So I was driving and upon returning home I noticed the rear passenger wheel was smoking a fair bit and was very hot, this was accompanied by a nasty rubbery burning smell. I have a vw golf 1.9 tdi done 133k miles. This car has just given me too many problems recently, the pads and discs seem to wear almost every year in the last few years and I have no idea why and neither does any garage I take it to. I do only around 6-8k miles a year and do not brake excessively. What I really want to know is how I could about diagnosing the smoking wheel problem as I've had enough of spending money on this car and if at all possible I would rather attempt to fix it myself. What could the problem be and what types of checks would I need to do to find the problem? Btw the rear discs, pads, and calipers were replaced only earlier this year and that time the calipers had seized up.
These things are unfortunately more common with VW than they should be. First, what year?
So the first most likely cause is that your caliper is not retracting when you drive the car. That could be a "seized caliper" but more often it is a cable that is not moving smoothly, leaving the parking brake slightly on. The second most likely problem is that the parking brake mechanism has enough corrosion so that it is sticking a little.
If it's a cable issue, they are cheap parts ($13 as I recall). If it's the mechanism, you can lube it a bit, and operate it a bit and see if that will free it up. VW also has a spring used on some calipers, which will help return your parking brake to the OFF position. In my experience, I have had to do both flexing/lubing and the springs, and it still does not always free up. Some of my many VWs are worse than others. The 99.5 jetta is the worst.
One additional preventative thing I do on many cars, is slightly grind the side of the pads. This makes them a little smoother and helps the pads retract, and not get hung on the glide surfaces.
The fact that you drive so little has me concerned that you may have parts seizing up, or at least getting sticky and not moving freely.
You might want to say what year the VW is, and what your climate is.