1998 Volkswagen Passat

Dear Doctor: On cool mornings, the steering wheel on my 1998 Volkswagen Passat is very hard to turn. When I make left turns the wheel is sluggish, then I’ll hear a ping from the engine compartment, and the wheel starts to turn easily. This does not happen with right turns. I put the front-end on blocks and turned the wheel back and forth between the stops for about 30 seconds. There was no resistance or pinging sounds in either case. Can you offer suggestions? Wes

Dear Wes: If the steering wheel binds turning to the left only and there is a noise emitting and then the steering is normal, then something is binding up. It could be many things, including a faulty power steering rack, front-end chassis part, even a stiff outer C/V axle joint. It is hard to check the car without weight on the front-end parts. A drive-on style lift will be needed or the technician will disconnect chassis parts and see if there is any binding.

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