There could be numerous reasons for this phenomenon to occur, but it mostly comes back to the fact that you have abnormal levels of heat in the brakes.
Malfunctioning Brake Calipers
The first probable cause would have to do with the brake calipers malfunctioning and being stuck to the metal. If one of the components does malfunction, the brakes would fail to release and this could cause friction over time. The harder you drive the car, the faster the friction is created and this can cause heat generation that leads to excessive smoke.
All cars have bearings that roll with the wheel and create a smooth motion that is fluid. However, bearings can break or they might get damaged, which could lead to friction. Once again, the friction created inside the wheel would be due to the bearings. These would eventually overheat and even melt, which can cause significant amounts of smoke.
Lack Of Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is not only important for making sure that the brakes function optimally, but they also cool the brakes. If there is no cooling agent present, the brakes would continuously generate heat without cooling. Once again, this could lead to the melting and even being stuck, which would lead to excessive smoke.
Overheating Tire Surface
As you might have noticed, when rally drivers drift their vehicles around corners, you often see smoke coming from the tires. Whilst has nothing to do with the brakes and often happens when the surface of the tire gets too hot. Whilst this does damage the thread on the tire, this is not something that you should be worried about and should fix itself.
Worn Out Tires
Finally, you could be dealing with worn-out tires or even a puncture that has gone unnoticed and now you are driving on the rim. Since the rim is also made from metal, there will be constant friction between the two. The problem with this is that your worn-out tires would damage the rim and cause smoke to come from the wheel.
Concerning Symptoms Of Smoke Coming From The Tire
Since many reasons could cause smoke to come from the tires, we should look at some of the concerning symptoms. As mentioned, when drifting with your car, does not have any damaging effects. This might be due to the heat just building up. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that would indicate whether the issue is concerning:
Smell Of The Smoke
Burning Rubber is one of the main symptoms that you would inevitably experience and this could be frustrating to deal with. While it could be simply due to overheating tires, it could also be due to other components causing the tires to overheat.
Unless you know that you have manually forced the tires to overheat when drifting, for example, you should watch for the smell of burning rubber. If the smoke smells like burning rubber, something could be causing some heat in the rubber, which is damaging the tire.
There are generally two colors of smoke you will see. The first one is white smoke, which is often seen with drifting and other issues. However, black smoke should be the one that gets you concerned. Black smoke could mean that something is stuck or melted to the brake caliper.
It could also mean that the brakes are damaging the tire, which leads to this excessive amounts of black smoke coming from the wheel. Your best practice would be to look at the tire and try to diagnose what is happening.
Whilst smoke duration is something that you can use, I don’t heavily rely on it when it comes to diagnosing an issue. Various factors like the air temperature could affect this. However, white smoke that only lasts a few seconds should not be that big of a concern.
On the other hand, if your tire keeps smoking for an excessive period and the smoke is black, you are dealing with something more serious. For this, I would recommend visiting your local mechanic or dealership to help you figure out the problem.
How To Fix Smoke Coming from The Tire?
Once you have noticed that your front wheels are smoking, the next logical step would be to figure out how you can fix this issue. Unfortunately, the fixes would vary depending on the cause of the issue and what is going wrong with your vehicle. Here are some of the possible fixes for some front wheel smoke issues you are bound to experience:
Fix The Braking System
By now, you must have noticed that the braking system is the main cause of smoke coming from the brakes. However, you would want to make sure that you have the brakes checked. If you have mechanical experience, you can remove the wheel and check this yourself.
I have learned that having professional assistance could help determine the cause of some of these issues. The best practice would be to visit your local dealership and have a mechanic give the car a good overlook.
Fix The Wheels
The only other reason might be caused by the wheels overheating or having some issues with the tread or the tire itself. You should consider looking deeper at your wheels to make sure that everything is in order. Once again, a tire and wheel expert should be able to assist you in finding the cause of the problem.
When Should You Replace The Front Wheel?
Having been the owner of many vehicles in my lifetime, there are only two real reasons to replace the wheel. The first would be when you experience a certain level of damage. This can be felt by the wheel not operating as it should. Additionally, you might find numerous vibrations when you are driving the vehicle that causes these problems.
The second reason stems from the tire tread. Depending on where you are in the world, you might have a minimum tire thread that could be causing some of these problems. If the tire tread is too low, you will need to make sure that you replace the tires.
Driving with tires that are below the minimum threat threshold is not only illegal but dangerous. This means that the tire could build up enough pressure to eventually burst when you are driving the car. I would suggest checking your tire thread every couple of months to ensure that you can effectively keep your wheels safe when driving.
Is It Safe To Drive With Smoke Coming From The Front Wheel?
Smoke coming from the front wheel is something that is concerning for many people. However, if you are dealing with white smoke after spinning your vehicle, this will be natural and you can continue driving the vehicle.
Unfortunately, many of the other reasons that often lead to tire smoking can be daunting to continue driving the vehicle. If you have done some research or you have taken apart the components, you should know the exact reason.
Having melted or malfunctioning components can be frustrating, but they need to be fixed and replaced. The best bet would be for you to take the car to your mechanic or tire shop. Yes, this might be expensive depending on the reason for the issue, but it allows you to get the car back to a safe standard.
The main goal on the road is to always make sure that your vehicle is in the best possible condition. I don’t recommend driving with smoke coming from the wheels too long, especially when the smoke persists.