I recently had a 4-wheel alignment performed on my 2003 VW Passat. A couple days after the procedure I noticed my steering wheel was stiff and a whirring noise when I turned the wheel. Come to find out my power steering fluid is now leaking. Is this just a coincidence, or could the garage have broken something. It was not leaking or making any noises prior to the alignment.
In theory, performing an alignment should not have caused a power steering leak. What needs to be determined is where the leak is at.
The car is roughly 13 years old and if rust is involved it’s possible that wrestling tie rod lock nuts loose so as to adjust the toe could have cracked an aged steering rack boot. If a rack seal was leaking that could now be obvious as the fluid has an outlet due to a crack in the rubber boot.
What this would mean is that the steering rack had a problem before; it was just not noticeable.
The above is just a theory without knowing if the leak is the rack, the hoses, the pump, etc.
IMHO there is absolutely no way an alignment could be blamed for a power steering system leak on a 13 year old car. Even in the event the scenario in OK4450’s hypothesis is correct, his conclusion that it’s actually just an age-related leak made prominent by the alignment is also a statement I agree with.
The next question is, where’s the leak? The rack, the pump, or the connecting lines?