While they come in a variety of designs and sizes, the fundamental purpose of any engine mount — whether it’s made by Ford for pick-up trucks, or Barry Controls for aircraft — is to, as the term suggests, mount an engine and reduce vibration that, if left unchecked, could do more than just be very noisy and irritating. Given how much power engines generate, excess vibration could — and in most cases, eventually will —cause damage to critical components, resulting in major safety risks and hazards.
Here are two common symptoms that likely spell out that your engine mount is either in need of a check-up, or possibly, is on life support and needs major (mechanical) surgery ASAP to keep you safe, and to avoid further damage to your vehicle — and your budget.
Loud “Impact” Noises in the Engine Bay
Some low-level engine noise is normal, especially after a cold start, or even after filling up with a bad tank of gas. However, if you’re repeatedly hearing fairly loud impact noises coming from your car’s engine bay — such as “bangs” and “clanks” — then head to your trusted mechanic ASAP. What is probably happening is that, due to the breaking or broken engine mount, the engine is banging up against the chassis. The sound may be pronounced while accelerating, but can may also manifest at other times, too.
As noted above, one of the fundamental purposes of an engine mount is to reduce vibration — both for driving comfort, and more importantly, for safety. However, if you’re hearing and feeling excessive vibrations — or perhaps your passengers are commenting or complaining about this — then it might be that the vibration-diminishing components of the engine mount (e.g. rubber) has worn out, or is wearing out.
The Bottom Line
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, because it’s advice that many car owners wish they had heeded before they faced a shockingly high repair bill, or in some extreme cases, had an accident and suffered or inflicted an even greater loss: don’t ignore either of the symptoms above!
In particular, don’t assume that the problem will go away on its own, or that excess vibration or loud noises is just your car “showing its age.” On the contrary, consider yourself smart — and fortunate — that you proactively took matters into your own hands, had your engine mount and other components/systems checked out, and saved yourself — and your passengers, and other drivers on the road — from experiencing something that could be very costly, or possibly catastrophic.