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Today’s Lesson: Motor Mounts

Yesterday I had an unhappy occurrance. I had stopped at Quik Trip to get some gas on my way to work. When I got back in the car and turned the key: nothing. No lights, no radio, definitely no engine turning. I checked the basic things I know to check (battery cable connections, fuses, etc) and found nothing apparently wrong. So I coasted it down from the gas pumps into a parking spot and walked the 6 blocks home and took the minivan to work. Soon I got a tow truck called and since my preferred mechanic was booked full until Tuesday (a day on which I plan to be on the road), I had the tow take it to the local Saturn dealership’s service department.

Two hours later I get the phone call. They checked everything out, my alternator is fine, my battery is fine. However, I had a bad connection with a battery cable/terminal. So they replaced it, and now the car starts fine, even better than before. However, they did notice that a motor mount had collapsed and needed replaced. I did a quick bit of investigation, ascertained that motor mounts are probably important, and had them replace it. So by 3 pm they had sent a nice lady in a courtesy car to pick me up, and upon my payment of around $200, I got a car back that had a new negative battery cable, a new motor mount, and an oil change.

What I had not realized was how much of a difference the motor mount made. The engine just feels tighter now. It accelerates better. It’s just all-around improved. I took it for a spin up a few exits on the interstate last night with the windows down and the cool night air in the cabin, and it was glorious. Oh, and the car ran really nicely, too. I think it’s ready to make the trip to Nashville next week.

If you’re ever buying a used car, I could recomment the ’99 Saturn SL – at least, my ’99 Saturn SL. We bought it 5 years ago, have put 70k miles on it, and so far the only two repairs have been an oxygen sensor back in ’03, and now the motor mount. That’s a level of repair I can handle.

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