure of the lifters hence the ticking sound.

In addition to the above, a bad oil pump, which is the source of lubrication, can also be blamed.

Does a Noisy Lifter Cause Damage? Should a faulty lifter get you worried?
Yes! This is because as the lifter makes this noise, you are experiencing a loss of power and a significant economic loss.

Secondly, there is a possibility that the noise may be signifying major problems that may ground your car if ignored. Just get a mechanic to confirm the real cause of the noise. You should avoid driving your car further until you ascertain the real cause and possibly a solution.

How To Fix A Lifter Tick

Having an engine tick? If this is the case, your suspicion should be focused first on the lifter. There is a high chance that you have a bad lifter, or simply, it needs a little routine service. Note that the tick results from debris accumulation in the valve train.

So what exactly does it take to fix the tick?

Flushing Additive To Fix The Tick

Well, the first option is to flush out the old oil. This should be considered as the first remedy. This remedy erases the ticking immediately after the draining. All you are to get a flushing additive like Wynns and do the process yourself.

It involves draining the old followed by flushing oil before warming the engine. Repeat the process then pour in the conventional oil after changing the oil filter, and you are good to go.

Treatment Additive To Fix The Tick

The second option at your disposal to stop the ticking is to use treatment additives. In this case, products like Liqui-moly additive are added into the existing oil with no need for draining. Instead of removing the debris, it breaks them down.

Motorists who have tried this out will advise on patience. It takes several miles of driving before the deposits that cause the ticking is gotten rid of.

Out of the two options, you will significantly save on repair costs or even lifter replacement costs.


If after the process you fail to achieve the desired results, consider replacing the lifter. It may also be necessary to get an expert to help if the ticking persists.

Lifter Replacement Cost

After trying to rescue your car lifters utilizing the system cleaners without success, it is time to consider replacing them. The costs involved are those of purchasing the parts and the cost of labor. You can save on labor if you are capable of it.

However, do not attempt it if you are not confident enough otherwise you may aggravate the situation of your car. Note that the spare parts costs will depend on the car model.

The average cost of lifter replacement should be around $200-400 in parts and 7-10 hours of labor which in turn results in $1000-1500


The presence of lifter noise in an engine can be the symptom of much greater damage to the engine. This is why, like every other fault you may face, prevention is better than cure. Some oil additives may work perfectly to derail the factors that can cause lifter noise. The best oil additives to quiet lifter noise, we choose can entirely take care of a lifter problem. If they do not, you may require a mechanical fix for your issue.

Remember, an oil additive is not meant to replace your engine oil and most additive manufacturers recommend using the product during an oil change. Running the engine for a while will make the additive go through the engine system, cleaning out the sludge. Next time you hear that tapping sound coming from your engine, it could probably be the time to look into cleaning out the dirt from those lifters with either of these products.

Bonus Part: Types Of Car Lifters

There are three types of car lifters; Solid lifters, roller lifters and hydraulic lifters as outlined below with their features, areas of applications, pros, and cons.

Solid Lifters

Solid Lifters are the pioneer Lifters that provided a foundation from which the rest were advanced. Solid lifters were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. They are made out of hardened steel and a solid rod.

Application; They are best where horsepower must never be lost with racing engines.


  • The lifters are outstanding in maintaining the horsepower, which means there is no loss.


  • The demerit of solid lifters is that the rocker arm must regularly be adjusted when in operation.

Hydraulic Lifters

These are self-adjusting lifters, meaning there is no rocker arm adjustment. Hydraulic lifters work with engine oil for fluids. They are very good at absorbing shock.

Application: It is commonly used in most conventional engines.


  • No need to adjust the rocker arm


  • Horsepower loss
  • Oil bleeding when it wears out

Roller Lifters

This is a hybrid of the first two lifters. The roller lifter is an advancement in automotive engineering. They are designed with cam lobes and small wheels. The small wheels are driven by the cam lobes.

Application: It can be designed in solid form is intended for racing engines or hydraulic for conventional engines.


  • Capitalizes on the weaknesses of the first two
  • Less friction


  • The cost involved is high
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