Motor mounts are made of metal, rubber and filled with liquid depending on the design, that 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 unless you get your motor mounts fixed?
The short answer is, yes, it is possible to drive with bad motor mounts for a considerable amount of time, even if motor mounts start getting bad, but 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. But If your motor mounts have been used for over 7 years without any repair or maintenance, it can become a risk to drive with them in such state.
Driving With Bad Motor Mounts: What Can Happen?
You can still drive even after your motor mounts have started getting bad, but you won’t be able to enjoy a hassle-free or smooth drive. Below are some of the things to look out for when your engine mounts start getting problematic:
1) Unwanted Vibrations and Noises While Driving:
The rubberized part of the motor 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 obviously be annoying.
Apart from being an auditory nuisance, these vibrations can also spread towards 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 get them fixed or replaced by a car mechanic, or yourself once you notice something like this happening.
Related: Does Alignment Fix Vibration?
2) Movement of the Engine
Apart from absorbing vibrations, one of the functions of the motor mount is to keep the engine anchored in place. When your motor mounts start getting damaged, you’ll be able to hear the car’s 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.
Your car might even start shifting to the side, because all of that weight the motor mounts were holding in place, no longer hold evenly, making your car steer to the side.
3) Rattling Sounds
If you drive with bad motor mounts, you’ll hear loud rattling, clunking or banging noises especially when you accelerate. It’s a sign of the engine not being anchored firmly enough by the motor mounts since they may have started failing.
How To Know If Your Motor Mounts are Getting Bad?
Apart from hearing vibration noises and movements, a sure way to test if the motor mounts are failing, is to test by observing the movement of the engine.
All you have to do is keep your foot on the brakes in order to prevent the car from moving, and 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 starting to get bad.
It’s still safe to drive the vehicle if the movement is no longer than a few inches. If it’s more, the best thing you can do is to get the mounts repaired or replaced.
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 motor mount it’s a sure indication that it has worn out. Although, some motor mounts can fail internally and collapse, which may not show external damage, but will decrease in height. If your motor mounts collapsed, you may feel vibrations in the steering wheel at idle.
How Long Can You Drive With Bad Motor Mounts?
If your started noticing vibrations, and know for sure it’s the motor mounts to blame, 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 had them replaced within this time period, you should consider getting them checked or replaced.
The rubber part of the motor 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?
Common reasons and causes why motor mounts get bad over time are:
1) Overuse without Regular Maintenance
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 motor 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.
2) Accidents and Mishaps
It’s especially important to get the motor mounts fixed after an accident, since it may have caused the motor mounts to shift from their position, weakening their connection to the engine.
3) Driving Recklessly
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.
4) Improper Installation
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.
5) Driving On Uneven Terrains
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.
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 motor 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 do not want to end up mishandling or improperly installing the motor mounts which would create a new problem instead of solving the existing one.
Should You Fix All Motor Mounts At Once?
Ideally, the best practice is to get all motor 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.
Can you drive with bad motor mouths? Of course you can, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 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.