Should a pre-inspection have caught a broken motor mount?

Let me preface this by saying I know absolutely nothing about cars. Another guy on the road a couple weeks ago knew absolutely nothing about stop signs, so long story short I found myself needing a new car in a hurry. I found a 2008 civic hybrid that fit the bill, so I got a pre-purchase inspection from a garage near the dealer. The guy said it looked good so I bought it. Took it for an oil change two days later at my regular mechanic and they tell me there is a broken motor mount. Before I call up the pre-purchase guy and ask for my money back, I want to double check; is this something he should have caught? (I got the “delux” inspection where he put it up on the jack).


Did any sort of report come from the garage that did the inspection?

Reason I ask is we had what amounted to a pre-inspection done on our own car years ago to see if it was worth keeping and got a copy of the list they went over down to the performance of the starter and alternator relative to spec among other things.

Fairly sure the motor mounts were on that list. More detailed than the inspection they would do when you come in for an oil change;

How do you intend to prove the motor mount was broken at the time of the inspection, and wasn’t broken after you took possession of the car?

Some motor mounts are more complicated than others and Honda seems to have the most ridiculous mounts. Some Honda mounts have engine vacuum attached to them to stiffen engine support when idling for some reason and a visual inspection won’t give any indication of a failure and even the conventional check by rocking the engine by shifting in and out of gear is inconclusive unless the mechanic is experienced with them. Of course I have no idea how ethical or experienced the mechanic was who inspected your car was. But he should be honest in his explanation of how he overlooked such a problem.


Thanks everyone for your replies. Rod, that’s really helpful: I’ll follow up with my own mechanic and see how they diagnosed the problem. Unfortunately, I don’t have any paperwork from the inspector; I’m hoping if he missed something he shouldn’t have missed he’ll do the right thing and reimburse me for his inspection fee since avoiding expenses like this is the whole point of the pre-purchase inspection. If not then all I can do is give a bad Yelp review…

so, you would have lowered your offer by $300 for a motor mount?
11yrs on a battery pack. you had the integrity of the battery pack verified? 11 yrs is right about time to replace the battery pack. you have proof of 100k service done? new trans fluid, coolant and so on?
used car shopping is odd. seller wants 7000. you say how did you come up with that number? how about 6900? or 6855? 7000 feels good.

While I understand that You are annoyed with the engine mount, You also have to realize that it is impossible to go through a car in every detail in the time given, unless the buyer is prepared to pay considerable more for the inspection.
Should he have found the broken mount - yes - maybe (see Rod’s reply). With a car like Yours, I’d prefer he had more attention to the hybrid part of the car, then I could live with a balljoint or an engine mount, but obviously he gave it a good character since You don’t mention other things.
I’m not sure that I’ll give anybody a bad rap on something like this, but it could depend on his response. After all, he did a job and You’ll end up with a good car - still for a fair or good price.
Now is the time to enjoy it. :wink:


In addition, I just checked Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s Used Car Inspection Checklist from their book How to Buy a Great Used Car and Popular Mechanics’ Used-Car Checklist,* and neither source includes the motor mounts, so unless you asked for it specifically, or gave the mechanic an actual checklist that had motor mounts on it, I don’t think the mechanic is going to refund the OP’s money, and I don’t think this warrants a bad Yelp review.



Back in the good ole days when Tom and Ray were getting greasy just shifting from reverse to drive a few a few times would quickly make a bad motor mount obvious @Whitey. But the Honda mounts and a few similar from other manufacturers were a real pain to diagnose until they totally let go. When the internal bladder sprung a leak oil might be noticed but not necessarily. But I recall the brake and clutch pedal vibrating badly and wasting hours looking for an out of balance problem on the engine before noticing the peculiar rear mount on my introduction to those. And it was an expensive part.