What to Do if Rear Wheel Locks up When Turning?

Rear wheel locks up when turning? This is primarily due to the brake shoe contamination or some other mechanical problems. Read on to know more.

Many times you will find the rear wheels getting locked when turning. The most common cause for this is some mechanical issues associated with rear brakes. It may have problems with the hydraulics of the system. 

It is very rare to get any hydraulic issues in vehicles, but you need to check it out correctly if the symptoms are there. There are many other causes for rear-wheel lockup. 

In this article, let us further look at:

  • What does it mean when the wheels lock up?
  • What would cause a rear wheel to lock up?
  • Why do brakes get locked when you try to stop?


Rear Wheels Locks Up When Turning

What Does It Mean When The Wheels Lock Up?

When your wheels lock up, it causes a frictional force that causes the car to shift unevenly from side to side. This can be very problematic, significantly if you are speeding. Your car can spiral out of control and cause a huge accident.


You might also like to read : Turn Signal Blinking Fast When Brakes Are Applied

Rear Wheel Locks Up When Turning: Reasons

Let us look at all the possible causes of rear-wheel lock up and look for the issue and solve it.

Adjust The Park Brakes

One possible reason for rear-wheel lockup in the vehicle can be related to the parking brake. If the brake adjustments are not made correctly, your rear brakes may become too sensitive. So before adjusting the brakes, you need to check your parking brake adjustments constantly. 

If your vehicle has duo-servo rear drum brakes, the rear brakes get locked up or jammed. 

Brake Shoe Adjusters

This also causes the rear wheel to lock up. You should constantly adjust the brake until you feel it getting pulled. This is only true for older vehicles, though.

If your vehicle has drum brakes in the rear, then you will find that the car stops a little while backing up. These stops help to adjust the drum brakes properly. This way, you can complete the adjustment process. 


Rear Wheels Locks Up When Turning

Wheel Bearings

One of the possible causes of rear wheels getting locked is related to wheel bearing failure. This may be due to the brake caliper. So how does the brake caliper locks up the wheels? Usually, brake calipers help decrease the speed of the rotor in the wheel and make the vehicle stop. Sometimes the piston there in the brake caliper gets seized and does not release. You need to replace the piston in this case immediately.

Rear Disc Brake 

The rear disc brakes are an essential part when you look at operating rear brakes. Many people may think that return springs are the only way to stop the vehicle, but it also tells you when to apply the rear brakes. If the return spring is pretty weak, you will find the brake engages untimely. This causes the rear wheel lockup.

Brake Shoe Damage

One of the common causes of rear-wheel getting locked is brake shoe getting damaged. If you find the wheel cylinder leaking and contaminating the brake shoe, there will be a change in the level of friction that the brake provides. You may not be able to stop your vehicle immediately due to reduced friction.

If the contamination is severe, it will reduce the amount of friction that the brake gives. Usually, this happens when you set up new shoes. To prevent such issues, you can put a wide masking tape on all friction and remove it after some time.


Usually, the drum brakes work depending on their friction and how they get contacted on the surface. After a period of time, it wears out, and you need to replace the braking system.


Rear Wheels Locks Up When Turning


Why Do Brakes Get Locked When You Try To Stop?

It can be pretty risky when your brakes get locked during an emergency or while you slow down your vehicle. It makes it difficult to steer and does not let the car stop quickly. This mostly happens when the friction inside the vehicle is more. 

So when you apply too much pressure on the brake, its inner components may cause the tires to remain still, and the car may slide on the road. It loses all traction. 


You might also like to read : Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

So why do brakes lock up? 

The leading cause of brake lockup is the amount of friction in brakes. Usually, friction is created at two points. One is there in the braking system itself. When the brake components come in contact to slow down and stop the vehicle, it creates friction. 

Another way is friction between the tires and the road. So when you drive, the wheels of your vehicle hold a grip on the road and allow you to stay at one place without taking a turn. 

When the friction in the vehicle is more than usual, it may cause the tires to lock up, and your vehicle may still be moving. And the brakes get locked up and may not allow you to turn your steering as well.

What To Do When Wheels Lock Up?

When your brakes lock up while driving, it is very frightening. If you find yourself in such a situation anytime, you need to be prepared and not wait to look at what happens. Take a note of the following tips if you find yourself in such situations by any chance.


Rear Wheels Locks Up When Turning

Try To Control Your Vehicle

Let the wheels be locked up, try to control your vehicle, and wait for your car to stop completely. You may need to press the brake pedal multiple times and wait till the car stops. 

When your brakes are locked up, you need to keep in mind that you don’t have control over your steering and need to try to control as much as you can.

On a public road with a lot of vehicles nearby, locked up wheels can cause accidents. If you feel your wheels locking up, keep your foot off the accelerator and try to bring the car to a slow speed and finally to a stop.

Release The Brake Pedal

To unlock your vehicle’s brake, you need to release the brake pedal. Your car will gain traction again. By doing this, you will be able to stop the vehicle quickly and control the steering wheel. Even if you are not able to release the brakes, make sure where you are heading.

Stab Braking Method

One way to get out of this situation is using the stab braking technique. You can release the brake pedal and press it in short intervals (like stabbing at them). This way, you may get control of the steering wheel again, and you will be able to slow down your vehicle.


Rear Wheels Locks Up When Turning

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes The Rear Brakes To Get Locked?

There are various reasons rear drum brakes get locked. Sometimes the brake cylinder, an essential component of a brake system, gets defective, causing the brakes to lock up.

Another reason for brakes to get locked is:

  • Tight brake cable
  •  Applying too much pressure on the brake pedal.

How Do You Know If The Rear Axle Is Damaged?

When you drive your vehicle and hear some vibrating noises or noting your vehicle bumping, it means there is something wrong with your axle, and you need to stop driving your vehicle until you get it fixed.


You might also like to read : Spongy Brake Pedal When Engine Running


Rear Wheel Locks Up When Turning

The braking system of any vehicle is one of the most important things to consider. It usually happens when the braking force is more than the frictional force that keeps the tire moving on the surface. If you find any issue, you need to get it fixed immediately. 

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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