Lifter Tick Vs Rod Knock: [An All-Inclusive Comparison]

Are you hearing a weird sound in your engine? If yes, It can be very alarming. However, attempting to solve the problem tends to make things more complicated.

You might wonder whether it’s a lifter tick or rod knock. To ensure which one is it, you have to steer clear about their characteristics. Here comes the question:

What are the differences between lifter tick vs rod knock?

Lifter tick and rod knock are distinct in various ways. Lifter tick is a sound occurring in the lifter but rod knock is the sound made in the knocking of the engine liver. There must be other compression-like symptoms or causes. The fixing procedure also differs between lift tick and rod knock. 

Don’t get dizzy just yet. We have prepared the whole article to clear your head out. So, what are you standing for? Go ahead and read the entire article.

Lifter Tick Vs Rod Knock: Detailed Comparison

First, what causes a lifter tick? It happens once the hinges are not in consistent touch with the pushing rod or crankshaft.

Let’s say, one or both of your rods are “knocking” on the crank. And it is making a noise as it rotates. This is what is known as rod knocking.

The inner motor moving elements cause rod knock. You’ll hear hitting or thumping sounds and have reduced fuel pressure when this happens. And also, the engine light in your instrument cluster will illuminate.

If you do not find and solve the problem promptly, the motor will suffer severe harm. But, distinguishing between a lifter tick and a rod knock might be difficult.

Hey, don’t worry! With an essential degree of compression, you can distinguish them rather effectively.


Lifter sounds can make rattling, ticking, or clicking noises. Try to notice If the ticking noise persists even while the engine is heated. it could indicate a clogged oil supply or a worn-out lifter.

Misfires can occur when a hydraulic lifter is faulty or damaged. Loss of pressure in the cylinders can also indicate lifter click.

Whereas, the predominant rod knock symptom, is engine noise. One of the indications of motor rod knocking is a decrease in oil pressure. Another indicator of rod knock has deteriorated belts and gearbox noise.

The emergence of silvery flakes in the oil is the second-rod knock symptom on the list. You’ll see a metal sheen on the dipstick when checking the oil level.

Other compressions can be made between rod knock and lifter tick.


Lifter tick occurs. if the pushrod or camshaft does not keep consistent contact with the lifters. This could be because the lifter has worn out, as is familiar with hydraulic lifters. Or it might be because the valve has become out of alignment.

Rusty drive shaft bearings, on the other hand, are the most common reason for rod knock. There might be various other causes that can create symptoms similar to rod knock.

But rod knock is not only caused by this one thing.

Another cause of rod knock is a faulty knock sensor. Or the cause of rod knock might be a lean air/fuel combination. 

This issue can be caused by faulty oxygen sensors, failing fuel injectors. Even a faulty mass airflow sensor or a defective fuel pump can cause it.

So you can tell them apart by determining the source of the sound. This will help while deciding whether it is lifter ticks or rod knock. However, there are various compression methods to consider.

Fixing Procedure 

The process of repairing a rod knock and a lifter tick can make a significant difference. Despite the fact that both are causes for distinct reasons. The procedure for repairing is also distinct. Also, rod knock repair cost a lot.

The main method for repairing lifter ticks is to modify the valves. Push roads might cause issues at times. You must clean up any damage to the push roads. When you try to start your car after a long period of inactivity, the lifter ticks.

You must also drain out the old oil. You should also clean the lifter with sedative oil. If that doesn’t solve the ticking issue, the lifter may then need to be replaced. And fixing this lifter tick cost a lot of money.

Here are some of the top-notch lifts you can test in your car.

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These lifters have Ultimate durability compared to the others in the market. 

However, the only cure is an engine rebuild. This involves pulling the rods and replacing the bearings.

The crankshaft plate surface was most likely injured by the flailing rod. You must get the crankshaft polished in that instance.


Question: Is it possible for a single tick to inflict harm?

Answer: Check if the noise persists or not. If it is, then if not resolved as soon as possible. Otherwise, the source of the engine lifter sound can cause other sections to malfunction. It can inflict problems and harm your automobile in long term.

Question: Will thicker oil eliminate lifter noise?

Answer: Heavy oil will not reduce hydraulic lifter noise. Because heavier oil takes longer to reach the top of the engine. And you’re more likely to experience the opposite result. The lifter’s tapping or ticking will be more audible.

Question: A lifter tick costs how much to fix?

Answer: Replacing one or more lifters is an expensive and time-consuming repair. If you hire a professional, you can normally expect to pay handsomely. It might cause between $1,000 and $2,500 to complete the task.

Bottom Line 

Thank you for tagging in with us to the very end. Hope bow you are clear about lifter tick vs rod knock. 

Determining the main causes can be a hard job for you. But before taking any action you may always consult a professional.

Best of luck.

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