Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

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Gladiators2Swansons
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Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:54 am

On Friday of last week (3/8), I had the wheels aligned on our 2006 Scion tC because it has new tires and hadn’t been aligned in several years. This morning, my wife called and said that after driving to work, there was smoke coming from the left rear tire/wheel area, it smelled bad, and the lug nuts were hot to the touch.

I have 2 main questions.

1) How likely is it that the recent alignment caused the tire/wheel issue? It’s an old car (~85,000 miles, 2006), and I drove it over 20 miles the day it was aligned and didn’t notice any problems, so it’s possible the smoking wheel is unrelated to the alignment. On the other hand, the proximity of this issue to the alignment seems suspicious.

2) Should I give the shop that aligned the wheels a chance to evaluate and possibly fix this issue, or should I take it somewhere else?

Thanks for the insight.

onourway
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by onourway » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:59 am

Unlikely that this is related to an alignment. Most likely this is a seized brake caliper or a bad wheel bearing. If you otherwise use this shop, I see no reason not to take it back to them.

THY4373
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by THY4373 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:01 am

Dumb question did she leave the parking brake on?

It sounds like the brake in the back may be on or stuck on. Did they align the rear wheels as well as front? That said I suspect coincidence here more than a failure of the shop. In any event I'd would get somebody to look at it asap.

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mhadden1
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by mhadden1 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:01 am

My guess is coincidence/bad luck. :(
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chevca
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by chevca » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:43 am

Yep, sounds more like a brake issue than anything to do with alignment. And as said above, could be a simple/silly as the parking brake left on.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:04 am

THY4373 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:01 am
Dumb question did she leave the parking brake on?

It sounds like the brake in the back may be on or stuck on. Did they align the rear wheels as well as front? That said I suspect coincidence here more than a failure of the shop. In any event I'd would get somebody to look at it asap.
Yeah parking brake is possible.

Hard to believe that the driver did not notice the lack of get up and go.

> or a bad wheel bearing

Usually this causes a very noticeable shrieking sound. My money is on the calipers or brake cylinder or parking brake.

Housedoc
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Housedoc » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:52 am

I would think a vehicle of this age would have some type of alarm letting you know the parking brake was on while driving.
I know a time or 2 mine has alerted me.

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Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:22 am

THY4373 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:01 am
Dumb question did she leave the parking brake on?

It sounds like the brake in the back may be on or stuck on. Did they align the rear wheels as well as front? That said I suspect coincidence here more than a failure of the shop. In any event I'd would get somebody to look at it asap.
Not a dumb question at all. It did not appear to be the parking brake when we looked at it again. Not sure if that's good (we weren't silly enough to drive with the parking brake on) or bad (more expensive to fix).

The receipt says they aligned 4 wheels.

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Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:25 am

Since the collective wisdom is that the alignment was unrelated to the smoke, I took it to the 'normal' shop last night. They don't do alignments, so I had to use another shop for that.

Hopefully nothing too expensive. Thanks everyone for the info.

barnaclebob
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:04 am
Yeah parking brake is possible.

Hard to believe that the driver did not notice the lack of get up and go.

> or a bad wheel bearing

Usually this causes a very noticeable shrieking sound. My money is on the calipers or brake cylinder or parking brake.
Some parking brakes are surprisingly weak once you start moving a little. Or maybe OP's wife didn't stomp it down or pull the lever very hard. My SUV wont budge with the brake set, my other car will move but its still noticeable. My moms older lumina would barely hold the car in place in idle.

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PrettyCoolWorkshop
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:52 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:04 am
Yeah parking brake is possible.

Hard to believe that the driver did not notice the lack of get up and go.

> or a bad wheel bearing

Usually this causes a very noticeable shrieking sound. My money is on the calipers or brake cylinder or parking brake.
Some parking brakes are surprisingly weak once you start moving a little. Or maybe OP's wife didn't stomp it down or pull the lever very hard. My SUV wont budge with the brake set, my other car will move but its still noticeable. My moms older lumina would barely hold the car in place in idle.
By the way, if you have a weak parking brake, you need to adjust its cable tension. This usually is a pretty simple job you can DIY. Imagine the terror scenario when your hydraulic (normal) brakes go out and you are careening down a hillside...
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Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:07 pm

PrettyCoolWorkshop wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:52 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:04 am
Yeah parking brake is possible.

Hard to believe that the driver did not notice the lack of get up and go.

> or a bad wheel bearing

Usually this causes a very noticeable shrieking sound. My money is on the calipers or brake cylinder or parking brake.
Some parking brakes are surprisingly weak once you start moving a little. Or maybe OP's wife didn't stomp it down or pull the lever very hard. My SUV wont budge with the brake set, my other car will move but its still noticeable. My moms older lumina would barely hold the car in place in idle.
By the way, if you have a weak parking brake, you need to adjust its cable tension. This usually is a pretty simple job you can DIY. Imagine the terror scenario when your hydraulic (normal) brakes go out and you are careening down a hillside...
I haven't noticed any issues with the parking brake, aside from it possibly being left up, but that's useful to know. Thanks.

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Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:10 pm

Just got the car back from the mechanic. He said that too much grease was applied to the wheel studs and nuts, and guessed that some of it got on the wheel and burned.

It worked out well in the end. The front caliper pins were rusted and sticking, so he freed those up. The brake pedal is a lot shorter now than it was. I always thought the car had a long pedal, but evidently the pins were sticking.

Thanks everyone for the help.

Morgan Dollar 1921
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Morgan Dollar 1921 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:38 pm

A lot of good advice here already, however, as I used to question prospective customers, when pressed for an answer over the phone, "Are you on your cell phone? OK, can you hold the cell phone really close to the car? I never did this until the third or fourth time asked, after suggesting they drive it/tow it in for diagnosis, repeatedly. Then I would remark, hmmm,, my crystal ball is a little cloudy, maybe we better go back to you bringing it in and we will look at it. I know, I chased customers away doing this, but we already had a backlog at our locally owned shop, with a good reputation. I only used that line a few times, and after 30-40 years in the car repair biz, you have seen a lot and become a little salty. Plus you often have a customer standing in front of you for scheduling, consultation of breakdown and needed repairs along with suggestions for observation,also sometimes someone wanted to pay their bill and on there way.

Possible causes:

Parking brake, parking brake cable rust/corrossion, rear wheel bearing, rear brake return spring broken, rear brake lining failure, rear brake hose failure, rear wheel cylinder failure/rear brake caliper piston corrosion & stuck, and last but not least, rear brake proportioning valve stuck/failed.

Plus maybe a half dozen more less obvious issues.

I remember, (no one cares, LoL) the 78 - 80 GM A-body rear wheel cylinder recall. Instead of one or two bolts holding the rear wheel cylinder in, GM used a oblong stamped hole in the steel rear wheel backing plate. This along with the same shape wheel cylinder mounting surface and a spring clip was the new solution to quick assembly, and economical shortcuts for mass production of the "New Malibu" and the Chevy sister A- body Monte Carlo. Add in the corporate cousins of Olds, Pontiac, and Buick, well you had a real mess. Mr Winter and salt/snow combo led to corrosion and presto, you had self rotating wheel cylinders. If you read all this, you will never get that 4 minutes back, but this is intended to detail how stuff can go wrong with older cars.

Edit to add, yes my typing is slow, glad the OP had an easy fix, not sure I would use that alignment shop again, however.

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JPH
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by JPH » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:36 pm

They usually only align the front wheels on my car.
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miamivice
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by miamivice » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:41 pm

Gladiators2Swansons wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:10 pm
Just got the car back from the mechanic. He said that too much grease was applied to the wheel studs and nuts, and guessed that some of it got on the wheel and burned.
Um, did he check your blinker fluid level while he was at it? :D

I have never heard of using grease on wheel studs and nuts. Costco doesn't apply any when they rotate my tires and I don't use any either. I don't know for sure but would guess that it is not recommended to use grease on wheel studs and nuts....

Also, the studs are quite a distance from the portion of the rotors that contacts the brake pads. It'd take a ton of grease to move in there area.

If indeed it was so heavily greased that it got under the pads, you probably should replace the pads because greased pads are no good. Pads are designed to have high friction, not low friction, to aid in stopping.

Did he explain how the grease made the lug nuts hot to the touch? I haven't touched mine after a drive (will do that tonight) but do not believe the lug nuts are hot to the touch. The rotors are but I think the lug nuts are far enough away that they wouldn't get hot.
Last edited by miamivice on Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm

Grease should never be applied to wheel studs!
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Calhoon
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Calhoon » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:51 pm

on my Avalon whenever the brake pads would start getting on the low (not ready to be replaced but getting close) the caliper would hang up and create the same symptoms you're describing.

tibbitts
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by tibbitts » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:14 pm

miamivice wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:41 pm
Gladiators2Swansons wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:10 pm
Just got the car back from the mechanic. He said that too much grease was applied to the wheel studs and nuts, and guessed that some of it got on the wheel and burned.
Um, did he check your blinker fluid level while he was at it? :D

I have never heard of using grease on wheel studs and nuts. Costco doesn't apply any when they rotate my tires and I don't use any either. I don't know for sure but would guess that it is not recommended to use grease on wheel studs and nuts....

Also, the studs are quite a distance from the portion of the rotors that contacts the brake pads. It'd take a ton of grease to move in there area.

If indeed it was so heavily greased that it got under the pads, you probably should replace the pads because greased pads are no good. Pads are designed to have high friction, not low friction, to aid in stopping.

Did he explain how the grease made the lug nuts hot to the touch? I haven't touched mine after a drive (will do that tonight) but do not believe the lug nuts are hot to the touch. The rotors are but I think the lug nuts are far enough away that they wouldn't get hot.
Lug nuts, with or without grease, are frequently too hot to touch, although it's entirely dependent on vehicle operation. You might want to use a non-contact thermometer before touching to avoid burns.

I sometimes use a small amount of anti-seize compound on lug nuts but also reduce torque somewhat when I do that.

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wander
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by wander » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:57 pm

Bring it to my house, I will let you know what's wrong. :D I want to help you but I cannot give you a bunch of guesses.

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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by foamypirate » Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:07 pm

Morgan Dollar 1921 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:38 pm
I remember, (no one cares, LoL) the 78 - 80 GM A-body rear wheel cylinder recall. Instead of one or two bolts holding the rear wheel cylinder in, GM used a oblong stamped hole in the steel rear wheel backing plate. This along with the same shape wheel cylinder mounting surface and a spring clip was the new solution to quick assembly, and economical shortcuts for mass production of the "New Malibu" and the Chevy sister A- body Monte Carlo. Add in the corporate cousins of Olds, Pontiac, and Buick, well you had a real mess. Mr Winter and salt/snow combo led to corrosion and presto, you had self rotating wheel cylinders. If you read all this, you will never get that 4 minutes back, but this is intended to detail how stuff can go wrong with older cars.

Edit to add, yes my typing is slow, glad the OP had an easy fix, not sure I would use that alignment shop again, however.
As the proud owner of a 1980 El Camino based on the same platform, I found this historic tidbit quite fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

Morgan Dollar 1921
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Morgan Dollar 1921 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:30 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm
Grease should never be applied to wheel studs!
+1

Morgan Dollar 1921
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Morgan Dollar 1921 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:33 am

foamypirate wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:07 pm
Morgan Dollar 1921 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:38 pm
I remember, (no one cares, LoL) the 78 - 80 GM A-body rear wheel cylinder recall. Instead of one or two bolts holding the rear wheel cylinder in, GM used a oblong stamped hole in the steel rear wheel backing plate. This along with the same shape wheel cylinder mounting surface and a spring clip was the new solution to quick assembly, and economical shortcuts for mass production of the "New Malibu" and the Chevy sister A- body Monte Carlo. Add in the corporate cousins of Olds, Pontiac, and Buick, well you had a real mess. Mr Winter and salt/snow combo led to corrosion and presto, you had self rotating wheel cylinders. If you read all this, you will never get that 4 minutes back, but this is intended to detail how stuff can go wrong with older cars.

Edit to add, yes my typing is slow, glad the OP had an easy fix, not sure I would use that alignment shop again, however.
As the proud owner of a 1980 El Camino based on the same platform, I found this historic tidbit quite fascinating! Thanks for sharing!
You are quite welcome, one well known dealer I worked for had three demo's, a Caprice, a Corvette, and yes, an El Camino! You are among good company, :happy

tibbitts
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:41 am

Morgan Dollar 1921 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:30 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm
Grease should never be applied to wheel studs!
+1
Well... you also have to compensate for torque to overcome corrosion too if you install them dry so I'm not sure that's any more or less arbitrary. In a perfect world I guess you'd replace any studs or nuts with corrosion but who does that?

Morgan Dollar 1921
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Re: Smoking tire/wheel/brake one week after wheel alignment

Post by Morgan Dollar 1921 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:56 am

tibbitts wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:41 am
Morgan Dollar 1921 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:30 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm
Grease should never be applied to wheel studs!
+1
Well... you also have to compensate for torque to overcome corrosion too if you install them dry so I'm not sure that's any more or less arbitrary. In a perfect world I guess you'd replace any studs or nuts with corrosion but who does that?
I have handed out a lot of lug nuts and studs over the years, in a GM dealership. The techs know that just like the oil pan drain plug, "IF" the next time they see that car, the next visit in other words and something like a stud or nut or drain plug fails, they are the person who gets the blame. The GM chrome capped lug nuts that were only metal capped lug nuts were famous for the metal capping failing, thus we sold a lot of them, (GM part #'s,.414187 & 414188)

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