When you take a minute to appreciate certain aspects of your vehicle, you realize what happens when you perform the simplest function is amazing. Just think about when you depress the brake or accelerate. The motor creates a good amount of power, yet, your vehicle transitions smoothly instead of shaking itself to pieces. Without precautions, your motor would twist itself right out of your hood. The reason it is not able to do so is partially because of the motor mounts that hold the engine steadfastly in place.
This article will show you the importance of maintaining the motor mounts and how to take the task of replacing them in your own hands.
How Do Motor Mounts Work?
Your motor mount system is secured by a couple bolts on either end- one at the engine, and one at your vehicle frame. Obviously it is a very important task that these motor mounts serve to keep your engine securely in place. However, they also serve another important purpose- they sequester off all the surrounding metal to keep it from the vibration and shaking that is created as the engine is running. In a very dual function way, the motor mounts not only secure things to keep them from moving, they also allow for some movement in other places.
The most amazing part is that these basic motor mounts accomplish this with nothing more than two metal pieces that are bonded together with a rubber pad sandwiched between them. The rubber allows the two pieces to move independently and allow that needed movement but prevents them from rubbing each other creating friction. Thus, the rubber is absorbing the vibration created at the same time so that you do not feel the vibration throughout your vehicle as it operates.
Do Your Motor Mounts Need Replacement?
Rubber does not last forever, especially under those conditions that motor mounts experience. Thus, you can expect them to fail after some time. Eventually, the stopping and starting, movement and absorption, and vibration will take its toll. Even age and moisture can eventually cause the rubber to crack, become spongy, or simply degrade to the point it will just fall apart. If it is experiencing any fluid leakage, this will hasten its degradation. If you are one to soup up your engine or are a more forceful driver, you may find your mounts go quicker than usual too because they have to withstand even more force than originally intended.
Some symptoms to look for that signify your motor mounts need replacement are:
- Clunking noises from under the hood as you accelerate;
- Acceleration and slowing may result in increased vibration;
- Smaller vehicles can be tested by pushing the front end of the engine to see if there is an overabundance of movement;
- Visual checks can reveal damaged or missing rubber on the mounts.
Replacing Your Motor Mounts Safely
If you are mechanically inclined and want to replace your motor mounts yourself, these basic instructions can act as your guide. Otherwise, taking your vehicle to a professional is in order:
- Be sure to park your vehicle on a level area before you begin working on your vehicle or trying to jack it up. Then lift the hood to familiarize yourself with the location of the mounts. They will be secured by two good sized bolts. You may find that you need to remove or adjust other parts under the hood or shift hoses to make room to work easily.
- Detach the negative cable from your battery.
- Use a jack to lift the vehicle and secure it on your jack stands. Double check to make sure they are safe since you will likely need to get under your vehicle.
- From above you should be able to remove the motor mount bolts that attach to the engine. For the frame attached bolts, on most vehicles, you will need to tackle those from below. Have an extension handy in case you need the extra reach. Some penetrant can come in handy as well since sometimes bolts are not the easiest to remove and may have become seized or rusted.
- Next, use your jack to lift the engine. Be sure to take into consideration your firewall clearance so that you do not do any damage to any hoses or AC lines that are present. You can use a hoist or other overhead system to help keep the engine safely in place.
- Place your new mount. Use a thin layer of thread locking compound to coat the bolts and then align and tighten the bolts.
- Lower your engine back down and replace anything you removed to gain access to the area. Place your vehicle back onto the ground and reattach the battery cable.
Allowing bad motor mounts to continue to be used may not seem like a big deal. However, this simple part really does perform a vital role in maintaining your vehicle. In disrepair, a motor mount cannot do its job well and excessive amounts of twisting and movement will be found while the engine is creating torque. This can be exceptionally dangerous as the engine has nothing counteracting the twisting force it is producing and it can become damaged itself. Other parts of your vehicle can also be subjected to damage since vibrations can cause parts to bang into one another. Your radiators can be damaged by your fan, hoses, and pipes can be dented, shredded or torn completely loose, and fluids can be spilled. Noticing when your motor mounts need attention can save you a big headache and a ton of money in the long run.