Loud ticking at startup

On a cold startup my 2003 silverado makes a loud ticking sound for anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on how cold it is and then goes away.

Any ideas?

The noise might be from piston slap. The GM V8 engines of this era were prone to developing this tapping noise on a cold start from piston slap.


We have owned the truck since 2005 and it always has had a little bit of a ticking sound from piston slap but it has only been in the last 2 months that there is a really loud ticking sound on a cold start. Since the soun eventually goes away I was told it would not be lifters.

What malkes you think the “loud ticking noise” is from piston slap?
Most ticking on startup is from the tappets, since the oil probably drained down overnight. If it is the lifters, it does go away once the oil presuure builds up! I have had 3 Chevrolets that did this over the yeras.

Sounds like you have one or more bad valve lifters that bleed down overnight and take a while to pump back up. If your 2003 truck still has adjustable rockers, getting all the lifters properly adjusted might be the solution. It would be a good place to start.

How long has it been doing this? When was you last oil change (time and miles)?

I give it oil changes about every 3000 miles the last oil change was about 2 months ago and the noise started about 2 months ago also and there are about 2000 miles since the last oil change.
I’m also wondering if maybe it is an exhaust leak since it goes away when it’s warm