The Danger in Broken Engine Mountsby A.J. Andrews
Engine mounts dampen operating vibrations and brace the motor during vehicle movement. Several types are available, such as standard or glycol-based hydraulic mounts, but they perform the same function and cause the same problems if in poor condition.
Degraded, damaged or malfunctioning motor mounts produce many pronounced indications during operation, or sometimes, in their appearance. Symptoms include engine shift between the fore and aft positions while accelerating or decelerating, leaks in exhaust components and a visually discernible misalignment of the motor.
In addition to engine damage and the rare, yet plausible, possibility that the motor could fall through the bottom of the vehicle, poor mounts cause constant velocity (CV) joint separation and wear, head exhaust pipe failure and torque steer conditions, which is evidenced by a pulling to the right or left upon acceleration. Other problems include friction build-up attributed to unnecessary contact between belts and pulleys with other components, and, in front wheel drive automobiles, throttle linkage separation and breakage due to stress.
In addition to aural and physical signs detected during operation, a thorough visual inspection of the mounts can indicate the presence of a problem. Missing or worn bolts, or a pitch in the engine's alignment, often signifies the mounts need replaced. Although engine mount inspection and replacement is not a routine procedure performed during oil changes or maintenance, they should be changed whenever a motor is hoisted from a vehicle for overhaul or repair purposes.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.