Do you notice a persistent shaking in your steering wheel? How about uncomfortable vibrations coming through your seat? Or maybe your entire vehicle feels like it’s trying to shake itself off the road? The culprit may be worn-out engine mounts.
Read on to learn 5 common signs of failing engine mounts, why they fail, and what to do if it’s happened to you.
5 Indicators of Bad Motor Mounts
Engine mounts, as the name implies, are responsible for holding the engine firmly in place in the engine bay – a critical part of their job is to dampen engine vibration. A common sign of failing or broken mounts is a vibration felt throughout the cabin. If one or more of the mounts is busted, you will likely be able to feel it while driving because the engine vibration is being transmitted through the chassis and into the cabin.
Broken Hoses and Belts
If you have had fan belts or radiator hoses fail unexpectedly, the culprit could be the motor mounts. When driving at high speeds with failed mounts, the unusual vibration and engine movement could cause damage to these belts and hoses.
Strange noises are the most obvious and common symptom of a bad mount. If you notice clunking or knocking sounds coming from your engine bay, something is definitely wrong, and it may be the engine mounts. Regardless of what is causing the noise, any unusual sounds from the engine bay need to be checked out immediately.
External engine and accessory damage could be the result of a completely failed mount. Hopefully, your situation doesn’t get this far, as the damage is usually severe. If a mount becomes fully detached from the engine, that part of the engine will be free to bounce around the engine bay. Components could break off or get smashed against each other.
Engine mounts are specially designed components, responsible for keeping your engine perfectly positioned and aligned. Everything under the hood is calibrated to work together flawlessly, and there is little tolerance for something out of place. A simple visual inspection revealing that your engine is crooked or uneven indicates a failing mount, and you should get your car to your service centre.
What Causes Engine Mount Failure?
There are a variety of reasons for mount failure. Here are the most common:
As with any major component, it is vital that your motor mounts are installed by a reputable service centre that has adequate skill and the necessary equipment for the job. While you could save a few bucks getting it done in your buddy’s driveway, mount installation is a finicky service, and a botched job will lead to premature failure, potentially resulting in significant damage to your engine.
Engine mounts are essentially blocks of rubber mounted on steel brackets. The rubber could be compromised by fluids leaking in your engine bay, such as oil or transmission fluid. Rubber degradation caused by leaking fluids will lead to premature mount failure, so if your vehicle is leaking any fluids, it’s imperative that you take it to a qualified service centre. In addition to protecting your motor mounts, the shop will be able to get that leak fixed!
Age/Wear and Tear
No vehicle component is invulnerable to time or wear and tear. Your mounts are largely composed of rubber, which will eventually dry out and crack. Mounts on luxury vehicles are filled with fluid for extra vibration dampening, when the rubber on these mounts cracks, the fluid will leak out and you will need to replace them.
Even small accidents can transmit a surprising amount of force through your engine, and the engine mounts. If you’ve recently had an accident, even a minor fender bender, it would be a good idea to get the mounts checked for damage. This also applies if you are buying a used vehicle – the previous owner may not be aware of mount damage, so you could be setting yourself up for an annoying repair on your purchase.
Getting a pre-purchase inspection before pulling the trigger on that used vehicle is a great way to protect yourself from this type of headache. It also gives you extra leverage in your negotiations. Here is more detail on the pre-purchase inspections offered at Tunerworks.
This one is rare but still worth looking into. Sometimes factories make bad components. Do a bit of research to see if there are any recall bulletins that may affect your vehicle.
Driving a manual vehicle is a great feeling. Controlling when, where, and how your vehicle changes gear lets you feel more in tune with your ride and gives you ultimate control over your driving experience. However, aggressive driving can put extra stress on your motor mounts. Things like dropping the clutch, power-breaking before takeoff, or over-revving will stress your mounts, and quicken the pace of wear and tear. We aren’t telling you not to do these things, we just think you should be aware of the consequences!
How Long Do Mounts Last?
There are too many factors for motor mounts to have a pre-determined replacement schedule. Most of us can expect them to last from 10 to 15 years, but it is a good idea to have them checked during routine maintenance, especially on vehicles with mileage in excess of 100,000km
One of the great parts about visiting Tunerworks for your routine maintenance procedures, like an Oil Service, is the comprehensive Inspection Report. After a Tunerworks Oil Service, we will send you a link to your personalized report which contains pictures, videos, and easy-to-understand descriptions of anything we notice. If your motor mounts are looking worse for wear, we’ll catch the problem and recommend a course of action.
If you’re noticing any of the symptoms discussed above, Give us a call or set up an appointment today. One of our expert technicians will take a look at your vehicle and let you know what’s going on.