Correct procedure to spinning front wheels correctly on a front wheel drive auto trans?

Is this the correct procedure to spin one of the wheels on a 2000 corolla with auto transmission:

  1. Have a driver sit in the drivers seat
  2. Jack Car (only one side, drivers side in this case)
  3. Have drive start the car and put it in drive while holding the brakes firmly
  4. The emergency brake will be fully engaged
  5. Have second person spin the driver side wheel.


There is something “creaking” when coming to a stop at slow speeds. I suspect it’s the dust cover (my mechanic bend it last year while he was changing the CV axles).

Seems to go away after warming up. I want to spin the wheel by hand to see if I can reproduce the issue.

Well its not something I would do. First of all, emergency brakes just affect the rear wheels and are not all that good or reliable. The power on a front wheel drive may act like a posi traction and the power may go to the wheel on the ground instead. I don’t know. I would forget running the engine and just jacking the car up and spinning the wheel by hand, but could be just the brakes creaking.

How can you spin the wheel by hand (when it is jacked) when using an automatic transmission? The transmission is set to park…which I assume means both front wheels are locked.

Jack one tire up. Block the rear wheels with cinder blocks, 4 x 4’s or something similar. Turn the key to run but do not start the car. Put the selector into neutral. the wheel should spin by hand then. I am with Bing on this, probably the brakes making noise.

Great, I did not know about that technique…I will try it this afternoon.

Yeah, I don’t think it’s the brake. Because, when slowly accelerating from a stop…I can hear the creak (its almost as if its in the tire).

Brakes will make noise stopping and starting, disc brakes rub right after you remove your foot from the pedal. A dust shield would seem to rub all the time, not just when cold. But try out Steve’s method (no engine running), as long as you have the car on level ground, the wheels chocked, and the parking brake full on.

You could just take the front wheels off and inspect the dust covers.

I think it’s a dry ball joint that’s making the noise.


I had low speed creaking with my 2006 Matrix and it was the plastic wheel covers.

Oh, good point, letme try taking the cover off before my work commute tomorrow and see if that makes a difference.

I hope it’s not a ball joint, I put in a moog one last year and avoid potholes 99% of the time.