If you start noticing an unfamiliar vibration when you’re at a red light, it could mean an engine mount is going bad. This isn’t something to panic about, but at the same time you should get it replaced sooner rather than later. Ignoring the problem could leave you with bigger bills down the road.
Many people aren’t familiar with engine mounts. Here we’ll discuss;
- What engine mounts do
- How to tell if an engine mount is going bad
- What’s involved in replacing an engine mount
- Whether to replace one or all of them
What Engine Mounts Do
Engine mounts hold the engine and transmission in the car’s chassis. There’s usually two, sometimes three for the engine and an additional mount for the transmission. They consist of metal brackets or bolts encased in rubber. Some have fluid-filled chambers in the rubber. Their purpose is to hold the engine and transmission assembly in place while absorbing vibration and resisting torque.
How to Tell if an Engine Mount is Going Bad
The first sign is often a vibration in the steering wheel that you notice while stopped at a red light. If you slip the gear shift into neutral and the vibration reduces that’s a definite symptom of engine mount problems.
Ignore the problem and it will get worse. You could even find the engine or exhaust hitting the body as they move.
Engine mounts aren’t easy to see but if you can get eyes on one, (this usually means getting underneath the vehicle,) you may notice the rubber parts showing signs of fatigue like cracks or splits.
Engine mounts are typically long-lasting components. You shouldn’t get any problems for at least five years, and on some vehicles they last much longer. Diesel-engined vehicles, with their higher levels of vibration, are hard on mounts but are engineered accordingly.
What’s Involved in Replacing an Engine Mount?
This is a job that’s done from underneath the vehicle. The most important thing is to support the engine and transmission and take their weight off the mounts.
Each mount is bolted to both the vehicle frame or subframe and to the engine. To replace a mount, undo each bolt and move it out from its location. The new engine mount is installed back in the same position and the bolts tightened to the specified torque. In many cases, parts like the a/c compressor or starter must be removed to access the mount.
With a suitable hoist or lift, an engine support and other tools, on most vehicles this is not a long job. However, if you’re trying to do it in your garage or on your driveway it could take several hours and pose the risk of crushing a finger, hand, or arm between the engine and chassis.
Replace one or all?
As mentioned, there will be at least two mounts holding the engine in place. Budget-conscious owners sometimes ask if they can get away with replacing only the mount that’s gone bad.
In principle, yes you can. However, when a mount starts to fail it puts more load on the others. Since they’re the same age as the failed mount and are now working harder, they’re likely to fail soon too. So while the car is in the air and the engine supported, it probably makes sense to replace them all.
Pro tip: even if replacing all the mounts, do just one at a time. It’s safer and you don’t risk the engine moving relative to the vehicle.
Engine Mount Replacement for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, VW and More
For drivers of European cars and Exotics in or near Plano, TX and the Greater Dallas area, EurAuto can help with all of your repair, maintenance, and performance upgrades, and that includes engine mount replacement.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (214) 552-4194 or use our online scheduling form.