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Is your car engine well mounted?

Motor mounts as they are popularly known are some of the unsuspected culprits in engine and transmission problems.

If the engine was directly bolted to the car body or chassis, vibrations would kill our nerves, leaving us numb.

An engine that is not well secured and cushioned can cause lots of problems.  Adversities such as excessive vibrations, short life, noise and peripheral damage are all expected.

Engine mounts are mainly rubber and metal isolators that absorb vibrations.

Different shapes

They come in different shapes and sizes but the purpose is still the same. Racing mounts are generally stiffer than road use mounts, taking in mind the amount of torque, shock and vibration experienced in racing cars.

Rear wheel drive cars usually have two side by side engine mounts while front wheel drive cars have more mounts to absorb engine torque.

Solid metal mounts are sometimes used in high-powered racing applications where comfort is secondary.

The design and construction of engine mounts is done to accommodate different engine configurations, to align and stabilise the engine in its compartment. Engine mount failure will manifest with any of the following symptoms:Rattling sounds are a phenomenon common with broken motor mounts, mostly heard during idling.

Broken engine mounts will allow excessive movement in the engine compartment thus letting the engine bump and knock onto other peripherals.

This is how the clanking and knocking sounds are produced and can be felt and heard in the vehicle.

The mounts are designed to keep the engine in proper alignment in relation to other vehicle parts.

Sitting slanted

If the engine looks misaligned or sitting slanted, you probably have one or more broken mounts. A tilted engine never goes without drivability problems and damaged parts.

Hard gear shifting is always the case in an older vehicle equipped with mechanical linkages from the gear shifter to the gearbox.

High idle can occur when vacuum hoses extend and break, causing leakages and in cases, the drive axle can pop out of the transmission causing loss of motion.

Since the engine is not well secured, it tends to knock other parts in the compartment like transmission fluid and radiator hoses, causing leakages.

Severely broken mounts will cause damage to the exhaust manifold, power steering belts, A/C pump and many other hoses in the engine compartment.

It is commonplace for one failed motor mount to cause stress to another healthy mount, resulting in its deterioration too.

Changing engine mounts is not anything you can do on your own like tightening loose battery terminals or reconnecting loose sockets under the intake manifold.

It involves jacking and supporting the engine before any operations are undertaken so leave this to experts.

You can, however, examine your vehicle to see if there are any broken mounts using a flashlight to check for cracked or broken rubber. If the rubber has collapsed due to engine weight, it needs replacement.

One easy method used to tell bad engine mounts is when the gear lever in manual transmissions moves excessively during braking or when driving off.

Another technique is having an observer check for excessive engine movement when shifting from park to drive or when engaging the reverse gear in automatic transmissions. Caution should be taken though to keep one’s foot on the brake pedal.