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By unknown | Jun 30, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

I DRIVE a 2005 Mazda6 2,3 Individual. The car makes a knocking noise when first or second gears are engaged, especially when the clutch pedal is released. I took the car to a garage and they told me the engine mountings were broken, but I am not sure if that is indeed the case. Any help or advice will be appreciated.


From your description it sounds as if failed engine mountings are the most likely cause of the problem, Eddie. But there are other things that can cause a knocking noise when the clutch engages, like excessive play somewhere in the drive train or worn splines on the side shafts. It is often impossible to see from the outside if an engine mounting is good or bad. A good test is to open the bonnet and stand next to the car where you have a good view of the engine, while a helper in the driver's seat starts the engine and blips the throttle. Any engine will try to rock in the opposite direction to the rotation of the crankshaft when the revs suddenly pick up, but with good engine mountings this tendency will be firmly controlled and no more than about a centimetre of twisting will be seen. With bad mountings the excessive rocking will be evident, and you will probably be able to see where something (perhaps the exhaust header) is hitting against a metal object.

Engine mountings have two conflicting functions. They must prevent unwanted engine shake, as explained above, and at the same time absorb the vibrations produced by even the smoothest of engines so that these are not transmitted to the passenger compartment. Thus they must be stiff enough to control the rocking tendency, yet compliant enough to absorb the vibrations.

Very sophisticated, fluid-filled mountings are found on some cars, but on the Mazda it will (luckily) be the traditional design, consisting of one metal component bolted to the engine or gearbox, another bolted to the frame of the car and sandwiched between the two, a piece of rubber or polyurethane bonded to both components. Age, heat and chemical action gradually degrade the rubber, causing it to crack or come loose from the metal parts. On rear wheel drive cars, engine mountings often last for the life of the engine, but on front wheel drive transverse-engine layouts, they have a harder life.

My Yaris has now clocked 175 000km. I've always serviced it at Toyota, but the cost is escalating all the time. If I were to use another service provider, how would that affect the value of the car when I trade it in one day?


Buzekwa, it's an important selling point for a used car to be able to advertise it as having a Full Service History and as such, it will affect the trade-in value and the price if you sell it out of hand. But that does not mean that all the services should be performed by a dealer workshop. If you can find a private workshop or mechanic who can provide itemised invoices, it will be as good (or even better) than a service from the dealer. Just make sure they attach receipts for parts replaced and provide particulars of the car and their contact details on every invoice.

That said, you must be prepared to face prospective buyers who will want to know whether genuine Toyota parts, or "pirate parts" were used. How to distinguish between quality pirate parts and inferior ones?

1 Original Equipment Manufacturer parts made by the same manufacturer that originally supplied the parts to the vehicle assembly line and packaged in boxes showing the vehicle manufacturer's branding.

2 Parts made on the same production line as OEM parts and to the same specification, but supplied in boxes bearing the name of the part manufacturer rather than the vehicle manufacturer.

3 Parts as good as the originals, sometimes even better, made by an independent manufacturer.

4 Parts from an independent manufacturer that are inferior if you compare their surface finish to that of the original part (always take the old part with you) or look for things like sharp corners instead of smooth, rounded corners.

5 Inferior parts supplied in boxes on which the colours and logo are designed to mimic a respected manufacturer and fool the public.

Parts falling in the first three categories are safe to use and categories 2 and 3 might offer worthwhile savings over category 1. A trusted mechanic can offer valuable advice in this regard. Only in the case of certain very specific parts would I insist on category 1. These include CV joints, engine gaskets and water pumps.

For the rest, as long as the car gets serviced on time by a competent mechanic and you can provide proof of it, no reasonable buyer can have any quibble.


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