How to know when to replace motor mounts

Time to replace motor mounts on your car?

Worn engine mounts might be causing those vibrations. How do you know if your car needs new engine mounts?

There are various methods of determining whether or not your engine mounts are in need of replacement, but here are 5 key indicators to keep an eye out for to know when to replace motor mounts…

5 Signs You Need to Replace Motor Mounts on Your Car:

1. Excess Noise

The most common symptom of bad/failing engine mounts presents as a lot of noise coming from your engine.  Keep an ear out for any strange sounds, like knocking or clanking, as this is a pretty clear indicator that something is wrong.  Not every noise is directly related to your engine mount, but it is almost certainly related to some kind of problem that requires attention.

2. Vibration

Engine mounts, as the name might suggest, are designed to securely keep an engine in place.  One of the first tell-tale signs that it may be time to replace one is if you’re experiencing excessive vibration.  While your car may make some noises that sound as though something’s vibrating, this type of vibration is actually felt, instead.  The vibration dampening effect of the engine mount may be diminished, which will transmit the vibration and noise from the engine, through the chassis (frame) and into the cabin.

3. Misalignment

Your car’s engine is a finely tuned, intricate piece of machinery.  As such, one of the key roles of engine mounts is to keep the engine is properly aligned/positioned.  This is to ensure that the height is equal on all sides.  A sure-fire indicator that you might be in the market for a new engine mount, is if you notice your engine drooping to one side.  This is a simple visual check under the hood, and could save you a lot of time, money, and heartache, should your engine’s tilting become excessive enough to cause real damage.

4. Broken Belts and Hoses

Bad engine mounts can also lead to damaged fan belts and/or radiator hoses.  While this typically occurs at high speeds, it’s important to check your belts and hoses for any damage.

5. Damage to the Engine

This isn’t so much a symptom, but a result.  Should an engine mount completely break off from an engine, any/all support for that side will be gone.  This will cause the engine to bounce and shift from side-to-side.  While this is obviously detrimental to the health of the engine, operating your vehicle under these circumstances could cause your engine to jerk and bounce so violently that components fly off, creating a significant safety risk for you and other motorists.

Why do engine mounts go bad?

Some of the reasons your mounts could break/fail are:

1. Improper Installation

It’s important that if your car needs to have motor mounts installed/replaced, that it be taken to a reputable, qualified service center that has the proper equipment.  While they not be as costly, taking your car to a less-reputable shop may result in the improper installation of your mounts, which will lead to break down/failure a lot sooner.

2. Worn/Defective Mounts

Sometimes, albeit rarely, the engine mounts you purchase from the manufacturer can be worn/defective.  Be on the lookout for any service bulletins to determine if the mounts you’re purchasing have been recalled.

3. Age/Stress

Nothing lasts forever, and this is true for engine mounts, as well.  Engine mounts go bad due to age and stress. The rubber casing will deteriorate after time, much like a rubber band will lose its elasticity over time, which will start to develop small cracks, which will, in turn, cause the fluid from within to leak out. Once the fluid leaks out of a liquid-filled engine mount, it should be replaced. Not doing so will cause vibrations and noise to be transmitted into the cabin.

4. Driving Style (Manual Transmission)

One of the best parts of driving a stick, is being in control of your car.  You tell it when, where, and how to shift.  You have the power – and with great power, must also come great responsibility.  Your motor mounts can be broken from the over-revving of gears, slamming the vehicle, and letting out the clutch or power-breaking before takeoff.  This kind of driving can greatly reduce the life expectancy of your motor-mounts.

5. Accidents

While this might sound like an obvious cause, it’s important to note for anyone looking to purchase their car used, as well as for anyone who’s been in a recent fender-bender.  Even if the car may didn’t sustain a lot of superficial damage, the transfer of all that momentum/energy could have put a crack in your mount(s).  For used cars, the previous owner may not have been aware of this, so it’s important to get them checked out by a reputable, qualified service center as soon as possible, so you can be sure you’re not driving around on mounts with borrowed time.

6. Oil/Fluid Leaks

Oil and other fluids that leak on to your mounts, have the potential to eat away at or otherwise compromise the rubber that composes them (much like it can ruin rubber drive belts), which could lead to premature mount-failure. If your car is leaking oil, or transmission fluid, or any other liquid that you’re aware of – be sure to get it into a qualified European auto repair shop right away, to prevent any cumulative degeneration on your mounts (on top of getting the leak fixed).

How often do motor mounts fail?

Generally, motor mounts do not have a pre-determined replacement schedule, as their service life can vary greatly depending upon the variable factors mentioned above. Typically, they should last between 5-7 years, however, it is a good thing to have them checked regularly during every service, including routine oil changes. Motor mounts are one of the most overlooked items during vehicle services but by replacing old, worn mounts you can help contribute to keeping a smooth running engine and eliminate the uncomfortable and noisy vibrations felt in a steering wheel or one’s seat.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, or just aren’t sure when the last time was that your engine mounts were inspected for wear during a previous trip for routine maintenance or repair service, give Autoscope European Car Repair a call or set up an appointment online today to have one of our qualified European auto repair technicians take a look.

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