The motor mount or engine mount is not just something that holds the engine in place, it does more than that. While it is designed and built to secure the engine and the transmission of the car to the subframe, it is also made to absorb vibrations and shocks. This ensures that the drivers won’t be able to feel any movement of the engine. But the motor mount can go bad over time. It can suffer wear and tear since it deals with thousands of stops and starts through the years. Its rubber that holds the metal can crack or fall apart that can warrant a motor mount replacement. Motor mounts usually last 5 to 7 years. If you are due for a motor mount replacement, it usually costs around $200 to $570.
Motor Mount Replacement: Can You Drive with Bad Motor Mounts?
When your vehicle calls for a motor mount replacement, it is important that it is done right away. If you are asking if you can still drive a car with bad motor mounts, here’s what you need to know. Motor mounts are needed to hold the engine in place. This is because the engine and the transmission are bolted together and mounts can help keep both of them from moving around. A vehicle usually has three to four motor mounts. One motor mount goes on the car frame and the other motor mounts physically keep the engine in place.
These motor mounts are very important since the internal combustion engine of a car is heavy. The engine vibrates, rattles, and rotates around too, when it is operating. Without motor mounts, or good, working ones, it will shake and may cause damages to the surrounding components.
Motor mounts help keep things stable. Vehicles are equipped with motor mounts to stabilize the engine and reduce the vibrations produced in the internal combustion process, making the vehicle run safer and making the ride more smoother.
The motor mounts are usually made of rubber to keep the metal parts of the engine and the body of the car from rubbing or crashing against each other. There are some that are filled up with liquid to improve the reduction of vibrations or make use of some vacuum-controlled capabilities that can automatically decrease vibrations and noise depending on the atmosphere.
Now, these motor mounts can become faulty over time. They begin to show wear after five to seven years and a motor mount replacement may be required. The motor mount’s rubber parts may crack or the steel brackets can break. If its rubber parts are compromised, it might still be able to hold the frame but it will no longer be capable of absorbing the shocks and vibrations.
You can still drive a car with a bad motor mount, but the driving experience will no longer be the same. You can continue to drive it until the motor mounts expire, wearing out much further and losing their ability to hold the car frame firmly.
When you continue to drive, ignoring the call for a motor mount replacement and you reach this point, driving it will be very dangerous. If the motor mounts have failed, completely broken from the engine or the car frame, the engine can shift from side to side, bouncing or vibrating around. It can cause severe damage to its surrounding parts. The parts could also fly off if you are running at a high speed. You might not only be dealing with a damaged motor mount anymore, but also a lot of damaged car components that can affect the drivability of the car.
It is for this reason that you should not drive your car if you know that it has bad motor mounts. It is best that you take it to an auto repair shop and have it repaired by a professional. If a motor mount replacement is needed, then it must be done as soon as possible.
Motor Mount Replacement: What Happens If You Don't Fix Motor Mounts?
If your vehicle’s motor mount suffers wear and tear and needs motor mount replacement, it needs to be addressed immediately to prevent other potential problems from occurring. You will know if you have problems with your motor mount when you experience any of these symptoms.
- Excessive vibrations
Since the motor mount can no longer secure the engine in place, an increased vibration will be felt when you use your vehicle. If you notice that your vehicle is suddenly making more noise and you are feeling more vibrations than usual, it might be an indication that you have a faulty motor mount. It might be damaged or worn and will need a motor mount replacement.
- Car not riding smoothly
If you feel a jolt when you are changing gears on an attached transmission while you are driving your car, it could be a sign that your motor mount is failing. You may feel this jolt when you are driving at a high speed since it is at this point that your engine is working harder. The ride may feel rough and not as smooth as usual. To be sure, have your vehicle checked by a professional.
- Engine is bouncy
When your vehicle is due for a motor mount replacement, it means that it has to be done soon since a bad motor mount can snap and break off completely. It is probably the worst thing that can happen to it. When this happens, the engine will not be held into place and won’t have the needed stability and alignment. It can bounce from one side to another as you step on the gas pedal and accelerate. If you drive over bumps and other road flaws, the engine could bounce up and down, which can lead to severe damages to the engine and its components.
- Engine is misaligned
An engine tilted towards one side more than the other means that it is misaligned. A misaligned engine is often an indication that your motor mount has failed. If you notice that your engine is misaligned, along with any of the other symptoms of a bad motor mount, have your car checked immediately and have it repaired.
- Noise in the engine bay
When you hear any noises coming from the engine bay such as banging, clanking, or any other sound that is caused by an impact, it might be caused by a motor mount that has worn out. The sounds can be heard since the engine is not held in place anymore. The problem can be corrected by doing a motor mount replacement.
- Broken components
Due to excessive shaking or vibrations caused by an unsteady engine, its surrounding components can become damaged, especially the most fragile ones such as the hoses and belts. You may want to have a visual inspection on the engine and its components and look for any signs of cracks and damages if you suspect that your motor mount is failing.
Motor mounts that are faulty need to be repaired immediately. Failing to do so can lead to a catastrophic failure. The engine block can become damaged, including the most fragile parts of the engine. When the engine is not held in place like it’s supposed to, it can hit its surrounding area which can cause the said damages. Driving with damaged components can not only compromise the safety of the driver but also the safety of the other drivers and pedestrians.
Motor Mount Replacement: Is Replacing Motor Mounts Expensive?
A motor mount replacement usually costs between $200 and $570. The cost can still go up to $1,000 or more depending on the vehicle you own and the labor time it takes to do the replacement. The price is a bit expensive since a motor mount replacement involves lifting of the engine. Although there are many people who say that they have replaced their motor mounts on their own, which only costs them about $100 or less, the experts do not recommend it. In any repair that requires the engine to be lifted, it is best that the professionals handle it since one small mistake can cause severe damages to your engine and your car.
A motor mount replacement done in an auto repair shop can be a bit costly since it requires a lot of effort and time to lift the engine out of the way. Then there are a number of parts that have to be loosened or removed. There are times where the bolts are difficult to remove since they have become rusted in place. If the hoses, belts, or gaskets are damaged, you will have to replace them as well.
Plus, to take out the engine, it needs to be jacked up or lifted up using an engine hoist to get its weight off the damaged or worn mounts before a motor mount replacement can be done. It also needs a lot of time to replace the motor mount and put everything they removed back in the vehicle.
The amount of time needed to complete the process can vary depending on the repair shop that does the motor mount replacement. Some may use a standard labor time estimate while some may quote less time. It is best that you come prepared and do your research. Ask around for quotes and hourly labor rates from various auto repair shops. You can then compare and choose the best one. However, be wary of the repair shop that offers a price that seems too good to be true.
Motor Mount Replacement: Can You Replace Motor Mounts Yourself?
If you know your way around cars and have the right tools or equipment, you can do the motor mount replacement yourself by following these steps. But, you need to consult your owner’s manual first for any specific instructions.
- Put wheel chocks behind your car’s rear wheels and open the hood.
- Find the motor mounts. Make sure that you check the engine and accessory clearance to the firewall. You don’t want to damage your radiator hoses, AC lines, or your distributor cap.
- Jack up the front of your car. Make sure that the parking brake is on. You need to support it with jack stands. The engine also needs to be supported by using a jack with a big jack pad or a sturdy wood block. Don't use too much pressure to ease the weight of the engine off the motor mounts.
- Loosen and remove the motor mount bolts from the engine side and the bolts on the chassis side by using a socket and long extension.
- Jack up the engine slowly, a little at a time, checking if you have enough clearance after every full pump.
- Remove the motor mount.
- If there is any heat or drip shields, transfer it to the new motor mount and slide it into place.
- Thread in the chassis bolts and tighten it by hand before lowering the engine.
- Lower the engine slowly and tighten all the bolts fully.
- When replacing more than one motor mount, repeat the process.
Motor Mount Replacement: Should I Replace All Motor Mounts?
Since a car usually has three to four motor mounts, is it necessary to replace all if one is damaged and needs a motor mount replacement? Although it is not necessary to replace all your car’s motor mounts at once, if you choose not to replace them all, you need to make sure that you have time to check on them regularly. This is because all your motor mounts are likely to be the same age as the one that needs replacing and the other mounts might also begin to fail soon.
When you need a motor mount replacement, you need to do it sooner since one damaged motor mount can put more pressure on the other motor mounts. When this happens, the other motor mounts tend to wear faster and you might need to replace them all, all at once. Replacing all the motor mounts at once can also be beneficial. With all the motor mounts having the same specs, you will have a better alignment and a much lesser vibration.