the wheels turn

the wheels are turning

Things have begun developing, unfolding, or progressing. If you're going to act, you have to do it now, but once the wheels are turning, there is no going back. A: "What's the status of our new deployment strategy?" B: "The wheels are turning, we're just waiting for some feedback on how well it's being received."
See also: turning, wheel

the wheels turn

Progress is being or continues to be made. Typically used in conjunction with verbs like "continue" or "keep." We need to keep the wheels turning with this project or we're not going to make the January deadline. Despite the turmoil in the studio, the wheels continued to turn, and the film eventually saw the light of day 15 years after it first started development.
See also: turn, wheel

the wheels turn

If you say that the wheels turn in a process or situation, you mean that progress is made. The wheels continue to turn on plans to convert the building into a bookstore. Note: You can also say that someone or something keeps the wheels turning to mean that they cause progress to be made. It is the small entrepreneurs of this country that keep the wheels of commerce turning.
See also: turn, wheel
References in periodicals archive ?
Cellceutix CEO Leo Ehrlich said, 'When dealing with the most prestigious institutions globally, the wheels turn a bit slow due to the thorough due diligence of those organizations.
According to The Highway Code you're supposed to wait until you see the wheels turn,' she informed me smugly.
I have to say a great thank-you to the staff who are involved as they insure that the wheels turn smoothly.
The motors on the wheels turn into generators during braking, capturing kinetic energy and storing it in a small battery pack or flywheel.
MR is a restorative, clearing away the cobwebs, cutting through the rust and making the wheels turn again.