So, your car is making a noise and it’s driving you nuts. You may be wondering, will thicker oil stop lifter noise? Will thicker oil stop engine knocking? Well, there’s no direct answer to those questions because it depends on what’s causing the noise in the first place.
That’s why it’s important to start by identifying the noise and looking for its source. Lifter noise, which is a ticking or tapping kind of sound that comes from under the valve covers, usually disappears once there’s enough oil running through the system.
Lifter noise is one kind of noise, but there’s also rod knock noise, which is a tapping sound that comes from deep inside the engine. Not to mention, things wear and tear over time, which can also cause noises. Oil is meant to stall the effects of wear and tear, which is why it’s vital to keep your vehicle well-oiled.
Today, we will discuss the three main causes of motor noise we already mentioned more in-depth and we will also provide a few thick oil solutions you should consider because they are among the best on the market!
But before you use a different oil, make sure to check the owner’s manual of the vehicle. There, you will be able to check the recommendations from the manufacturer and make sure to follow them. Of course, you can still use an oil that’s one weight lighter or heavier than what’s recommended, but always make sure to check the recommendation from the manufacturer.
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Will Thicker Oil Stop Lifter Noise?
If your lifter noise is hydraulic, a thicker oil will not stop the noise. In fact, it can make the noise louder because it takes longer for thicker oil to get all the way to the top of your motor.
Most vehicles feature hydraulic valve lifters, except the ones that come with overhead cams because they don’t have filters. Now, hydraulic valve lifters have a tiny hole in the unit’s body, through which the oil can enter.
A thicker oil could fail to fill the filter quick enough, especially not if your car is not warm, so will definitely hear a filter noise. Usually, this noise goes away once the oil and the vehicle heat up.
If the noise is persistent even after your car is warm, it’s possible that you don’t have one faulty filter, but multiple. As the oil gets dirty, the chances of lifter noise increase and thicker oil can make it worse, so you need to change your oil regularly.
When it comes to the oil change, you have to do it every 3,000 to 5,000 miles according to most recommendations. Dirty oil should be avoided like the plague because it ruins lubrication and motor life.
To sum things up, lifter noise is more often caused by the oil you’re using, dirt accumulation, or it could also be that the lifters are too old. You need to make sure you’re using the right oil, it shouldn’t be too thick or too thin.
If the lifter noise is caused by dirt accumulation, an oil additive for lifter noise can be very helpful. Consider Liqui Moly or Marvel Mystery Oil, which are high-quality oil additives from trusted brands.
Will Thicker Oil Stop Engine Knocking?
Engine knocking is one of the most annoying sounds your car can make. It’s a constant pinging coming from the engine and there are many reasons why it could be happening. Maybe there’s an imbalance in the air to fuel mixture, causing the gas to burn unevenly.
Or perhaps the engine is lacking lubrication, specifically around the upper cylinder head. If the lifters and valves in the area are not properly lubricated, it will lead to that engine knocking sound that’s annoying you so much.
That’s where a thicker oil or an oil additive can help to reduce or eliminate the noise. You can go for a thicker oil that’s a weight higher than what you’re using and go from there or use oil additives such as Archoil AR9100 to help out the engine and prevent engine knocking or make it stop if your vehicle is already making the noise.
Older engines also increase the risk of developing this kind of noise because they have a lot more lubrication issues. In that case, even using synthetic oil may not be enough when the engine has parts that are rusted or corroded. In certain cases, a thicker oil can prolong the engine’s life and reduce the noise, but in other cases, it won’t do much. But you can always fix your lifter noise.
How Can I Stop Rod Knock Noise?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a rod knock noise may mean your engine is coming to an end. However, you can use a thicker oil to make it last longer. With wear and tear through the years, the connecting rod bearing will wear down, creating a space between the bearing and the rod bigger than ever.
That means that it won’t be able to hold the oil necessary to lubricate and cushion everything as it should be. Because there’s extra space, the crankshaft will hit the rod and produce the rod knock noise. If you introduce an oil that’s thicker, it will cushion the gap.
We recommend SAE 10W-40 motor oil because it will remain thick even while your car is operating and the temperature rises, such as the Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology. You can also consider using an oil additive, as the Sea Foam SF-16.
Do keep in mind that a thicker oil will not be a definitive solution. It can definitely reduce or even eliminate the noise for a certain amount of time and give your engine more time, but you will eventually have to deal with it by rebuilding it, getting a new engine, or buying a new car entirely.
What If My Car’s Noises Are Due to Wear and Tear?
As the years go by, your vehicle will develop more and more noises under the hood. Most of them will come from peripheral parts such as water pumps, wearing parts, loose parts, or power steering. It’s not always easy to isolate the noise to determine what’s causing them, so you may want to visit your mechanic to get a full diagnosis and professional suggestions.
How to Switch to a Thicker Oil
Thicker oils or oil additives with a thickening effect will prolong the life span of older engines by filling the gaps between the moving parts that are made of metal and adhering a lot better to those parts. However, you don’t want to switch from a lighter weight to a heavier one in one go.
You want to go one grade at a time until you reach the desired grade. The same goes for oil additives. Once you choose the right oil additive for your needs, start by using a part of the bottle. Sometimes, less is best.
If you’re going with an oil additive, wait until you have to make an oil change and leave some oil out so you can add the appropriate amount of oil additive. Oil additives will add volume, so they can put more pressure on the seals and gaskets, which may lead to a leak if the gasket fails. Overall, switching to a thicker oil or using an oil additive will not be a vaccine for all your vehicle issues, but it can extend the life of the vehicle.
When you’re ready to pour in the thicker motor oil, warm up your engine well. Give it enough time so the oil can do its job more effectively. Remember that thicker oil will take longer to reach operating temperature, which means it will take longer to lubricate everything.
Should I Consider Thicker Synthetic Oil?
If you’re considering a thicker synthetic oil, it’s usually a good option. It will lubricate the engine a lot better, that’s for certain. However, you have to be careful, especially if your vehicle is on the older side. In some cases, using this kind of oil can actually cause engine noises that weren’t there, to begin with.
This oil is super slick, which means it can go through borderline bearing clearances and fail to provide enough lubrication when the engine is older. If you switched to synthetic oil and it caused a new noise that wasn’t there before, you want to drain it out and change back to the oil you were using before or try a thicker oil if your engine can manage it.
In most cases, this kind of oil won’t cause noises but it will allow you to notice noises that were already there and were just being disguised by the oil you were using before. Remember, synthetic oil is slicker and purer, so if your other oil was filling some gaps or masking a noise, it will become evident when you make the switch.
Synthetic oil is known to provide better performance than standard motor oil in most cases. However, it can either cause or unmask a noise that will not make you happy. You can also how you can use synthetic oil for lifter noise.
If your engine is older, synthetic oil won’t work as well for your vehicle as it does for others, so that’s something to keep in mind. Older engines can benefit from thicker oils, as we discussed above, but not so much from slick oils like synthetic ones.