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I have a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer. I was driving on the freeway when all of a sudden I start hearing a loud squeaking noise. Then, when I came to a low speed (15 km/h or so), there was a massive BANG every revolution of my front right wheel.

After I came to a halt, the wheel has completely locked up and I cannot move the car. If I rev the car up to 4000 rpm and dump the clutch, I get a massive bang, smell of burning, and one free revolution of the wheel before it has locked up again.

The lock is so bad that when the car was winched onto a tow truck the wheel was skidding up the tray.

Does this sound like a wheel bearing issue, locked caliper, differential (god forbid)?

  • I wonder if it could be an ABS problem that is causing one wheel to lock up. – dlu Dec 27 '16 at 20:16
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    There is only enough information here for anyone to guess what happened. It could be a number of things, but I am guessing the wheel bearing failed catastrophically. – CharlieRB Dec 27 '16 at 20:33
  • Turned out to be a loose brake caliper! – Barney Chambers Sep 8 '17 at 2:08
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I don't think it's the differential, I believe it would affect both front wheels.

A failed hub is where my money is, although it could still be something related to the brakes. I don't think a seized caliper would give you 1 free rotation and then lock again, unless your rotor is terribly uneven.

  • Take the wheel off and start with a visual inspection. See if the wheel spins freely in Neutral, make sure the issue is still present. If it spins freely, inspect the inside of the wheel (debris?), if you find nothing, maybe the culprit component simply overheated. You still need to find it though, so go for a short drive.
  • Then I'd take the caliper off and inspect it, then see if the wheel spins freely in Neutral.
  • Then I'd take the rotor off and inspect it, then see if the wheel spins freely Neutral.
  • I agree, this sounds much more like a total bearing failure. OP is certainly lucky it didn't happen at much higher speed. Good on OP to realizing an issue and slowing down to check it out. A locked brake caliper would typically still allow rotation of some kind. A failed differential is more likely to stop both wheels or cause a permanent neutral state (in transaxles). A failed wheel bearing would stop the wheel completely and prevent rotation. – Jeep Cherokee Rescue Society Dec 28 '16 at 8:40
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Sounds like the wheel bearing has collapsed.

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