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Rear Right Tire Won't Turn on 1995 Dodge Neon

I have a 1995 Dodge Neon with a problem. The e-brake was on for two days and when we went to drive the car today the right right tire will not spin. If I apply the e-brake or depress the brake peddle the rear tire won’t move at all. However, with the e-brake off or the brake peddle up, the car will rock slightly and I can hear something catching on the back tire.

Same if I try to spin the back tire. I can move it slightly but then it catches on something.

Any thoughts? Is this the brake, or a wheel bearing? What can I do to troubleshoot/resolve?

Sounds as if the park brake cable will not release. Tow it to a brake shop, independent repair shop or a dealer to fix this. A lot of people will tell you that dealer shops are run by the anti-christ (kidding) but they are no better or no worse than a quality independent shop, it’s your choice.

With car in park or shut off in gear for a manual transmission, move the brake cable back and forth until the brake releases, then get the cable replaced if the wheel turns. If you go nuts, you can kink the cable so don’t go crazy.

Is the car in a location where you can work on it? If so, remove the tire and try to remove the problem brake drum. Failing that, have it towed to a repair shop or your home were you can work on it…

Probably the parking brake cable although – as with many other cars today – the parking brake on our 1995 Neon was nowhere near strong enough to prevent the car from moving if one applied some gas to the engine. It, could, as you suggest, be the wheel bearing.

However, we did have a kind of weird problem with that selfsame Neon. One of the brake shoes friction material sections came unglued from the shoe and ended up bouncing around inside the wheel. It was sort of trapped, so it still worked after a fashion and confined itself to making really strange noises. But I suspect that if it had worn thinner before coming loose, it might have been able to migrate around and wedge itself under the other shoe. In the unlikely event that has happened with your car, it could cause your symptoms.

Conceptually, you should jack up the car; remove the lug nuts; remove the two set screws holding the drum to the wheel (I may be imagining those–we did have them on one of our cars, but maybe it wasn’t the Neon) ; and pull the brake drum off. … Except, I don’t think that drum is going to come off without a LOT of force. In addition to the brake probably being stuck on, you have probably worn a trough in the drum over the years that will certainly resist removal of the drum if the brakes are on … and very likely even if they are off. If the wheel won’t turn with the drum removed and the brake mechanism looks rational, the problem is probably the axle/wheel bearing.

Not questioning you; just trying to understand. If it is the brake, why when released would the wheel lock after turning just a bit?

Sometimes a parking brake can stick due to rust. Usually it breaks free pretty easily when the car is put in gear and you get on the gas. In this case the cable could be stuck and not releasing the brake. Or, there is some broken parts in the locked wheel and debris is wedged in the drum somehow jamming the wheel.

If you can’t get the car moving just by some rocking back and forth action, then you’ll have to pull the wheel and then the brake drum to find out the problem. Since this is all locked up at the moment it won’t come apart easily. If you’re not mechanical I’d get the car towed to a shop. After jacking up the locked wheel you should put it on a jack stand before working on it. You are going to be doing a lot of banging and yanking on the wheel and drum. It is too dangerous doing this kind of work with the jack supplied with the car. Also wear eye protection as you work on this one.

Adding my opinion here. From what you describe I think the brake shoe friction linings are rusted to the brake drums. Usually you can break them free by rocking the car forward and reverse. You might be able to break them free by prying against the shoes through the adjuster port of the backing plate.

This usually happens when the ebrake is applied when the brake shoes are still wet or got wet afterward. If you do break the shoes free, you will probably experience a jerkie application on that wheel until the rust has been worn of the drum.

Hope that is what it is. Good luck.

I imagine you have the car in neutral while trying to turn the wheel. If not , the wheel will only move a fraction of an inch. Have you tried backing up? This could help release a stuck brake.