The chassis of a vehicle is the base frame which all the other vital components are connected to, such as the engine. There is something called an engine (motor) mount which allows the engine to stay firmly attached to the chassis. This prevents the engine from shaking or moving as you’re driving.
For example, when you drive over potholes or bumps in the road, the engine mount absorbs any sudden movement that the vehicle’s suspension doesn’t, so that the road surface doesn’t affect the engine’s position.
Engine mounts are all made differently in order to accommodate different make and model vehicles. You will usually find engine mounts containing metal and rubber materials. Let’s go over some of the signs that indicate your engine mounts are on the way out and what motor mounts cost to replace.
See Also: 4 Symptoms of a Bent Engine Valve
What Are Motor Mounts?
Motor mounts, also known as engine mounts, are structural components responsible for connecting your engine to the chassis of your vehicle. They play a critical role for your engine by absorbing vibrations and preventing unnecessary movement.
Typically made of rubber or filled with liquid, motor mounts act as a cushion between your engine and the vehicle’s frame. Their primary purpose is to secure the engine in place while dampening the vibrations it produces. By doing so, motor mounts contribute to a comfortable ride and protect crucial components of your car from the stress caused by engine vibration.
Types of Motor Mounts
To help you familiarize yourself with the different types of motor mounts, here’s a brief overview:
These are the most common type of motor mounts. Made from rubber, they offer excellent vibration absorption capabilities. Typically, rubber engine mounts are budget-friendly and simple to install and have been around for decades. However, over time, the rubber may deteriorate and lose its effectiveness.
An upgrade to rubber motor mounts, polyurethane mounts provide increased durability and resistance to heat and chemicals. Although they may transmit more vibrations, their stiffer construction allows for better performance and a more direct connection between your engine and your vehicle’s frame.
Utilizing fluid-filled chambers, hydraulic motor mounts are designed for better vibration reduction and the most comfortable ride you can get. These mounts are most commonly found on luxury or high-performance vehicles. While more expensive than other types, they provide an unparalleled level of comfort and performance.
Bad Engine Mount Symptoms
Engine mounts are small parts which might not look like much on the outside. But, they are very important because they’re responsible for keeping the engine stabilized and aligned with the frame of the vehicle.
If you were to have a bad engine mount because of excessive driving and wear and tear, then certain symptoms will develop. These symptoms need to be addressed soon or else they will get worse.
Here are the top 5 signs of a bad engine mount.
1) Bouncy Engine
The worst thing that can happen is for your engine mount to snap and break off completely. This would mean that your engine would have no stability or alignment whatsoever.
Instead, it will just bounce left and right as you put your foot on the gas pedal and the engine RPM rise. Then, if you were to go over a bump in the road, it could even bounce up and down.
All this bouncing is likely going to cause major damage to your engine and surrounding components. It could something simple like radiator fan that becomes misaligned and gets damaged from making contact with the surrounding shroud. Or it could be much more serious where an entire new engine is required.
2) Engine Vibrations
Since the engine mount stabilizes the engine, it only makes sense that a bad engine mount will cause instability with the engine. This means the engine is going to vibrate because it is not held firmly to the frame of the vehicle.
The passenger side of the cabin should feel the vibrations even more. Sometimes the driver won’t even notice these symptoms until they have another person sitting in the passenger’s seat.
3) Strange Sounds
When you have an engine that is shaking, vibrating, and moving around in the frame, then it is going to cause knocking and clanking noises to be made.
Although these sounds could be caused by other things too, you should definitely have a mechanic check your engine mount if you are experiencing any of the other symptoms listed here too.
4) Engine Misaligned
When the engine is misaligned, it will actually tilt toward one side more than the other side. If you suspect your engine mount is bad because the other symptoms listed here are present, then pop open the hood and visually inspect the engine and how it sits.
Even being tilted at a very slight angle is a good indicator whether one or more engine mounts are truly bad.
5) Broken Belts and Hoses
When you have an engine that is not stable because of a bad engine mount, the most fragile components in the engine are going to break easily.
This means the belts and hoses are likely going to get damaged, especially as you accelerate in your vehicle.
Causes of Engine Mount Failure
Despite their overall durability and long lifespan, motor mounts can eventually wear down and fail. In this section, you’ll learn about the most common reasons for motor mount failure.
Age and Mileage
Like most other components of a vehicle, motor mounts gradually wear out over time. In general, you might start experiencing issues with the mounts after around 200,000 miles although it can happen much sooner.
Over time, the rubber or polyurethane materials in the mounts can deteriorate, leading to a loss of support and stability for your engine. This is why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the condition of your motor mounts, particularly if your vehicle has logged a significant amount of miles.
Engine and Transmission Torque
Another factor that can contribute to motor mount failure is the constant force exerted by the engine and transmission. This torque can cause stress on the mounts, eventually leading to their failure.
Some engines, like those in trucks and high performance cars, naturally produce more torque than others, so the specific make and model of your vehicle may have an impact on the lifespan of your motor mounts.
Fluid Leaks and Seal Damage
As your engine racks up the miles, leaks happen, whether from seals, hoses, lines, caps, or components themselves. When exposed to oil and other fluids from these leaks, the rubber or polyurethane material in the motor mounts can break down more quickly, leading to premature failure.
If you notice any oil or transmission fluid leaks, it’s important to get these repaired quickly because your engine mounts may suffer because of it.
Is It Safe to Drive With a Bad Engine Mount?
Driving with a bad engine mount can be a risky decision, especially if you’re unaware of the potential consequences. While it may not seem like a big deal at the start, ignoring the problem could lead to further damage and costly repairs. Here’s why we don’t recommend driving with a failed engine mount.
The biggest issue with a bad motor mount is that it can cause your engine to move and vibrate excessively. This can lead to a clunking noise when shifting gears, components such as the radiator fan or drive belt becoming misaligned, and even damage to the engine. The increased engine movement can place unnecessary strain on all sorts of engine components, ultimately shortening their lifespan.
Furthermore, excessive vibrations can make your drive uncomfortable and distract you, possibly reducing your focus on the road.
Worst of all, if a motor mount completely breaks off, your entire engine will shift (possibly breaking another mount) and complete engine failure now becomes a possiblity.
Motor Mount Replacement Cost
The average replacement cost for an engine mount is anywhere from $400 to $800 but it’s worth noting that engines have multiple engine mounts. Even though you may only have one mount that has failed, it’s usually a good idea to replace the entire set to save time an money in the long run.
The actual cost of the parts and labor can vary, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. As already mentioned, the type of mount (rubber, polyurethane, or hydraulic) has a direct effect on price.
The engine mounts themselves will likely be between $100 and $300, while the labor costs will be between $300 and $500. The engine must be supported to take the weight off of the engine mounts. Some vehicles need to be put into service mode, and other components need to be removed to access the engine mounts. All of these steps take extra labor time on certain vehicles.
Unless you already have a regular mechanic that you can trust, it makes a lot of sense to shop around and get multiple quotes for this type of repair. Do your research online as to what the mounts actually cost so you have a good idea of what to expect.