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So I go to get my wheels changed and balanced and I leave with the driver side rim heating up unnaturally even after driving just a few miles.

The car stops unusually quickly. It's quite clear that the brake pads are clutching/seizing on the rotor—even when I'm not pressing the brakes.

My question is: What could have gone wrong? I'm suspecting they messed something up. Would, for example, tightening the bolts far too much lead to pushing the brake pads against the rotor? I see no (brake fluid) leakage, nor any other symptoms, except that they also did a lousy job at balancing the wheels: The steering wheel wobbles starting from 30mph.

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You said, "to get my wheels changed and balanced" ... Does this mean the wheels are new (or new to you)? Or do you mean to say you had the wheels/tires rotated? –  Paulster2 May 22 at 22:55
    
Yes, the only reason I went in for work done is to replace the old tires (but not the rims). The four tires are now new. –  Calaf May 22 at 23:16
    
You didn't mention what type of car this is. Some vehicles have specific rims front/rear, this due to size and/or offset. If this is the case for you, it might be causing problems. –  Paulster2 May 23 at 1:41
    
The four rims are definitely identical. They appear at this (originalwheels.com/pontiac-wheels/vibe2005rims.php) page as part #6558. –  Calaf May 23 at 2:04
    
My guess is coincidence/bad luck. I've had multiple calipers suddenly fail/start sticking like that and there's never been any warning. At some point probability is that it will happen to somebody who is picking up a car from a tire shop. That might just be you. :-) –  Brian Knoblauch May 23 at 20:15

2 Answers 2

Recommendation

Rather than second-guess the cause, I would recommend that you take it back to the tire shop and explain to them what you're experiencing.

If you'd rather not...

Clearly something is binding in the brakes and the most obvious thing to do is to remove the wheel and inspect for any kind of obstruction.

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Pure speculation: It could be that a balancing weight has unseated and wedged in between the brake pads and disc, which might explain the wobble and the binding brake, but this is extremely unlikely. –  Zaid May 23 at 14:18
    
That might cause a change in braking but I would expect a secondary symptom of a crazy loud screech on braking. –  Bob Cross Jun 19 at 19:05

When you say drivers side, do you mean front or rear? If front, then it could possibly be just bad luck. It's really hard to do sabotage a front caliper so I wouldn't say the shop didn't anything shoddy.

If it's the rear, then how often do you use your parking brake? I know some places will use parking brake even though it is an automatic. It could be that the parking brake line is seized up. If rear I'd take it back to them and see if they could remove the tire and knock the E-brake loose.

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