How to Test Hydraulic Lifters: A Comprehensive Guide

Hydraulic lifters are essential components in the engine’s valve train system, and they must function optimally for the engine to perform efficiently. A faulty lifter can cause engine noise, power loss, and reduced fuel economy. To avoid such problems, it’s crucial to inspect the hydraulic lifters regularly.

The process typically involves verifying sufficient oil flow and checking the outer lifter body for damage. Additionally, a range of specialized tools is utilized for hydraulic lifter inspection and maintenance. Regular inspection and maintenance can extend the hydraulic lifter’s lifespan, reduce engine wear and tear, and help improve engine efficiency.

Testing Hydraulic Lifters: A Comprehensive Guide


Methods To Test Hydraulic Lifters

There are three methods to test hydraulic lifters.

  1. The first method is visual inspection, which involves removing the valve covers and checking for any signs of wear or damage.
  2. The second method is hydraulic lifter compression test, which requires a compression tester to check the lifters’ ability to maintain pressure.
  3. The final method is the engine oil pressure test, which involves connecting a pressure gauge to the engine to check if the lifters are receiving enough oil pressure.

One of the most important factors to consider when testing hydraulic lifters is their ability to maintain consistent pressure while in use.

It is crucial to choose the right testing method based on the specific symptoms or issues experienced by your vehicle’s lifters.

Noisy Hydraulic Tappets/Lifter/Lash Adjuster: inspection, cleaning and bleeding.

Common Mistakes When Testing Hydraulic Lifters

When testing hydraulic lifters, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes during visual inspection and compression tests. These errors can lead to overlooking the role of engine oil in hydraulic lifters and result in misinterpretation of engine oil pressure tests. A careful and keen eye is required to ensure that all visual inspection and compression test procedures are conducted properly.

It’s important to learn about how hydraulic lifters work and the critical role they play in the engine’s performance. By following the correct procedures, mechanics can ensure accurate results and reliable hydraulic lifters. Remember to use high-quality equipment and observe safety procedures during inspections and testing.

By avoiding common mistakes and following correct procedures, you can be confident in the hydraulic lifters in your engine.


After reading this comprehensive guide on how to test hydraulic lifters, you can confidently diagnose and troubleshoot any issues you may be having with your engine. By following these simple steps and utilizing the right tools, you can easily determine if your lifters are functioning properly or if they need to be replaced.

Remember, proper maintenance and regular inspections can extend the lifespan of your engine and save you money in the long run. Additionally, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with testing your hydraulic lifters on your own, seek out professional help from a qualified mechanic.

By staying proactive and informed, you can ensure that your engine runs smoothly and efficiently for years to come.