Can You Drive With A Bad Motor Mount? Answers & Advice For Your Vehicle

Can You Drive With A Bad Motor Mount

Have you noticed some strange clunking or vibrating coming from your engine bay lately? Do you hear a weird banging sound when accelerating or braking? If so, your motor mounts may be to blame. But is it actually safe to drive with bad motor mounts or will your engine just fall out of the vehicle altogether?

Let’s jump right in and take a peek under the hood at what exactly motor mounts are, the symptoms of bad mounts, whether you can drive with damaged mounts at all, plus how much it costs to repair or replace faulty engine mounts. Buckle up and comes along for the informative ride as we dive into these common questions many stressed drivers have about driving with broken motor mounts!

What is a Motor Mount Anyway?

Before figuring out if it’s okay to drive with damaged motor mounts, it helps to first understand what exactly a motor mount is and does.

In short, a motor mount (or engine mount) is a sturdy bracket that securely connects the engine and transmission to the car’s frame. Most cars have between 2 and 4 separate mounts positioned around the engine bay area.

The mounts are made from solid steel and have thick rubber bushings or dampening devices in between the frame connection points. This rubber material soaks up engine vibrations, movement, and harshness to isolate the powerplant’s motions from the rest of the vehicle.

So in basic terms, motor mounts tightly hold the engine in place and prevent it from excessively rocking around when idling or under acceleration. The stout mounts also absorb engine movements to keep vibrations from shaking the entire car or introducing noise into the cabin.

Without properly working, intact mounts, the engine would clunk around violently and put extreme stress on other components not designed to handle that movement.

Now that you know what purpose motor mounts serve, let’s go over the symptoms of failing mounts and how to inspect them yourself.

Signs Your Motor Mounts Are Going Bad

Unfortunately motor mounts don’t last forever and the rubber bushings can wear out over time. Even in perfectly maintained vehicles, motor mounts may need replacement every 5-7 years or 50,000-75,000 miles.

But how do you know if your engine mounts are getting too old and worn to do their job properly? Here are some common signs of bad motor mounts:

  • Excessive vibration, especially when sitting at idle. Worn mounts allow more engine movement to transfer through the chassis.
  • Clunking or banging when accelerating and braking. Bad mounts allow the engine torque and momentum to rock it excessively.
  • Cracked rubber or torn bushings. Physically inspect mounts for extreme dry rot and deterioration.
  • Oil leaking onto mounts. This helps break down the rubber prematurely.
  • Engine leans or lifts abnormally high. Missing mounts or complete rubber failure allows excessive engine movement.
  • Exhaust rattling against chassis. Broken mounts misalign components leading to new noises.
  • Difficulty shifting gears. Bad mounts transfer sloppiness into the transmission linkage.
  • Check Engine Light illuminated. Severe engine movement can damage sensors and wiring harnesses that trigger error codes.

If you notice any combination of those symptoms above, take a peek under the hood and give the engine mounts a thorough inspection from different angles. Look for cracked rubber, excessive play in the bushings, and any signs of leaking oil dripping onto the mounts. Any mounts that are visibly damaged or making clunking noises need replacement as soon as possible.

Now for the big question on every worried driver’s mind…

Is It Safe to Drive With a Bad or Broken Motor Mount?

This depends on a few factors, but the short universal answer is no, it is generally not safe or recommended to drive with badly worn or broken motor mounts. Especially not for extended periods or highway driving.

With motor mounts that are severely cracked, deteriorated, or fully broken, you risk potential engine damage, components coming loose at speed, and even a loss of control.

However, carefully driving very short distances for critical trips to the mechanic may be possible if absolutely necessary. The main risks and concerns around driving with damaged engine mounts are:

  • The engine may rock and violently shake leading to further damage of hoses, sensors, wiring, radiator, axles, and transmission linkage.
  • The engine could suddenly drop or misalign as forces are no longer adequately absorbed. This also leads to damage of additional components.
  • Loss of throttle response and stalling. Excessive engine movement hampers the precise throttle, fuel, and vacuum systems.
  • Difficulty steering and braking. With compromised mounts, unwanted engine forces transfer to the chassis interfering with control.
  • Part failure at speed like a mount fully separating or breaking can cause immediate loss of power or stalling.
  • Oil and coolant leaks as the excessive engine rocking can loosen seals and gaskets .

As you can see, even a single failed mount introduces a wide range of unpredictable issues plus puts added stresses on remaining mounts still intact. It’s just not worth the huge risks and safety implications of knowingly driving long distances without properly isolated engine movement and vibration absorption from working motor mounts.

However, if you have no choice but to drive a very short distance to the mechanic for replacement, you can minimize risks by:

  • Driving when cold, below 50 mph, minimal stops and acceleration.
  • Visually inspecting mounts before the trip for any further deterioration.
  • Checking oil and coolant level to spot any leaks indicating mount failure.
  • Listening for new rattling, banging and clunking sounds signalling further issues.
  • Avoiding potholes or bumps that add more force on damaged mounts.

Again, this should only be done for essential short trips when unavoidable. Have any visibly compromised mounts replaced immediately by your mechanic before normal driving resumes.

Is it Okay to Briefly Drive on One Broken Mount?

Many are also curious if driving is possible with only one single broken engine mount while others remain intact.

In certain cases, you may be able to briefly limp the vehicle to the mechanic for replacement if just one mount completely goes bad and the others look okay. But serious risks are still present.

With just one broken mount, the remaining ones take on more load and strain. The unbalanced forces often over-stress good mounts leading to cascading failure.

It’s best to thoroughly inspect all motor mounts at the first sign of trouble and replace any that are worn out. Never ignore even just one broken mount as the excessive engine movement and unbalanced forces lead to a variety of problems.

What Actually Happens if a Motor Mount Fails at Speed?

To drive home just how serious and unpredictable a motor mount failure can be, let’s look at some possibilities if one lets go while driving down the highway:

  • The engine may violently shake and thrash around the compartment banging off other components. This can shear off sensors, rip hoses, and damage the radiator.
  • Severely unbalanced forces stress good mounts to the point of failure, accelerating damage.
  • Weight and torque loads are incorrectly transferred which may bend or break axles.
  • Exhaust pipes loosening and rattling against the chassis leading to CO poisoning entering the cabin.
  • Coolant and oil lines getting punctured as the engine rocks around, spilling onto hot components creating smoke and fire.
  • Vacuum system leaks as erratic air flow hampers throttle response, possibly stalling the engine.
  • Electrical harness connectors ripping out of sensors which disrupt ignition timing and fuel delivery, again stalling the car.
  • Transmission malfunction and gear grinding as sloppy mounts allow the engine’s torque and forces to impact the drivetrain’s operation.
  • Complete loss of power or control if the unchecked engine violently thrashes about to the point key systems fail.

As you can see, there are many unpredictable and dangerous possibilities if just one compromised motor mount fully fails at speed. It introduces many follow-on failures as unbalanced forces rapidly damage an interlinked system optimized for smooth power delivery with properly isolated engine movement.

While you may be able to carefully limp a short distance to the mechanic with a known bad mount, highway speeds, potholes, bumps, acceleration, and engine load greatly increase the chances of catastrophic failure leading to a breakdown or accident. Have any bad mounts replaced before normal driving.

Can You Repair Motor Mounts or Do They Need Complete Replacement?

Now that you know it’s risky to drive with damaged engine mounts and the importance of getting them promptly fixed, what exactly does that repair work involve?

Can bad mounts actually be rebuilt or repaired back to normal operation? Or will mechanics insist that complete replacement is required once they are visibly compromised?

The answer depends on the mount design and extent of the visible damage:

  • Rubber mounts may potentially be repaired by a mechanic reinforcing cracked bushings with epoxy or special compounds. This can extend life if deterioration is caught early.
  • Complete split or missing chunks of rubber require the entire mount be replaced as patching cannot reliably restore normal play-free operation.
  • Leaking oil that degraded the rubber means the source of the leak must be fixed or mounting problems will quickly return.
  • Metal-to-metal connections like solid hydraulic mounts cannot be repaired once play between the metal surfaces is apparent. These must be fully replaced.
  • If one mount is clearly bad, it’s smart to just replace all mounts in sets, even if others look decent. The remaining mounts likely have similar internal deterioration and unequal loading stresses from a bad companion.

As you can see, trying to repair and patch up degraded mounts often leads to continued issues down the road as unseen internal damage remains present. Most professional mechanics recommend simply replacing all the mounts in sets at the first signs of trouble. This ensures the powerplant is securely re-isolated and absorption of engine forces remains balanced across all the mounting points.

Yes, complete replacement is more labor intensive and costs more up front. But it avoids the risk of further failure of incompletely or patchily repaired mounts that were clearly already compromised. If your inspection reveals any visible cracking, splitting, or deterioration – replacement is the smart fix.

How Much Does Replacing Bad Motor Mounts Typically Cost?

Okay, let’s move onto the big question of what it costs to actually replace broken motor mounts at the mechanic. There are two main factors:

Parts Cost:

  • $50-$150+ per single mount, varies by vehicle and design
  • Many cars have 2 to 4 mounts total

Labor Cost:

  • $100-$200 per mount to remove and install
  • More time intensive on transverse-mounted engines

For a typical 4 cylinder car, expect to pay:

  • Parts: Around $200-$400 for a full set of 4 new mounts
  • Labor: Around $400-$600 to R&R all mounts.
  • Total for 4 mounts: Approximately $600-$1000

Note that luxury cars, SUVs, trucks, and powerful V8s often have additional mounts which can drive up parts and labor costs further.

DIYers can avoid labor charges by replacing mounts themselves. But you need jack stands, torque wrenches and patience working in tight engine bays. Regardless, inspecting and replacing deteriorated motor mounts promptly reduces the chances of expensive related failures down the road.

The Bottom Lines

Hopefully this detailed deep dive dispelled myths around driving with damaged motor mounts and highlighted just how vital proper engine isolation is. Within the engine bay, seemingly minor components like mounts play a huge role insmooth, safe operation.

Don’t ignore symptoms like clunking, vibrating, and banging coming from under the hood. Thoroughly inspect mounts for cracking, splitting, leaking, and looseness. Any degradation is a sign the rubber bushings have worn out their lifespan and should be replaced in sets before catastrophic failures result.

While you may be able to carefully limp the vehicle a short distance to the mechanic if a mount fails, it’s not worth the unpredictable risks associated with uncontrolled engine movement. For confidence cruising again, have your trusted technician inspect and promptly swap any degraded mounts before resuming normal driving.

Investing a little time and money on fresh mounts prevents way more expensive damage down the road. And ensures buttery smooth, vibration-free operation for miles to come! With your powerplant securely re-isolated on new mounts, the open road beckons once again!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *