How to Clean Lifters Without Removing

How to Clean Lifters Without Removing? [Answered]

A lifter is undoubtedly, and unarguably the most important thing to run your car smoothly. Your car will run silently if you can take good care of your lifter.

But if you don’t take care of your lifter and don’t clean it on a regular basis, be ready to pay tons of money for maintenance.

Your lifter gets clogged due to lifter wear or dirt in the system and lack of lubrication or dirty engine oil. And a bad lifter can cost you extra fuel energy and a lot of engine misfires. To save your engine from a lot of energy loss and maintenance costs, you should know how to clean lifters without removing them.

What is a car lifter?

What is a car lifter

A lifter is a cylinder that sits between a car’s camshaft and the cylinder valves. As the camshaft moves over the top of the lifter, it actuates, temporarily opening the valve. And because the intake and exhaust valve need to open at different times, each has its own separate lifter.

You have two lifters per valve, which means you generally have thirty-two filters to run your engine. They are the most inside part of your engine, which also makes them a really important part to deal with. There are a variety of lifter designs found in different types of engines.

What leads you to have a bad lifter?

What leads you to have a bad lifter

Being one of the core parts of an engine, a lifter is vulnerable to many problems. If you don’t clean it properly, your lifter can get clogged due to lifter wear or dirt in the system and lack of lubrication or dirty engine oil. And you may end up with a bad and faulty lifter which can cause severe damages to your valves and cylinders and sometimes worse, damages to your engines.

Having an engine with one or more faulty lifters is a costly problem that can lead to additional concerns if it is left unchecked. You’ll want to fix the engine as soon as you notice any of the telltale signs of a bad lifter.

How to spot a bad lifter?

How to spot a bad lifter

If you see one of these following problems, maybe you have a bad lifter.

  • You will get a sticky lifter in a collapsed state instead of going up and down. If the lifter doesn’t move, the engine becomes unable to maintain oil pressure which leads the lifter’s internal parts hammering one another, causing heavy noises.
  • The more accelerate your car, the higher its RPM gets, and it causes more noises.
  • A faulty lifter will harm a cylinder’s ability to burn fuel. When that happens, cylinder misfiring occurs, and you’ll face slower acceleration.
  • The faulty lifter can cause the pushrod to fall out of position. If that happens, you’ll have a dead cylinder, which can cause valves and rocker arms to break, and even the entire engine assembly to be damaged.

Importance of cleaning the lifters

Importance of cleaning the lifters

  • A bad lifter can cause a significant amount of fuel energy loss due to the misfire and noises. So, to save fuel energy, keeping your lifters clean is very important.
  • Fixing bad lifters can cause a significant amount of costs ranging from overall 1,000$ to 3,500$. To save this maintenance cost, it’s better to take a good look at your lifters on a regular basis.
  • A bad lifter, as previously said, can damage cylinders, brake valves, or rocker arms. Already fixing a bad lifter can make a significant amount of financial burden. In addition to fixing cylinders, valves, or rocker arms, your maintenance costs can go up to triple the initial cost.
  • If you run with a faulty lifter, it can cause costly problems, ranging from a deteriorated catalytic converter to a damaged camshaft and internal engine failure

How to clean lifters without removing

clean lifters without removing

There are plenty of ways you can clean the lifters, but a few of them are discussed below. So you can follow these steps to clean lifters without removing them.

  1. Run the engine while having the car hood raised. Use an automotive stethoscope to find out which lifter is faulty.
  2. After that, disconnect all the spark plug wires.
  3. Disconnect your vacuum, which leads to your breaks there.
  4. Then take a 10mm wrench and disconnect the screws from the ignition coil
  5. Once you remove all the screws, take the PCV valve cover, the rocker arm, and the camshaft out to access the faulty lifter. Pull the valve lifter out of the engine.
  6. Start soaking the lifters with a spray to wipe off oils and dirt and remove the spring clamp. Dispose of any oil remaining inside the lifter.
  7. Use a lint-free towel to clear out the oil left after soaking the lifters with sprays.
  8. Soak the valve lifter in a container of clean motor oil and fill it as much as you can.
  9. Install the valve lifter, torque the retaining bolt, and reassemble the screws connecting the ignition coil. Install the camshaft, rocker arm, and valve cover. This time, run the engine and drive it with the highest RPM you can. If the noise decreases, it means you did it correctly.


You also can clear the lifters by flushing the whole engine. In that case, firstly, open the oil cap and add the engine flush detergent. Then, start the engine and try to run it as higher RPM as you can. If you hear fewer noises than before, it means you did it correctly. But if the noises still don’t decrease, you have to change your lifters as soon as possible.

You also can add oil additives. But that solution is temporary. Oil additives can just quiet noise for a limited amount of time, but if you still keep running in the street with a faulty lifter for a long time, it’s better you fix it instead of making a temporary solution.

Final Thoughts

lifters without removing

You made it. Now you know perfectly how to clean lifters without removing them. As

you can accomplish it all by yourself; by reading this article, you just saved a lot of money for maintenance and got desired performance from your engine.

Now enjoy a noise-free engine performance without any loss of power, fuels, and mis firings.

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