Replacing lifters is essential for a healthy engine. How long does it take to replace lifters varies based on your engine type and skill level. Lifters are tiny parts with a big job—they control your engine valves.

In this article, I’ll guide you through each step and share quick methods to make it easier. Using the right tools and expert tips can speed things up. Also, knowing the costs and time involved helps you plan better.

How Many Hours to Replace Lifters?

People often ask, “How long does it take to replace lifters?” Fixing this quickly is vital to keep your engine in great shape. Replacing lifters takes around 7 to 15 hours, [1] though it might differ a bit in real cases.

These parts are really important for your engine. When they’re worn out, your engine won’t work well, causing less power and efficiency. So, noticing the signs and swapping them out fast is essential.

Factors Affecting Lifter Replacement Time

Various things affect how long it takes to replace lifters in a car. If the engine’s design is complex or hard to get to, taking it apart will need more time. Similarly, the more lifters that need changing, the longer it’ll take to finish.

The person doing the job matters, too. A mechanic who knows that type of engine well can work faster. But if they’re not used to it, it might take longer.

How Do I Know If My Lifters Are Bad?

Knowing the signs of bad lifters is super important to prevent bigger engine problems. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Odd Sounds: Listen for ticking or tapping when your engine runs faster. These noises might mean your lifters aren’t working properly.
  • Power Issues: Feeling a drop in your car’s strength, trouble speeding up, or using more gas? Faulty lifters might be to blame. They mess with how air and fuel move in and out of the engine.
  • Stuck Lifters: Sometimes, lifters get stuck and won’t budge. Dirt or oil buildup could cause this. Check by gently pressing on each lifter when the engine’s off.
  • Check Engine Light: A busted lifter might trigger the check engine light. It warns about different engine troubles, including issues with the valves. Use a tool to find out what’s wrong.

Essential Tools and Equipment for Lifter Replacement

To replace lifters, you need specific tools. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Socket Wrench Set: It’s your go-to for tightening or loosening bolts and nuts. Think of it as the muscle behind the secure fit.
  • Pliers: Super versatile! They grab small parts, yank out clips, and handle wires with ease.
  • Torque Wrench: This tool’s all about precision. It tightens things just right—neither too loose nor too tight.
  • Valve Spring Compressor: Makes valve and lifter work a breeze. It’s like a pro hand, setting things in place effortlessly.
  • Gasket Scraper: Say bye to old gunk! It wipes off engine leftovers, prepping for a clean reassembly.
  • Lifter Removal Tool: Removes lifters safely, no harm done. It’s the hero that ensures an easy removal process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Lifters

To replace lifters in your engine, you need to follow these systematic steps:

  • Get Your Tools Ready: Before you start, make sure you have all the tools you’ll need. This includes a socket wrench set, pliers, a torque wrench, a valve spring compressor, and a gasket scraper. Having these tools handy will make the job easier.
  • Find the Lifters: Figure out where the lifters are located in your engine. You can check your engine’s manual or look up online resources for your specific engine model to find their exact position.
  • Take Off the Covers and Chain: Start by removing the valve covers and any other parts blocking your access to the lifters. This might involve taking off the intake manifold, timing chain, or other relevant components. Remember to keep track of the order in which you remove these parts for easy reassembly later.
  • Remove the Camshaft: Carefully take out the camshaft, making sure it comes out smoothly without getting damaged. You might need to loosen bolts or clips holding the camshaft in place.
  • Get Rid of the Lifters: Check and remove each lifter individually. You might need a magnet or a special tool to take them out from where they’re housed.
  • Clean the Area: Clean the lifter bores and the the surrounding area thoroughly. This is to get rid of any dirt or old gasket material. You can use a gasket scraper or a solvent to make sure it’s all clean and smooth for the new lifters.
  • Put in the New Lifters: Install the new lifters into their spots. Make sure they’re properly aligned and don’t force them in. Before putting them in, lubricate the lifters with engine oil.
  • Put Everything Back Together: Reassemble the engine parts in the reverse order of how you removed them. This includes putting the camshaft, timing chain, valve covers, and other parts back in place.
  • Add Oil: After everything is back in place, apply engine oil to the lifters and other relevant parts. This helps with lubrication and prevents any issues when you start the engine.
  • Test Your Engine: Once everything is done, start the engine and listen for any unusual sounds. Check to ensure the lifters are working correctly and keep an eye out for leaks or problems during the initial run.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During Lifter Replacement

Getting a lifter replacement right is super important! But, it’s easy to slip up if you’re not careful. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Not getting ready: Trust me, rushing without the right tools or not checking the engine manual can mess things up. Keep your space tidy and tools ready to prevent headaches.
  • Wrong lifters: Using the wrong size or type can hurt your engine’s performance. Match the lifters with your engine and ask for help if needed.
  • Forgetting to clean: Before installing new lifters, clean up! Leftover gunk or debris can cause serious issues. Make sure the area is spotless.
  • Ignoring other parts: Check related parts like pushrods or valve springs. If they’re worn out, it can affect your new lifters. Don’t skip this step!
  • Messing up the installation: Even a small mistake during installation can mess with your engine. Follow the guidelines and torque specs closely.
  • Skipping lubrication: Lubrication is crucial! Missing it can lead to early wear and tear. Use the right oil for a smooth run.

Analyzing Lifter Replacement Cost and Time

Knowing how much it costs and how long it takes to replace lifters helps with planning. It tells us how much money we might spend and how long the job will take.

The cost of replacing lifters depends on things like the type of engine and the brand. It can be between $50 to $200 for each lifter. Getting good-quality ones is a good idea because they last longer and work better. This knowledge helps us plan our budget and time well for a smooth lifter replacement experience.

DIY Lifter Replacement vs. Professional Service

Deciding whether to replace lifters by yourself or hire a pro need careful thought. Both have pros and cons sides you should weigh up before choosing.

DIY Lifter Replacement:

Doing it yourself can save money if you’re handy and have the right tools. Here’s what’s good and not-so-good:


  • Saves Money: You skip paying someone else.
  • Learn Hands-On: Helps you understand your engine.
  • Control: You decide when and how to do it.


  • Takes Time and Effort: Tricky and needs focus.
  • Limited Know-How: Tough if you’re not a pro.
  • Chance of Mistakes: No expert guidance might lead to errors.

Professional Lifter Replacement:

Getting a pro also has its positives and negatives. Here’s what to consider:


  • Expertise: Pros know what they’re doing.
  • Saves Time: They work faster with their skills.
  • Warranty: Some offer guarantees for their work.


  • Costs More: Professional help is pricier.
  • Dependent on Schedule: You need to book and work around their time.
  • Less Hands-On: Miss out on learning if you enjoy fixing things.
Can You Drive With A Bad Lifter?

Certainly no! When your car has a bad lifter, it’s not good. It makes weird noises and messes up how the engine works. This means your car might not run well and could make strange sounds like ticking or knocking.

If you keep driving with this problem, it could hurt other important parts in your car’s engine. So, it’s smart to get it checked and fixed early to stop bigger issues later on.