there was a ticking sound coming from my boyfriends truck Tuesday...once he had driven it for a little while the noise stopped...I asked him to check the oil and when he did, it was close to dry. We put two quarts in and he ran it around the block and no noise. On Wednesday he took it to work and on the way home the noise began again. No warning lights of oil or over heating are appearing on the inside panels. Once he drove a while, again the ticking stopped. When he got home, he checked the oil and there was plenty. He has not gotten an oil change in a very long time, my initial thoughts are possibly the filter is clogged and is not putting oil where it needs to be until the truck warms up and the pistons are being lubricated.
Any thoughts?????

  • Get an oil change first. If the issue persists after oil change as well, please come back and update the question. Also helps to know the year, make, model of the truck.
    – rana
    Sep 10, 2015 at 15:56

2 Answers 2


The ticking noise is probably a sticky lifter, push rod, or rocker arm. For a variety of reasons, one of these might momentarily lose contact with the other. The lifter touches the push rod, the push rod also touches the rocker arm, and the rocker arm touches the valve stem. If any of these parts are "sticky" you can get a click. When things warm up, the stickiness might go away.

The actual cause of the stickiness that is making things click might be harmless (rocker arm has extra play) or potentially deadly to the engine (no oil or bad oil).

Based on what you've said, get an oil and filter change NOW! Oil should be changed at least every 5000 miles. Don't worry about getting Synthetic. That's for extending the oil life, and there's a lot of debate about that. What you need now is new oil.


As well as @BillN 's excellent answer, it could also be that there is an exhaust leak between one of the heads and the exhaust manifold. This often sounds like valve train noise or can even sounds like a rod knock sometimes.

As the exhaust manifolds heat up, they expand. This squeezes things back together and the noise will stop.

What you'd be looking for is carbon tracks (black suet) somewhere around the exhaust manifolds. It will be darker near the junction of the manifold/head and lighten in color as you go away from that junction. Most likely it won't be that large of an area either, probably just a 1/4" or so in size (away from the junction). It can be wide along the manifold, but if this is a new noise, it probably won't be yet.

To fix this, you would need to replace the exhaust manifold gasket(s).

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