Your vehicle is a complex machine, and every part plays an important role in its performance and operation. The motor mounts are no exception. Learn what motor mounts are, what can cause them to fail, and the bad motor mount symptoms to look out for so you can avoid bigger problems down the road.
What Are Motor Mounts?
Your engine is made up of hundreds of parts, each working hard to drive your vehicle forward. As your vehicle comes to life, many of these parts get moving and grooving, causing the engine to shake and vibrate. But none of its racket reaches you, thanks to your engine’s motor mounts.
Motor mounts, also called engine mounts, are structural components that connect the engine to the vehicle frame. They help stabilize the engine and absorb shocks and vibrations — allowing you to enjoy a peaceful ride.
How Many Motor Mounts Are on a Car?
Cars usually have between two and four motor mounts. If one motor mount is damaged or worn, you can likely get away with just replacing that one. Still, it’s a good idea to check the other mounts since they are around the same age and could be close to wearing out. The busted mount could also place unnecessary stress on the others, shortening their lifespans.
Why Do Motor Mounts Break?
Motor mounts are often made of rubber, so age tends to be their downfall. Rubber can break down and dry out over time, leading to hardening and cracking. The rubber can then detach from the metal, giving the engine room to lift and move.
Motor mounts generally last quite a while — possibly even the life of your vehicle. But road incidents, fluid leaks, and aggressive driving habits can also compromise your motor mounts. Like any part of your vehicle, it’s smart to have them inspected regularly to ensure they’re in great shape.
How Do I Know If My Motor Mounts Are Bad?
Since your motor mounts help secure your engine, you’ll likely know when something is wrong. Watch for these five bad motor mount symptoms.
1. Visible Signs of Wear
It's helpful to have your engine mounts checked regularly during routine services like oil changes. If you think something is amiss, you can also check them at home for visible damage or wear. The metal part of each mount will likely look the same, but you may see cracking or flaking on the rubber if the mount is compromised.
2. Increased Vibrations
When a motor mount wears out or breaks, it can’t dampen the engine’s vibrations and shaking as well as it used to. If one or more of your motor mounts is bad, you may notice your vehicle vibrating more as you place the vehicle in drive, turn on the air conditioning, during normal driving, and when idling at stop lights.
Keep in mind that increased vibration doesn’t necessarily mean a worn motor mount. You could have issues with alignment, suspension, or wheel balance. If anything feels unusual, make an appointment at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for diagnostics.
3. Weird Noises
As motor mounts deteriorate and give your engine wiggle room to move, you may hear strange noises under the hood. Thumping or clunking could be impact sounds from the engine making contact with other components during acceleration.
4. Engine Movement
Without all motor mounts functioning correctly, your engine may shift around, lean, or sag. If this happens, you might feel the engine moving side to side or up and down as you accelerate, corner hard, or brake fast.
5. Engine Damage
In extreme cases, broken motor mounts can lead to engine damage. If your engine is given enough room to knock around, it can hit other components, causing damage to itself and other essential parts.
Can You Drive with Bad Motor Mounts?
Don’t wait to fix a bad motor mount. While you may not have to pull over right away and call a tow truck, you should address a bad motor mount as soon as possible. The longer you drive with bad motor mounts, the more they will deteriorate.
If left unchecked, bad motor mounts can fail completely, further damaging the engine and driveline. You could go from needing a simple motor mount replacement to having to shell out for a huge repair bill.
Although motor mounts can be small components, they play a significant role in keeping the machinery in your vehicle working as it should. Stay ahead of potential further damage and stop by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a Car Diagnostic Test and other essential Engine Services today.