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Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02 Aug 2017, 06:26 pm
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Exclamation Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Hello everyone, I am back yet AGAIN with another problem. I was driving my car on the freeway yesterday and it was pretty hot outside. 1 minute before I get off the freeway, I hear a kind of faint growling/metal scraping noise. 5 minutes later when I am pulling into my grandma's garage, I smell a horrid burning smell. I quickly parked and saw that there was some smoke coming from the driver's side wheel well. It was also EXTREMELY HOT only from that wheel well (the plastic hubcap was almost fallen off). It smelled like plastic/rubber that had been set on fire. Fearing for a fire I looked under the hood, and I couldn't smell as much. The smell was localized to the wheel/well. I don't know if this helps, but my mechanic told me a few months ago that my wheel bearing was going, but I could drive it for some more time. I made it home fine on the streets. It started to smell again a few minutes before I got home, but this time when I parked, the wheel didn't smell and there was no smoke.I'm going to get it checked out next week, but I really want to have an idea of what it is. Any help is appreciated

Last edited by Dg123; 02 Aug 2017 at 06:29 pm.
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Old 02 Aug 2017, 06:47 pm
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

I had a bad bearing I waited to fix in my '74 Nova...big mistake. It started smoking about 2 miles from home & I drove it the rest of the way. Not only did I melt the bearing, but I destroyed the spindle as well.
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Old 02 Aug 2017, 07:38 pm
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dg123 View Post
Hello everyone, I am back yet AGAIN with another problem. I was driving my car on the freeway yesterday and it was pretty hot outside. 1 minute before I get off the freeway, I hear a kind of faint growling/metal scraping noise. 5 minutes later when I am pulling into my grandma's garage, I smell a horrid burning smell. I quickly parked and saw that there was some smoke coming from the driver's side wheel well. It was also EXTREMELY HOT only from that wheel well (the plastic hubcap was almost fallen off). It smelled like plastic/rubber that had been set on fire. Fearing for a fire I looked under the hood, and I couldn't smell as much. The smell was localized to the wheel/well. I don't know if this helps, but my mechanic told me a few months ago that my wheel bearing was going, but I could drive it for some more time. I made it home fine on the streets. It started to smell again a few minutes before I got home, but this time when I parked, the wheel didn't smell and there was no smoke.I'm going to get it checked out next week, but I really want to have an idea of what it is. Any help is appreciated
Wow! I would not drive it anymore. Take it in immediately as you might have an accident if the components are coming apart.
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Old 02 Aug 2017, 07:44 pm
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

A failing bearing can generate a lot of heat. Once things have cooled down, lift the wheel using a jack and jackstands and try turning the wheel by hand. If it doesn't turn reasonably freely with the transmission in neutral (and particularly if you feel binding, hear grinding noises, etc.), I'd say you'd found your problem.

I'd look into/fix this sooner rather than later. Despite your mechanic telling you that you could "drive on it for some more time", mechanical stuff can be pretty unforgiving once things start to go wrong. Ignoring a simple wheel bearing (cheap and easy to replace) can cause all sorts of collateral damage (axle shaft failure, damaged wheel, melted hub cap, loss of control accompanied by collision / damage / injury / death) once it fails.
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Old 02 Aug 2017, 09:12 pm
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Okay, thanks so much for all the replies I'll try the jack thing and post back when I do that, or when I get it checked out. I'll definitely not drive the car until it's checked.
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Old 03 Aug 2017, 07:01 am
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Sounds like a stuck break caliper. With pads dragging it can melt your hubcap or even cause your tire to build pressure and ruin it or blowout. A bad brake hose can cause this same problems.
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Old 03 Aug 2017, 07:01 am
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Doesn't matter how free it spins. With weight on it, the wheel is crooked and it is rubbing the brake pads hard.

If you Jack it up, twist(don't spin) the tire up and down and left and right. You'll feel the play. -Use a manly amount of force when you do it. Not like hanging a picture.

If there is No Play when you twist it, Busted Is likely right about the caliper. Did it make noise for the last week? Failing bearings howl for months before failing. Mine was so loud my keys jingled when I drove

My car did y what you describe because I put the wrong bearing on it. Was hot as hell after a block
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Last edited by rob302; 03 Aug 2017 at 07:06 am.
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Old 03 Aug 2017, 08:14 am
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

This has been a normal occurrence with my PT Cruiser for over 73 passes down the Sacramento Raceway!
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Old 03 Aug 2017, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

It hadn't done this until that day. The only noise the wheel made before is a popping noise when I turn left (the bad bearing side). What is odd is when there was the smell the first time with smoke, you could smell the tire and it smelled like burning plastic/rubber. When I went back home, I started getting the smell through the window at a stop light 5 mins before home, but when I arrived home, the tire didn't smell unlike the first time. I still need to check the wheel, but is there any possibility this is coming from the engine?
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Old 03 Aug 2017, 12:37 pm
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Default Re: Burning smell and smoke from wheel well

Your ''popping'' noise may be from a worn out CV joint .. usually a ''click-click'' when turning in that direction.
IF really bad, the CV joint boot may be torn open and 90% of the special grease all over the place - even the calipers and rotors - resulting in horrible odors and smells ...and even smoke .
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