Engine lifters are vital to the proper functioning of your engine. They control the height and duration of piston strokes within an engine cylinder, which manipulates how much a piston compresses the air-fuel mixture.
When you drive around with subpar engine lifters, your car may make loud knocking sounds when accelerating from a stop or turning sharply. The vehicle will also have trouble going up hills and accelerate sluggishly on flat roads. It’s crucial to replace them as soon as possible because they can lead to more costly repairs down the road if left unchecked.
The average cost for replacing engine lifters on a car is $1,850. Depending on how many cylinders your vehicle has and the number of lifters being replaced, the price will vary. The cost to replace your engine lifters can be as low as $475 and go as high as $2,600.
Replacing engine lifters requires some engine disassembly which can be very time-consuming depending on your vehicle. If you’re wondering why this repair is so expensive, it is primarily due to the time it takes a professional to do the job.
The average cost of labor for replacing engine lifters is $1,175. The job can take anywhere from 7 hours to 15 hours, depending on how easy it is for the mechanic to access the lifters and install them. Engine lifters themselves only cost $45 to $150. The part cost makes up a small percentage of the overall repair.
In this article, we will be discussing:
- what engine lifters are
- how to tell if they need replacement
- if it is safe to drive with defective engine lifters
- the cost of replacing them in specific car models
- and various other questions about replacing your engine lifters
- Cost To Replace Engine Lifters
- What are engine lifters?
- How do I know if my engine lifters need replacing?
- Can I drive with bad engine lifters?
- Can Engine Lifters Be Installed Wrong?
- Different Types of Engine Lifters
- How to Maintain Your Engine Lifters
- Related Guides
Cost To Replace Engine Lifters
Most cars have between 8 and 16 lifters. Each engine cylinder has two lifters connected to its own set of valves. A 4 cylinder engine will have eight lifters, while a six-cylinder engine will have 12. A V-8 engine has 16 lifters.
Most mechanics may recommend replacing all the engine lifters at once since they are all manufactured together and will wear down simultaneously. It is also less expensive to do them all simultaneously versus at different times.
The cost of replacing engine lifters depends on how many cylinders the car has and how easy it is to reach the lifters.
Here are some averages based on the number of cylinders your vehicle has
8 Cylinders – $1600 to $2,200 total
6 Cylinders – $1100 to $1,750 total
4 Cylinders – $900 to $1,500 total
Most cars and trucks will fall somewhere in the middle of these ranges. The price also depends on how the engine is built. For example, a V-6 car can differ from an inline six-cylinder car or truck.
Cost of Professional Installation
Most people will decide to have their engine lifters replaced by a professional mechanic. The price per hour a mechanic can charge can be as low as $60 per hour up to $150 per hour.
The labor cost for an experienced mechanic to replace the engine lifters will average around $100 per hour. This means a mechanic will cost between $700 and $1500 to do the work.
Here are some of the popular places you can go to have your engine lifters replaced:
4 cylinder – $1,100 to $1,400
6 cylinder – $1,200 to $1,800
8 cylinder –$1,500 to $2,200
Local Repair Shop
4 cylinder – $750 to $1,200
6 cylinder – $900 to $1,375
8 cylinder –$1,100 to $1,600
These are some estimates and the prices. The price of car repairs can be confusing, especially with so many variables to consider, such as how much the mechanic charges per hour, what parts need to be replaced, and how long it will take to complete.
Example Lifter Cost For Different Vehicles
Depending on what vehicle you have, the cost to replace your lifters will differ. It is important to get information on your specific vehicle. The cost of your lifters will depend on what vehicle you have.
Some examples of vehicles and their average cost for engine lifters
Ford F150 8 Cylinder – $1,100 to $1,500
Honda Accord 6 Cylinder – $1,700 to $2,100
Volkswagen Jetta 4 Cylinder – $550 to $875
BMW X5 8 Cylinder – $1,200 to $1,800
Toyota Camry 6 Cylinder – $1,100 to $1,500
Chevy Silverado 8 Cylinder – $1,000 to $1,300
Dodge Charger 8 Cylinder – $1,900 to $2,300
Hyundai Sonata 4 Cylinder – $750 to $1,000
It is important to note that the prices will vary depending on your make, model, and year. The number of cylinders can affect the overall cost, but as you can see from the estimates, the make and model of your vehicle will also affect the final price.
Other Parts That May Need To Be Replaced
Many mechanics will recommend that other parts be replaced as well. Primarily this is because the mechanic has already taken apart a portion of the engine and can easily access the other parts.
Additional parts may add to your engine lifter repair expenses, but it will be far less than completing them individually. Removing and repairing all of these at different times will cost you more–time and money.
Here are some of the standard components your mechanic may recommend replacing together and how much the parts may cost
Head Gaskets – $50 to $275
Head Bolts – $30 to $180
Camshaft (if worn or bad) – $200 to $1,000
Valves – $150 to $500
These are some of the other parts that may need to be replaced alongside your engine lifters. Replacing these parts will be cheaper if done at the same time as your engine lifters.
What are engine lifters?
An engine’s cylinders contain pistons that move up and down to produce power. The pistons are connected to a crankshaft via connecting rods. They transmit combustion energy to move the pistons up and down.
Engine lifters ensure each piston travels smoothly by compensating for differences in the motor’s alignment or “clearances.” The engine lifters open the valves to allow air in and exhaust out of the pistons.
How do I know if my engine lifters need replacing?
There are many different ways to know if your engine lifters need to be replaced. Many of the signs are noticeable without completely taking your engine apart and checking on each lifter.
Here are some of the most common symptoms your engine lifters may need to be replaced
Engine loud knocking noises when accelerating
The vehicle has trouble accelerating
Poor gas mileage with a drop in MPG
Car vibrating as it goes down the road
The sound of metal hitting metal under the hood
Engine check engine light or other engine warning lights
These signs alone may not mean you need to replace your lifters, but if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms, it is likely time for an inspection.
Can I drive with bad engine lifters?
Although you can still drive the vehicle for short periods with a damaged lifter, it doesn’t mean you should. The damage that can come from driving it will be much worse than the cost of simply having the repair done.
If you drive with bad lifters, the chances of messing up your camshaft, pistons, or valves are much higher. The increased pressure on the pistons can lead to blown head gaskets and cracked cylinder heads.
Not using a properly operating engine can also lead to other problems that could be way more expensive than replacing lifters.
Can Engine Lifters Be Installed Wrong?
It’s necessary to get the correct information on your specific vehicle’s make, model, and year because engine lifters can be installed wrong.
When engine lifters are put in the wrong way, they can damage the engine. Here are some examples of what your mechanic must be aware of when replacing your engine’s lifters:
The cylinder numbering that the engine has can be different depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle.
This means that your mechanic must know your specific car’s engine number, which you can find on either the top or side of the engine block near the cylinder head area.
Cylinder Head Bolts
Your mechanic should know how to remove and replace these. They should also know how to torque them properly.
If the head gasket is not installed correctly, it can lead to further problems. This could cause leaking or potentially blow the engine if an incorrect seal is made between the cylinder head and engine block.
Using The Wrong Lifters
Be careful when ordering from sites like eBay and Amazon. If the wrong lifters are used, it can cause issues with your engine.
For example, you may end up using a single or double camshaft lifter when your vehicle needs an individual camshaft and small end lifter.
Less Expensive Brands May Leak Oil
In some cases, less expensive brands may leak oil. This can lead to more issues and problems for your engine.
It is important to note that if a brand new part is faulty, it should be repaired or replaced without any additional costs on your end.
Different Types of Engine Lifters
There are a few different types of engine lifters you should know about. This information is crucial because it affects the repairs’ price and how much time it takes to service your car’s engine block.
Hydraulic Valve Lifter (HL)
Hydraulic valve lifters are the most common type of engine lifters. They are designed to supply oil pressure inside the tappet bore and outside on the surface of the valve stem.
This allows for low friction, ensuring that valves remain tight with no leakage. These also ensure that your pistons will not collide with your valves or push them out of place.
Mechanical Lifter (ML)
These are also common types of engine lifters. However, they are different from the hydraulic lifter in two ways.
First, they have no oil pressure while the engine runs, so there is no lubrication for your valves or stem. Secondly, these rely on springs to push downward instead of being pushed by oil.
Roller Lifter (RL)
These work similarly to the hydraulic and mechanical types. However, rollers or balls help reduce friction between the valve stem and tappet bore with a roller lifter.
The benefit to this is it will increase power and create less wear on other parts such as valves and springs. These are also less likely to leak oil.
How to Maintain Your Engine Lifters
To maintain your engine lifters, you must have regular oil changes. This will ensure that the parts under your hood are well lubricated, which is especially important for any rocker arm assembly and hydraulic valve.
Lifters may not always need to be replaced if you hear noise from them. Adjusting your lifters can help with noise if you notice an issue. You can also use oil add-ons that reduce friction and ensure that your engine’s valves are always well lubricated.
If you are not a mechanically-inclined individual, we always recommend taking your car into a professional. If you attempt to replace or adjust these parts yourself, there is always the risk of causing more damage and prolonging the time it will take to get your engine back up and running.
Replacing or repairing engine lifters can be a costly and time-consuming process. However, if you’re experiencing problems with your car and it has engine lifters, this is something you must take care of as soon as possible.
The cost to replace or repair engine lifters will depend on where you go and your specific vehicle. Engine lifters can be expensive, so we generally recommend taking your car to a professional unless you are very experienced with cars and engine repair.
If you’re unsure whether or not your engine lifters need to be replaced, check for the symptoms we discussed above. If you notice any issues, then we also advise that you take your car to a professional as soon as possible.
Do not drive your car if you know the engine lifters are bad. This could cause more damage and cost you more money in the long run. Be proactive about taking care of these issues before they become too costly.