How to clean Lifters without Removing?

Valve lifters or Hydraulic lifters are some crucial parts of your car engine that need a little bit of maintenance from time to time. A properly functioning lifter can help the motor oil to have a smoother flow to the machine ports. So, you will want a properly functioning and clean lifter in your car engine.

However, you will see that you have to remove the lifter to clean them properly in most cases. That’s why we are here to ease up things for you, as we will share how to clean lifters without removing them. So, let’s get going.

Why do you need to clean the lifters?

Before we dive into the steps, you should know how the lifters get dirty in the first place. As you already learned that motor oil passes through the lifter to have a smoother flow. Now, every time the oil passes through the lifters, it leaves some debris on it. This debris eventually clogs up the valve lifters.

Later on, you will have issues like a malfunctioning lifter that makes a loud noise. And you can fix this issue only by cleaning the valve lifters.

Since it’s repeating maintenance work removing the lifters every time becomes more of a hassle. So, knowing how to clean them without removing them can be of great help.

Cleaning lifters without Removing

There are two ways of cleaning a lifter. You have to flush out all the oil from the engine first. Or you have to move on to the individual lifters to clean them up. Let’s check them out one by one-

1. Flushing the engine oil

Flushing the engine oil is a method that can clean up the lifters without you having to remove them in the first place. However, it doesn’t work all the time, in which case you have to clean them individually.

  • First of all, open the cover for the engine oil and put in some motor detergent inside. Make sure to choose the compatible detergent for your engine oil. The detergent is essential to get a good quality to remove the debris from the lifters properly.
  • After that, start up your engine, and keep it running for 10 minutes. If there are issues with your lifter, you will hear a noise. Also, the detergent should start their work by then by loosening the debris.
  • Lift the car from the front and drain all the engine oil as well as the oil filter. Then add the engine oil you use for your car or supported by your car engine; after that, lower your car to the previous state.
  • Now, start the engine so the new oil can get working. Once again, rev up the engine and see if the valve lifters are still making a noise or not. The noise should stop after flushing out the oil and using the detergent to clean the lifter.

This is the method to try cleaning your lifters without removing them. But if you still hear the noise from your valve cover, you have to go ahead and clean the lifters individually by removing them.

2. Cleaning lifters individually

Remember, don’t just go ahead and start removing your lifters one by one. Please go through the first method we discussed, then move on to this. We will discuss this method briefly as our focus was to provide you the method for cleaning lifters without removing them at all. Here we go-

  • First, you have to identify the faulty lifter in your engine. You can do that by hearing the noise from the valve.
  • Then remove every part you have to remove to access the faulty valve lifter. Before you remove the lifter, make sure to label everything, so it’s easy to reassemble. Then remove the lifter from the engine.
  • Now, you have to start cleaning up the lifter and getting all the debris and oil out of it. You can use a lint-free towel to do this job. For the smaller parts, you can use cotton swabs.
  • Then, soak them in kerosene for a while and then dry them up with the towel. Check up for any scratch or defect on the parts.
  • Finally, reassemble the parts of the lifter and then put it back in the engine.


To sum up, cleaning your engine valve lifters without removing them is much easier than cleaning them after removing them. However, it’s not effective all the time, which eventually calls for removing the valve lifters.

Always make sure to try out the method without removing the lifters because of the convenience and ease. Also, it doesn’t harm your engine or valve lifters in any way, so it’s always worth a try.

Leave a Comment