It's not so much what happens, but rather, how quickly it happens.
This is probably a question that nobody is asking, because the answer is obvious. That’s not really the point of this gratuitously destructive video from Garage 54, however. If the handbrake is engaged on a vehicle and it continues to be driven, one of two things will occur. The wheel will keep turning but the brakes will heat up to the point of a minor nuclear meltdown, or the wheel will drag until the tyre shreds, at which point the rim will wear away until the car itself is sitting on the ground.
The Garage 54 team addresses the second scenario not by determining what happens, but rather, how long the process takes. Yes, it’s mindless destruction but honestly, we suspect many people will find this rather interesting. That’s because it all happens much faster than most might realise, especially the death of the tyre.
Gallery: Driving on stuck wheel
An old Honda serves as the test vehicle, and an unspecified modification is made to the left rear wheel to ensure it absolutely does not turn. With cameras strategically placed inside and outside the car, the trip meter is set and the skidding commences. The tyre ruptures in less than one mile, though it at least holds station around the rim for a while longer before completely shredding away. As for the rim, the soft aluminium doesn’t stand a chance against the concrete. It only manages seven miles before its worn to the point where the hub actually hits the ground. Fun fact though – before that happens, enough of the rim is missing to where it doesn’t hit the ground during left turns.
It should be noted that the tyre utilised is a soft-compound rubber for winter, though even a harder compound wouldn’t last much longer. As for the wheel, a steel rim would most definitely outlast the much softer aluminium, though obviously, it’s still not something you’d want to do for any length of time.
In any case, now you know how far a dragging aluminium wheel will go before the car starts dragging, too. And knowing is half the battle.