8 Best Oil Additives for Noisy Lifters (Engine Treatments for Lifter Tick)

Driving with the constant sound of jammed valve lifters can be dangerous and distracting. In a previous article, I discussed the causes of this ticking or knocking noise in your engine and how to fix it. One of the best solutions for noisy lifters is to use an oil additive. Today, I present you with 8 recommended products for quieting noisy lifters!

Why You Should Address Noisy Lifters

It’s important to address any unusual noises while driving as they can mask more important sounds and distract you. Ignoring the noise can also lead to serious damage to your lifters and even affect the overall performance of your engine. Oil additives can help in many ways, and I will explain them in this article.

In addition to the product recommendations, I will also discuss important features to consider when shopping for oil additives.

Choosing the Right Oil for Your Engine

The most common culprits for noisy lifters are the type of oil you use, dirt accumulation in the engine, or old lifters. Since old lifters are unlikely to be the issue, let’s focus on solving the first two.

To fix the first potential issue, ensure that you are using the correct oil for your engine. Thick oil will have difficulty passing through the small openings in the lifters, while thin oil won’t provide enough lubrication. Using the right oil recommended by the manufacturer is crucial. For more details, refer to my previous article.

Now let’s address the second problem: dirt accumulation in the valve train.

How to Choose the Best Additive for Lifter Noise

To prepare for your search for oil additives, let’s classify them by function. There are different types of oil additives, including oil thinners, thickeners, flushing agents, and stabilizers. To silence noisy lifters, you will need oil stabilizers. These products clean the debris inside the engine while maintaining the properties of the oil you use.

When shopping for oil additives for noisy lifters, pay attention to the following factors:


While many people believe that using the thickest oil or additive is the best solution, this may not always be the case. As mentioned earlier, the oil needs to be thick enough to pass through the small openings in the engine. Always consult the engine manufacturer’s instructions or website for recommendations. Many brands even provide suggestions for which oil additive to use.

Most top-quality oil additives won’t change the thickness of your engine oil, so you can use any of them. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and check with the manufacturer.

Clearing and Preventing Debris

The primary function of an oil additive for noisy lifters is to clear debris and rust from the valve train. Fortunately, most products on my list excel in this area. Oil additives should also prevent future rust and debris from accumulating.

Ideally, add oil additives when you change your oil. As the engine runs, the additive will circulate with the oil, effectively flushing the system. This will leave you with a clean engine and improve its performance.

Optimizing Engine Performance

Since oil additives work internally, a good oil stabilizer should promise performance improvements. If the additive does its job, you should notice reduced friction. However, it’s always wise to consider user opinions before making a purchase. Ask friends for recommendations or check online reviews to ensure you know what you’re buying.

Chemical Composition

If manufacturers provide the chemical composition of their oil additives, it can be helpful to check the ingredients. While many additives mainly consist of mineral oil or petroleum distillates, you may want to look for additional performance boosters like zinc and phosphorus. Some manufacturers make it difficult to find this information, but I will mention any ingredients I discover in my reviews.


Oil additives are generally affordable, with most costing under $20. You typically only need one bottle per oil change, making them a cost-effective solution. Some high-end options may be priced around $50, but the benefits they provide make it worthwhile.

Now that we understand the factors to consider, let’s move on to the recommended products.

Best Oil Additives for Noisy Lifters (2023)

While cost is not a significant concern for oil additives, I’ll present these products in ascending order based on price. Keep in mind that some additives come in varying quantities, but I will present them at face value.

1. Bar’s Products Rislone Engine Treatment

The Rislone Engine Treatment is one of the best products available for instant results. With a 16.9-ounce bottle, you’ll have enough for about 4-6 quarts of oil. For larger tanks, use one bottle per 5 quarts and you’ll be good until your next oil change.

This product removes debris, quiets lifters, improves engine performance, and reduces friction. It does not affect the thickness of your oil or void your vehicle warranty. Suitable for vehicles with 3-10 cylinders, whether gasoline or diesel. Add it to your oil anytime, but best during an oil change. Best of all, it’s under $10 per bottle.

Main Features:

  • 16.9 ounces per 5 quarts
  • Suitable for 3-10 cylinder vehicles
  • Gasoline, diesel, and turbo engines

2. Liqui Moly Hydraulic Lifter Additive

Liqui Moly is a trusted brand and their Hydraulic Lifter Additive offers 10 ounces of product for under $10. This additive eliminates noisy lifters, clears rust and debris, and does not affect oil viscosity. It works on gasoline, diesel, and turbo engines. Make sure you have enough for your oil tank’s full capacity. One bottle covers up to 6 quarts, and you can even purchase double or dozen pack sizes.

Main Features:

  • 10 ounces for up to 6 quarts
  • Suitable for gasoline, diesel, and turbo engines
  • Not suitable for wet clutches

3. Marvel Mystery Oil the Original Oil Enhancer and Fuel Treatment

Marvel Mystery Oil is a well-known and reliable brand. Their Original Oil Enhancer & Fuel Treatment comes in a 16-ounce bottle for just above $10. This treatment contains tricresyl phosphate, which ensures a thorough engine cleaning. It improves performance by reducing friction and works with conventional, synthetic, and 2/4-cycle oil. Use it to replace 20% of the oil during your next oil change. It’s also available in larger sizes, including 1-gallon bottles or a gallon 4-pack.

Main Features:

  • Replaces 20% of the oil
  • Suitable for conventional, synthetic, 2 and 4-cycle oil
  • Compatible with gas, diesel, and ethanol fuels

4. Red Line Break-in Oil Additive with Zinc

The Red Line Engine Break-in Additive combines zinc and phosphorus to provide excellent performance. Priced under $20, this additive significantly reduces wear, temperature, and friction. It cleans debris and improves engine performance. One 16-ounce bottle treats 12 quarts, making it cost-effective. It is compatible with both conventional and synthetic oils.

Main Features:

  • 16 ounces enough for 12 quarts
  • Zinc and phosphorus performance boost
  • Suitable for conventional and synthetic oils

5. BestLine Premium Synthetic Engine Treatment

The BestLine Synthetic Engine Treatment acts as a pre-cleaning additive, breaking down rust and debris and restoring proper oil circulation. It improves engine performance, reduces friction, temperature, and wear, and lowers harmful emissions. Use it by replacing 10-15% of your oil capacity. A 16-ounce bottle is priced under $20 and works with all types of oil.

Main Features:

  • 16 ounces to replace 10-15% of oil capacity
  • Lowers harmful emissions
  • Suitable for all types of oil

6. BestLine Premium Synthetic Diesel Engine Treatment

The BestLine Diesel Engine Treatment is similar to the previous product but optimized for diesel engines. Priced under $20, it provides the same benefits, including improved engine performance, reduced friction, and wear, and lower emissions. Replace 10-15% of your oil capacity with this additive to achieve the best results.

Main Features:

  • 16 ounces to replace 10-15% of oil capacity
  • Lowers harmful emissions
  • Works with any type of oil
  • Optimized for diesel fuel

7. zMax 51-212 Engine Formula

The zMax Engine Formula is not just known for its unique packaging. This oil additive contains micro-lubricant particles that effectively break down debris and reduce friction in your engine. It cleans the engine, improves temperature, and reduces wear. One 12-ounce bottle covers 7 quarts, with an additional 2 ounces per extra quart. Priced under $20, it is a reliable option.

Main Features:

  • 12 ounces for 7 quarts
  • Reduces emissions
  • Works with all types of oil

8. Archoil AR9100 Friction Modifier

For those willing to invest in a premium option, the Archoil Friction Modifier is priced around $50. This additive extends engine life, reduces wear, and clears rust particles. It works with diesel and gasoline engines, as well as gearboxes, hydraulics, and power steering systems. The 16-ounce bottle is suitable for 13 quarts of oil, requiring approximately 1.2 ounces per quart. For gear and hydraulic oil, use 3.2 ounces per quart.

Main Features:

  • 1.2 ounces per quart
  • Suitable for engines, gear, and hydraulic oils, and power steering fluid
  • Compatible with diesel and gasoline engines

Silence Noisy Lifters for a Quieter Engine

Valve lifters play a crucial role in maintaining a quiet engine. They lift pushrods, which open and close valves. Lubrication is vital for the valve train to operate properly. Hydraulic lifters, solid lifters, and roller lifters are the most common types.

Treating your engine with a quality oil additive is essential. The products recommended above will break apart debris, reduce friction, and improve engine performance. It’s always better to drive without the distraction of mysterious noises in your car.

For more automotive advice, check out my other related posts on car noises, hood insulation, suspension, and power steering pump issues.

Remember, addressing noisy lifters promptly will not only make your driving experience more enjoyable but also extend the life of your engine.

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