Could a bad rim be the reason the back passenger rim on my 2000 VW Golf is heating up? I just put on my new winter tires which were put on OLD spare rims my mechanic had laying around. After the change I took a quick drive with max 60 mph and afterwards the back passenger rim was hot to the touch.

A few things to note - only this rim was hot ( I checked ) - there are no vibrations or symptoms present typical of a bad bearing - I do not THINK the problem was present before as I changed the tires within 20 min after driving home from work and the old rim was NOT hot - I put the car in neutral (it's a stick) and was able to push the car no problem so I don't think the brakes are involved.

  • Just clarifying it was the rim that was hot, not the tyre's tread or sidewall? Serious underinflation would cause heat, but it would also be poor handing like squirm and crabbing. And it would look low.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


During the tire change, the mechanic deployed your emergency brake. If you do not use it frequently, the mechanisms which actuate may have rust and corrosion on them. Even if the parking brake lever has been returned to the normal position, the actual brake mechanism on the one wheel may still be applying the brake.

I recommend having your vehicle towed on a flatbed to your mechanic and asking him to inspect the rear brakes and parking brake mechanism for proper function.


The most likely thing that will be causing your hot rim is that the brake on that wheel being slightly seized on. The piston in the calliper is probably corroded causing the piston to not retract. The brake will be getting very hot and some of this heat will be warming the rim. Since it is a rear wheel that is getting hot, it could be the hand brake mechanism that is seizing The brake will only need to be slightly on for it to heat up when driving, so you may not notice much resistance when pushing the car.


Assuming the wheel and tyre are the the correct size etc for the vehicle and nothing is rubbing, then the only other thing that could be heating up the wheel are the brakes. Also, sometimes If the handbrake is adjusted up too tight the rear brakes can be inadvertently be applied slightly as the suspension moves up and down. Check for correct adjustments of rear brakes including handbrake cable.

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