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Yes I'm aware of the infamous lifter tick at normal start-ups but this seems far worse. When the car has sat overnight in some pretty cold nights - I get a very, very loud tap at original startup which does not go away if I leave it running. (Well I've been too afraid to let it run too long to see if it actually would go away. Longest I've done was about 5 minutes). I have to shut the engine down, and restart it then it's as if it never happened. Quite honestly, all I need to do to remedy the tap is start - immediately shut off and then restart. I'm just worried something is going bad and I don't want to tear the top off if it's unnecessary at this point.

Anybody have any ideas or things I should look into? I bought this car to learn about mechanic work so I'm not very skilled but am willing to do what's necessary to learn and fix!
Yeah, do what the person above me said. It's probably getting cold around there at this point so you might want to switch to an oil that has a lower low-temp viscosity to see if that helps at all. Your symptoms remind me of when I did my timing belt change over two weeks and had the engine open the whole time. When I started the car back up I had a horrid, loud tapping sound that did not go away for at least 15 minutes. I turned the car off at that point and turned it on again, and it never came back.

Switch oil, Seafoam, etc. I think you'll be just fine.
 

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Same is happening for me. I got an oil change not too long ago but the tapping is came back.
Have you run Seafoam/equivalent through or done any of the recommended flushes? I'd start there first, change the oil and give it another go. For what it's worth, Mobil 1 10w30 has been great for my 1.6. I don't know if it was a combination of the flushes or what, but I have no cold tick, and hot tick only near the end of my oil change cycle (every 5-6k or so, I only change it once a year since I only drive the car from May>November).
 
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