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Bad Motor Mount Symptoms – And Should You Drive With Them?

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Bad Motor Mount Symptoms – And Should You Drive With Them?

The symptoms of bad motor mounts can range from mildly annoying, to downright impossible to ignore. This can include rattling, vibrating, or clunking noises.

Motor mounts are composed of metal, rubber and filled with liquid depending on the design. They serve to keep the engine secure, and prevent the engine from unnecessary shocks or vibrations while the vehicle is being operated. But when they get faulty, a question may arise. Can you drive with bad motor mounts? Or would it make driving too risky?

The short answer is, yes, it is possible to drive with worn motor mounts for a considerable amount of time, unless the symptoms are too severe. However, they will become more and more inefficient at keeping your engine in place and dampening vibrations. Consequently, you will start experiencing unpleasant noises and vibrations. Keep in mind though, if your motor mounts are over 7 years old, without any repair or maintenance, it can become a risk to drive with them in such a state.

Mazda motor mount locations
Motor mounts location on a Mazda

Read: Driving With Parking Brake On: What Happens?

Driving With Bad Motor Mounts: What Can Happen?

You can still drive even after your motor mounts have started wearing down, but you won’t be able to enjoy a smooth drive. Below are some of the things to look out for when your engine mounts start getting problematic:

The rubberized part of the engine mount absorbs vibration and shocks especially while you’re accelerating over bumpy areas. When the rubber wears off, you’ll still be able to drive, but you’ll experience vibration noises which will be annoying. This is the most prominent symptoms of bad motor mounts.

Apart from being an auditory nuisance, these vibrations can also affect other components around the engine, causing wear and tear. The worse your motor mounts get over time, the more intense will these vibrations be. It’s best to fix or replace them via a mechanic (or yourself) once you notice something like this happening.

Related: Does Alignment Fix Vibration?

Apart from absorbing vibrations, one of the functions of the motor mount is to keep the engine anchored in place. When your engine mounts deteriorate too much, you’ll be able to hear the engine moving a little while you’re changing gears, applying breaks or accelerating. If it gets too intense, it can cause damage to other components in the car as well.

If you drive with bad motor mounts, you’ll hear loud rattling, clunking or banging noises especially when you accelerate. It’s a sign that the mounts are not anchoring the engine firmly enough, due to their degraded state.

How To Know If Your Motor Mounts are Getting Bad?

Apart from hearing vibration noises and movements, there are other ways to assess the mounts. For example, simply observing the movement of the engine suffices.

All you have to do is keep your foot on the brake in order to prevent the car from moving. With the other foot, press on the accelerator to rev the engine a bit. If you notice that the engine moves a little, despite your keeping your foot on the brakes, it’s a sure sign that your motor mounts are wearing out.

It’s still safe to drive the vehicle if the movement is no longer than a few inches. If it’s more than that, the best thing you can do is to repair or replace them.

used vs new motor mounts

Another way to tell if your motor mounts are bad or getting bad is by visual inspection. If you see cracks/tearing/leakage on a mount it’s a sure indication that it has worn out. Although, some mounts can fail internally and collapse, which may not show external damage, but will decrease in height. If your engine mounts collapsed, you may feel vibrations in the steering wheel at idle.

Read: Bad Motor Mounts Or Bad Spark Plugs Cause Idling Issues

How Long Can You Drive With Bad Motor Mounts?

If you’ve started noticing vibrations, you shouldn’t drive for long with motor mounts in this condition. Nevertheless, an engine mount typically retains a workable condition for about 5-7 years of driving. So if you haven’t replaced them within this time period, you should consider checking them.

bad motor mount
Extreme wear and tear on a motor mount

The rubber part of the engine mount protects against unwanted vibrations by dampening. When the rubber part wears off, the metal part still remains connected to the engine and does its job of securing the engine for a long period time, although no longer provides much protection against vibration. What makes engine mounts completely worn out is when they get detached from the engine completely, which is something that takes a lot of years.

What Causes Motor Mounts To Get Bad Over Time?

It’s a good practice to get your motor mounts and engine regularly checked, at least once in a few months or years by a mechanic, or yourself. It goes without saying that overuse without regular maintenance will cause your mounts to fail, as they will start aging. As they go beyond their prime, you’ll notice the rubber beginning to wear off and the metal starting to rust.

It’s especially important to get the motor mounts fixed after an accident, since it may have caused the mounts to shift from their position, weakening their connection to the engine.

Be gentle and mindful while driving. Applying brakes too quickly, accelerating too much etc. will cause intense movements and vibrations that will damage your motor mounts.

Motor mounts should be professionally and properly installed by a car mechanic. If they aren’t installed at the correct position and angle, they will obviously pose issues.

If you drive a lot on uneven and bumpy areas, your motor mounts will tend to wear out earlier than the typical period of 5-7 years. This is because they’ll experience more vibration, wear, and tear on uneven pathways.

What About BROKEN Motor Mounts?

Worn motor mounts are one thing, but broken mounts are a whole different ball game. You do not want to drive with broken motor mounts, a much as you can help it.

See what a broken mount looks like in action in the video below.

If you’re wondering whether it’s OK to drive with broken motor mounts, the damage may already be done. And besides the mount itself, it can cause extra wear and tear on other engine components, due to the extensive range of motion the motor now has under the hood.

The risks of driving with a broken motor mount include:

  • Unpredictable car movement, including bouncing when you brake
  • Abnormal vibrations in the steering wheel
  • Engine damage 
  • Car accidents caused by unpredictable car movement
  • Increased emissions from your vehicle because of engine-related problems 

In a nutshell, a broken mount can cause expensive internal engine damage, resulting in an unaffordable repair bill or even spending more on buying a new vehicle.

You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on car repairs, so your best bet is to avoid driving with broken motor mounts and repair or replace them as soon as possible.

Read: What Causes The Check Engine Light To Come On?

Broken Motor Mount Symptoms

In general, you won’t be able to drive your car with a broken piece of metal hanging next to the engine. However, it’s not easy to tell if your motor mount has already been compromised just by looking at it.

Here are some signs that indicate that your car’s motor mounts may have broken:

Suppose you feel an abnormal vibration when you hit the brakes or accelerate. In that case, the chances are that your motor mounts are broken.

That’s because a broken engine mount may cause the engine to shift and bounce, which in turn causes vibrations in your car when you use the brakes or acceleration.

Often, the noise a broken motor mount makes is a popping or clicking sound that can be heard when going over bumps or accelerating.

You may have also noticed that your engine seems to have moved from its original position because of the loose piece of metal hanging beside it. These are signs that you should get your motor mounts checked and repaired soon.

If you ever look under your hood and see that any of your engine’s surrounding parts with damage, then it’s safe to assume that one or more motor mounts may have broken or be missing. That’s because that loose metal hanging next to the engine should be secured by an engine mount. So if that metal isn’t secure, then one or more of your engine mounts need replacing.

If you suspect a broken motor mount, it’s best to check with a mechanic to confirm the assumptions.

Note: Suppose your car’s internal parts are damaged near the area where an engine mount should be. In that case, there’s a good chance that your motor mount is broken.

Another possible symptom of broken motor mounts is the sudden shifting of your engine within its compartment. If you ever open the hood and notice that your engine has moved from its original position, it’s likely due to one or more broken motor mounts.

Causes of Broken Motor Mounts

There are many reasons why motor mounts can break. Here are some of the causes of broken motor mounts:

  • Running over potholes, speed bumps, or raised manholes: In general, you can break a motor mount by hitting any obstacle.
  • Driving over uneven roads: Even surfaces are the best for driving on, so it’s best to avoid roads with potholes or speed bumps whenever possible. If you encounter one of these obstacles on the road, try to drive around it as much as possible and avoid hitting it directly.
  • Driving aggressively: If you drive your car assertively or aggressively, the engine may bounce around more often. It puts additional stress on the motor mounts and can cause them to break faster than they normally would.
  • Shifting gears incorrectly: If you don’t shift correctly by using the right gears at the right time, it’ll affect how smoothly your car runs and ultimately put additional stress on your motor mounts, breaking them.
  • Normal wear and tear that causes engine mounts to grow weak over time: If you own a car, then it’s only a matter of time before its motor mounts start to show symptoms of wear or breakage.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Motor Mount?

Good motor mounts are expensive, with prices ranging from 220$ to 570$, depending on the condition of the existing mounts and also the model and make of the vehicle. Although some can go as little as $50

Motor mounts may be costly, but their price is justified especially when you consider the fact that creating them with cheap, substandard materials will only strip them of their basic purpose of protecting the engine through a sturdy shield.

Can You Fix Motor Mounts At Home?

Some people go for DIY methods to cut down on the cost, and there are a lot of tutorials online on how to fix motor mounts at home using basic mechanical tools. However, if you’re not well-versed in car mechanics, it’s best to let a professional mechanic do the job for you.

You don’t want to end up mishandling or improperly installing the motor mounts which would create a new problem instead of solving the existing one.

But if you’re feeling up to the challenge, here’s Scotty Kilmer to the rescue!

How To Replace a Motor Mount in 5 Steps

Here are the tools needed to replace a motor mount:

  • New motor mount, such as this Stegewop Engine Motor & Transmission Mount Kit (available on Amazon.com) — comes with a 30,000 km (18,641.14 mi) warranty in case the motor fails.
  • Ratchet
  • Socket wrench
  • Extension bar
  • Torque wrench

Note: We earn a small commission on some purchases, at no additional cost to you.

Once you have everything you need from your local auto parts store, it’s time to get started replacing a broken motor mount. Here are the steps:

The first thing you should do is locate the broken motor mount that needs to be replaced. To do this, look around the base of your engine compartment until you see an engine mount hanging down from it by a metal piece.

Note: If you’re having trouble finding any loose pieces near your engine, then this likely means that all of its motor mounts are broken, and you need to get them all replaced. If this was the case, the symptoms of all motor mounts being broken would have been severe while driving.

Now that you’ve located the broken motor mount, it’s time to remove it from your car. To do this, place an extension bar into its metal piece (the one hanging down), then secure it in place using a ratchet and socket wrench.

Caution: You may need someone to assist you to get the job done correctly and safely.

After removing the broken engine mount from your car, it’s time to install the new one that you just bought from your local auto parts store. You can do this by securing its metal piece into place using a socket wrench and extension bar, pushing down on it with force, then tightening it in place with the torque wrench.

You’ll need a ratchet and socket wrench to tighten all of the bolts on both sides of your newly installed replacement engine mount. To do this, tighten all of the bolts until they become snug. Then use a torque wrench to test how tight they are. In the end, they should have the same amount of torque.

After you’ve tightened all of the bolts on both sides of your new motor mount, double-check that it’s installed properly. You can do this by tugging on it or shaking your car back and forth to see if it feels loose or not. Use your ratchet and socket wrench to tighten it again if it feels loose.

Should You Fix All Motor Mounts At Once?

Ideally, the best practice is to get all engine mounts fixed, because if you get only one fixed and leave the other one as it is, it will cause wear and tear on the new one as well, eliminating the purpose.

However, if the issue lies in only one of the motor mounts, it should be fine to only get that one replaced or repaired while leaving the rest ones as they are.

Conclusion:

Can you drive with bad motor mounts? Of course you can, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and replace them. Besides the noisy symptoms, motor mounts are an essential part of any vehicle’s engine, and their maintenance should always be considered in order to ensure you’re able to drive safely.

But if it’s broken, replace it immediately. It’s only going to break more things around your engine and cost you more money in the long run.

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