How can I tell what's broken?

I hit a curb rather hard the other day after sliding in the snow…Somehow I managed to hit it hard enough to move the front right tire against the edge of the wheel well. I know almost nothing about cars, and I need to know what I’ve possibly broken to find out how to fix it…

When driving home (never above five mph) the tire grated against the inside wall and made a horrid scraping noise. The wheel was turned as if to go left, though I went mostly straight with a slight left pull. When turning all the way left, the tire moved away from the wall so that the noise stopped, but going right madde it worse, applying more pressure to the tire.

Like I said, I know nothing about cars, and didn’t notice anythig other than the noise and pull.

You have damaged the front suspension and you need to get it trucked (on a flat bed, given the AWD) to a shop. It’s not safe to drive.

And I would guess a call to your insurance agent might be in order.

Get an estimate from a good body shop.
Like I said, I know nothing about cars,
This repair involves things that are critical to safety (yours and those you share the road with). Suspension repair is not for the inexperienced. Leave this one to the professionals.

The other advice about needing to get this towed is about dead on. To get you prepared for the bill, you need to think about why the tire is not in its proper location and not aligned properly:

There are a few major components that locate your steering wheel - your lower control arm, your strut assembly, and your tie rods. The first two are the ones that control where it is front/back and side/side in the wheel opening. The last one controls the turning of the wheel about the axis defined by your strut.

If the wheel is pushed back against the inside wall. then you have likely damaged the strut mount and lower control arm, as well as possibly damaging the strut itself, the ball joint, and the frame where the strut mounts and control arm attach. If the wheel is turned, then you can pretty much guarantee you’ll need a new inner/outer tie rod, and possibly a new steering knuckle.

I wouldn’t be shocked if you needed a new wheel bearing, too… or a new rim for your tire.

The bad news is that you could need a lot of parts to be replaced. The good news is that the labor shouldn’t be that horrendous, as the labor for replacing each individual part separately overlaps so significantly that replacing them all isn’t that many hours.

All in all, I’d wager you’re looking at $1,500-$2,000 in repairs.

I guess saying against the inside wall is wrong… It’s actually against the the left side, when you’re facing it. I don’t know if that makes a difference with any of the answers you’ve given.

You can’t tell what is broken and/or bent. The car will need to be put up on a lift to evaluate. A car carries a lot of momentum energy and a hit like this can do a lot more damage than you originally may think. Since it is an AWD car this is a drive wheel meaning suspension and drive train parts could be bent. Best to not drive it and get it towed to a body shop for evaluation.