Why Are Motor Mounts So Expensive to Replace?

An engine being secured with motor mounts Motor mount | Petr_Nad/iStock/Thinkstock

Engine mounts, also known as motor mounts, are designed to secure your vehicle’s engine and transmission to the subframe. They are also intended to absorb vibration and shock to ensure that the driver is unable to feel any movement of the motor. Like any vehicle part, however, the engine mounts can go bad.

This is a job that is best left to a mechanic, but the high cost makes many people opt for the do-it-yourself approach. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of replacing engine mounts.

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace Motor Mounts?

The labor time it takes to replace the motor mounts can bring the price to more than $1,000 on some vehicles. On the Honda Odyssey minivan, for example, we’ve seen price quotes of $1,000 for just one new motor mount and $1,800 for all three.

Many motor or engine mounts and transmission mounts can be replaced for far less, and some do-it-yourselfers brag that they’ve installed replacements for less than $100. Be aware, though, that lifting any engine is serious business, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could severely damage your engine and your car by trying to tackle this type of repair on your own. Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave this job to an auto mechanic.

Engine mounts are blocks of rubber mounted on steel brackets that are bolted into place to support the engine and reduce the amount of engine vibration and noise felt and heard in the passenger compartment. Usually there are three or four. If the rubber wears out or cracks, or if the steel brackets break, common symptoms are more vibration or engine movement under throttle and more noise. The engine might even move a few inches or more when mounts are broken. You may also hear a “clunk” in the engine compartment while you are driving.

Replacement engine mounts and bolts don’t always cost a lot; they can run from as little as $50 to as much as $200 at parts stores, depending on the vehicle, though liquid-filled mounts are more expensive. Keep in mind that motor mounts are responsible for securely holding a lot of weight, so they cannot be manufactured using cheap materials that lack strength and durability.

Why the Cost of Replacing Motor Mounts Is Higher at a Dealer or Garage

But if you’re paying a shop for engine mount replacement, the cash register doesn’t stop ringing once the parts are purchased. It can keep ringing for three or four hours if the engine is difficult to lift out of the way and other parts have to be removed or loosened to allow that. Even stubborn bolts that are rusted in place can extend the amount of time it takes to complete the project. In cases where cooling and exhaust parts are involved, you may need new gaskets or hoses.

The engine typically has to be jacked up or lifted with an engine hoist to take all the weight off of broken mounts before they can be replaced. Manufacturers often leave little working room, extending the time it takes to replace the mounts and put everything back together.

Most repair shops will use a standard labor time estimate for replacing motor mounts on a particular vehicle, but some shops may quote less time than others, so it pays to shop around and ask. In addition, the hourly labor rate will vary among shops, so ask about that, too. Motor mount replacement is a big job, though, so be wary of any mechanic or dealer that is offering to do the job for a price that seems too good to be true.

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