Engine clatter for a short time on startup after engine mileage reached 150K

A great car but am wondering about this issue.
Thanks for any thoughts,

This makes me wonder about lubrication issues with your engine.
Assuming that you’ve already checked the oil level and added oil if necessary, it would be helpful if we knew about your oil change regimen–in terms of both odometer miles and elapsed time.

I had a noise that sounded so much like valve clatter on startup, turned out to be a bad tensioner.

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How long does the clatter last? I’ve noticed it for a matter of a moment, no more, on our low mileage CR-V, but probably less than a second. The engine uses 0W-20 “oil” and I imagine there is a very brief interval between crank and full pressure in the system. I can hear it in the garage, with the window open at the driver’s seat, but not outside.

Maybe I’m fooling myself.

Does this engine have adjustable valve clearances? Or hydraulic lifters?

Hi jries007:
Can you define “for a short time”?

Are you talking about 2-3 seconds, or several minutes, or longer?

Does it only happen if starting a cold engine or an engine that has been off for some period of time?

If you shutoff a warmed up engine for only 5 seconds, does the clatter happen when you restart it?

Try adding a can of Restore to the oil. I found it helped quiet older noisy engines. That assumes nothing major is wrong

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I’ve never heard anything resembling “clatter” at start up on any of my cars. I’m guessing something is indeed amiss. Presuming the oil level is correct and both oil & oil filter in good condition, suggest to ask your shop to measure the oil pressure using their shop gauge. That might provide a clue. While there ask if the noise sounds more like valves or timing chain (if applicable).

Five days later, the OP has not returned to answer my questions regarding his oil change regimen.

Sorry to be so late answering… The clatter is brief upon startup… only about 2 or 3 seconds and it usually is more noisy if the car has been sitting for a few days or longer. I believe it has hydraulic lifters and the engine is Hyundai’s V6 3.2 liter?. This is a great engine and very highly regarded by most mechanics. We change the oil consistently and have recorded all the required maintenance that we have done faithfully, ever since we bought the car a dozen years ago. It is the best vehicle and most reliable and trouble free vehicle we have ever owned. All the optional safety and technical components have worked perfectly, and still do. This model was Hyundai’s best one in 2006 and deservedly so.

How often is the oil changed, in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time?

Hi jries007:
Make sure you are using a filter that doesn’t have a faulty drain back valve. It was an issue on Hyundai vehicles.

See the following TSB:

If your drain back valve is faulty, your engine may clatter from low oil pressure for the first few seconds on startup until the oil pump replenishes the oil drained from the filter.


Good ideas above. Another source for a “clatter” sound is pre-ignition. Severe engine pinging in other words. That will cause a clatter sound. Ask your shop to check for ignition timing problems during start-up, and (less likely) signs of engine-coking.

Yeah I would 2nd the drain back valve so might be worth an oil and filter change. My Olds that used to sit all the time and I would start it up once a month, would have a rough idle from time to time. Just for a minute until the lifters got filled back up with oil.

Now on my Cutlass way back, at about 220,000 it started a pretty bad valve clatter and finally I decided to look at it. Taking the valve cover off I found a couple of the rocker arm keepers worn and a couple rocker arms. I replaced those for about $4 and everything was quiet after that. Why I continued to use Pennzoil after that still, I don’t know. It would be a few years yet before I wouldn’t even put it in my lawn mower.

But for sure, I don’t know anything about how the rockers arms are in yours, but if they all clatter, versus just a few . . .

My first thought here is a cheap or defective oil filter with an inadequate anti-drainback valve. It could also be a sign of something more serious but I don’t like to jump to drastic conclusions without trying the simple stuff first. I would make sure you are using an OEM oil filter or a high quality aftermarket oil filter. On my daughter’s Hyundai that clattered a bit at startup I switched her to better oil filters and now her car starts up quiet with zero clatter.

If upgrading oil filters doesn’t solve the problem then you will have to start trouble shooting a potentially more serious oil pressure issue.

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Seven days after I asked this question the first time, and two days after my second attempt, we still have no response from the OP on this issue: