Your car was not safe to drive when the squeaking started months ago. You're extremely lucky the part broke in a parking lot. Ford has more trouble with steering and suspension parts separating leading to loss of control and crashes than almost all other manufacturers combined. You could have ended up in a ditch or in oncoming traffic.
By far the most common cause of what you described is a separated lower ball joint. Not only will you need to call a tow truck, trying to force the car to move will make the tire push into the fender and bend it. It's possible on some models to tear off the rubber flexible brake hose.
Sitting low on one corner can also be caused by a broken coil spring, but that won't be preceded by a squeaking sound. This is more common on some older import models. Usually they break when hitting a bump or pothole, then the sharp end of the spring tears the sidewall of the tire.
Have your car inspected at a tire and alignment shop at least once per year and any time you hear a squeaking or rattling sound. One customer told us the ball joint broke on his Ford T-Bird 700 miles after he first heard the squeaking sound. I've also seen them break on two mid '80s Escorts as the drivers turned into our parking lot. There are some things that make noises that are not serious safety issues, but don't trust that until you know for sure what the cause is.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 AT 12:22 PM