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Tire froze up or what?

Wheel stuck. 1999 ford ranger. Drove home in a snow storm. Got freezing cold over night. When I came out the truck started but couldn’t move. Gassed it a bit got it to move but felt like a wheel was dragging. I put it into reverse and a loud pop happened. It freed up and I went to work. Parked for 8 hours and again stuck but not as bad. Still below freezing temps. I also do not use the parking brake but one of the cables may have snapped prior to this. What happened?

I had my tires freeze to the pavement once after an ill-advised car wash in really cold weather, so that is a possibility.

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I moved it a few feet from where I was parked before it popped and freed up.

Not sure but I think you have drum brakes on the rear of a 1999 Ranger.

You may have gotten enough slush around the brakes that it continues to freeze.
I would get it into a heated shop to melt everything off overnight.



Your brake pads/shoes froze to the rotors/drums!
It will actually drag a wheel until it lets go with a bang!


Those are both helpful Suggestions to my problem. I will try to heat things up but it’s going to be in negative temps tonight. Only a high of 20 degrees today.

As the others have mentioned I think the rear drum brake freezing up is the likely culprit here. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times over the years.

I never worried about my cars doing that when I tried to exist for winters in the frozen north. That’s not the only thing that sucks about those winters.

Just drive on and know that it is self correcting. It’ll warm up by July when I go back!

I once bought a new Miata on the coldest day of the year in RI. It was about 0F. The place insisted on washing it inside their enclosed area. They then dried it and put it in front of the dealer door. I went out after it had sat an hour or two and got the exact same bang. I always assumed it was water frozen to the rotor/caliper. I think Common Sense is correct. “Bang!” and it then moved. I learned a lesson on not washing cars in winter that day.

It’s not just brakes and it’s not just washing…
Last January, already sick of winter, I had been searching the web for 2 months and communicating with real estate people. Suddenly, we were in a hurry to head to Florida to look at a condo to buy (the good ones don’t stay on the market long) and I found the one. We threw some stuff in travel bags and decided to leave early before sun-up in the old Caravan parked outside. Apparently there had been freezing rain that night before the temperature plummeted.

I couldn’t get any of the 4 doors or tail gate to open, glazed over and frozen shut with thick ice The van was encapsulated. I knew I’d break a door handle pulling on them, so I pounded around the driver’s door perimeter with my fist until I cracked enough ice to horse it open. Then I started it and let it idle with heat on full blast until I could open the other doors and we were down the highway, so happy to be out of there. What a send-off!

We bought a turn-key condo that had EVERYTHING and then some, offered cash for the world’s quickest closing, bought groceries and moved in, smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life.


Ask a friend to stand by the ranger & watch the tires as you are free-ing it up next time it happens. If a big chunk of ice pops up when the wheel breaks-away, good chance the tire is freezing to the ground. If nothing obvious stuck to the tire , must be something internal to the wheel, like the brakes sticking. I used to live at 6500 feet in Colorado ski resort town and once in a while the parking brakes on my drum-equipped truck would freeze-up and release w/a bang like that. I never had a problem with the tires freezing to the ground though I suppose such a thing could happen.

The solution is to start the engine, drive until you hear it let go, then keep going in a generally south direction until you can’t see your breath when you go outside. Then stay there.