Skip to Content

Can a Bad Lifter Cause Misfire? (Explained)

When your car misfires, you are likely to be concerned. Not understanding why your car misfires could make you more anxious. Spark plugs, piston cylinders, and such can all cause misfiring. But most people have no idea what lifters do to their engines.

Can a bad lifter cause misfire?

There is a possibility of misfiring if the engine has a bad lifter. Having more than one bad lifter will increase the number of misfires. The bad lifters will make a noise that will make you aware that something went wrong. Afterward, you can expect the engine to misfire shortly.

The correct way to operate a modern engine requires the maintenance of four steps. The first step is to deliver the mixture of air and oil to the engine properly. Then compress the mixture. After that, ignite the mixture. Finally expelling the exhaust gas.

The valve controls how much oil and air goes into the engine and how much goes out. And controls the movement of the lifter valve.

When an engine lifter fails, the valve goes bad. The fuel cannot get into combustion properly. In addition, the engine cannot exhaust its emissions. Therefore, there is constant misfiring in that chamber.

Multiple damaged lifters will lead to multiple combustion problems. And there is a possibility of multiple misfires.

Despite this, there are many other reasons for misfires. Misfires are not immediately caused by bad hydraulic lifters, although it is one of the main causes. Most lifter failures do not cause a misfire.

However, you need to check if the lifter is malfunctioning. To determine whether the lifter is faulty, you should listen to the engine to determine if any other sounds are coming from it.

How does a bad lifter cause misfire?

There are multiple combustion chambers in a combustion engine. Each chamber has its valve. Its first function is to transmit a mixture of fuel and air into the chamber. Second, burning the fuel and converting it into kinetic energy, and expelling the emitted gas.

During fluctuation, a valve continues to open and close. Lifters control this constant fluctuation. Breaking a lifter causes the valve to stop working in this chamber.

Air and fuel cannot flow freely through this chamber. As a result of the irregular sending of fuel, the chamber cannot function. Consequently, it misfires.

Regardless of the fuel flow, the exhaust of the engine depends on the valve. Damage to the lift means that the valve won’t operate. This prevents exhaust emissions from occurring. Without exhaust, the combustion chamber won’t work.

What are the symptoms of a bad lifter?

The following are some notable symptoms:

Unusual sound:

Lifter sound generally refers to the movement of a lifter in an engine and corresponds to the sound of the engine. However, when the lifter breaks down, the engine makes an unusual sound.

A strange and extra noise from the engine may indicate that something unusual is happening. Most likely the lifter is the culprit here.

Broken rocker arm and valve:

In a combustion engine, the valve, rocker arm, and pushrod are directly connected to the lifter.

Pushrods, valves, and rocker arms might break if the lifter isn’t working correctly. You may also damage the combustion chamber if you drive in such a condition.

Oil block:

During the combustion process, the lifter affects the amount of fuel transported. The oil flow can be blocked if the lifter doesn’t work properly. A faulty lifter can prevent the exhaust from working.

Engine misfire:

The lifter may not be working properly when the engine misfires. It is most likely caused by a bad lifter if the engine misfires more than once.

Engine light indication:

Every engine contains a variety of sensors that monitor performance and ensure safety. Whenever a lifter in the engine fails to work properly, one of the sensors will detect it and display an indicator light.

What damage can a bad lifter do?

It is never a good idea to run a vehicle with a bad lifter. Damaged lifters can harm cars and engines in multiple ways.

Power loss:

When a lifter is damaged, the first thing that comes to mind is power loss. In other words, the damaged lifter in that chamber cannot function at all. This results in a loss of power.

Destruction of various parts:

As a lifter is a moving part, if it is damaged, it could damage all the parts attached to it.

For instance, the camshaft breaks, the rocker arm loosens, the pusher bends, or the valve breaks.

Parts of them will not be destroyed all at once; they will be destroyed one after another. In the worst-case scenario, the entire combustion chamber is rendered useless.

Oil pressure is abnormal:

In general, a lifter operates the oil pressure of a conversion chamber. The lifter will be unable to maintain oil pressure if there is a problem with it. This may result in abnormal pressure on the chamber.

How long can you drive with bad lifters?

It is not recommended to drive long distances with a bad lifter. So if your engine lifter is malfunctioning, try not to drive so far. Identify the problem right away and fix it.

A bad lifter won’t stop an engine from running. It’s not in your favor all the time. Approximately 1 km of drive can destroy all combustion chambers due to a broken lifter.

How much does it cost to fix a bad lifter?

A lifter for an engine can cost anywhere from $10 to $50. However, if you want to replace a bad lifter and install a new one, you will need to be prepared to spend at least $250 to $500 including the labor bill.

Prices will vary depending on the condition of the lifter. You should set aside at least $1000 to $1500 if you want to replace all the lifters in the engine.

Final Thought

A bad lifter can lead to engine misfiring. Bad lifters prevent fuel from reaching the combustion chamber. The exhaust cannot even reach the atmosphere. Hence, the combustion chamber misfires. Having problems with different lifters can lead to multiple misfires.