Audi A4 burning smell

Its a 2002 model, 3.0 liter quattro, about 60,000 miles. Just started today, I noticed a burning smell around the left rear tire. I also noticed that the handbrake (parking brake) is slightly loose, it seems to have some play when I first try to pull the brake, but the light is off. The check engine light is not on, and the engine temperature is normal.

My thoughts, is the brake not released all the way? Does it have anything to do with the (bloody#%$^) cold here in Wisconsin? My dealer service dept will open only on Monday, should I drive any long distances until then?

Thanks for reading, any responses highly appreciated…

My best guess is that your left parking brake is frozen and dragging. Any chance of getting in a warm place long enough to thaw things out?

I agree. The light is off because the parking brake lever is down. That does not, however, mean the parking brake mechanism itself, or its cable, is not frozen, and can’t release.

I’m surprised the heat that produced the burning smell was not sufficient to release the frozen parking brake. If the brake itself is frozen, the heat from driving should thaw it. If the cable is frozen, only some time in a heated garage will thaw it.

If you drive the car tomorrow and don’t notice the smell anymore, then don’t worry about it. If the parking brake is frozen (either the brake itself or the cable), it will continue to smell (and may even smoke) until you figure out a way to thaw out the brakes.

Park this car indoors for a few hours, or overnight, if possible.

If the parking brake is “frozen” due to ice in the cable or the brake mechanism, then thawing it out might help. However, more likely the cable or brake mechanism is rusted up “frozen”, and no amount of heat is going to help. Has this parking brake been exercised regularly, or just used once in a great while?

If the left rear brake is dragging like that, I would drive as little as possible until it’s fixed. You could end up welding pieces together (is this a drum or disc?) or otherwise ruining something expensive.