Help! Wheels Not Spinning Freely

Only when it is very cold, my Honda Fit’s wheels do not roll freely when in neutral (or with the clutch in). It’s also a bit harder to shift into reverse or 1st gear. My gas mileage is suffering, and my husband is freaking out. Any idea what the problem might be?

Is the parking brake sticking? Sometimes the cable that activates the parking brake does not fully retract and it leaves the brake on. This would only affect the rear wheels.

How cold is “very cold”? How much is the mileage “suffering”? Can you tell if it is the front or rear wheels? Manual or Automatic transmission? Have you checked the fluids and tire pressure?

It’s definitely not the parking break. This problem has been going on for a few days, and it really corresponds with the weather. I took it to the dealership on a warmer day, and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I live in Boston, so by cold I mean teens and 20s, colder with wind chill.

My first guess would be sticking caliper slides. The cold stiffens up the grease, the slides don’t allow the caliper to fully release pressure. A good cleaning and relube would be the remedy if that is the case.

the rear brakes drum or disk? If drum it could be the shoes sticking in place even though the brake handle seems to be working fine. This would not appear to the dealership on a warm day.

The hard shifting is leading me to believe the wrong gear lube is in the transmission. I made this mistake once, putting too high a weight lube in the transmission, then suffered hard shifts and a drag in the drivetrain when the temps dropped. Replacing with the proper lubricant fixed my problem.

Have the gear lube in the transmission changed to the proper lubricant listed in the owner’s manual and see if this fixes it.

Since it’s temperature affected, my first guess would be that you have moisture in the lines or calipers and it’s freezing and expanding, applying the brakes as it does so.

But BustedKnuckles has posted an excellent suggestion. My suggestion can be either verified or eliminated as a possibility by simply putting the car in jackstands and turning the wheels by hand. If a brake is dragging, you’ll feel it. If not, Busted may be right.