1. A brake caliper seizing (sticking) keeping the brakes on that wheel partially engaged as you drive, causing the rotor and pads to overheat, producing the smoke.
2. A bad wheel bearing, (usually causes a roaring noise) causing the grease in the bearing to overheat, causing the smoke you saw.
3. A seizing a/c compressor clutch. The belt would continue to circulate around the seized clutch (usually causes a loud squealing noise), causing th smoke you saw.
3A. With the hood open start the vehicle (with thw a/c off) and observe the belt, especially as it goes around the a/c pulley (be sure that the pulley is rotating). Have an assistant to turn the a/c on as you watch the pulley (i'd be great if you could watch the front of the pulley; it's easier to see it seize/stick, if that's the case). If it seizes it will momentarily stop spinning, appearing to jerk from time to time.
2A. You can jack up the tire on that side of the car and simply shake the wheel (hands in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and then again in the 12 and 6 o'clock positions) to see if it wobbled/wiggles in and out or up and down. Excessive movement indicates a worn bearing (or loose lug bolts).
1A. With the tire remove look at brake pads on that wheel. If it is seizing, one pad will be worn down much more than the other (you have 2 pads on each wheel; one on the inside of the rotor and the other on the outside of the rotor).
Please let me know the results of these tests. Thanks
Sunday, March 31st, 2013 AT 4:03 PM