I have a 2003 Grand Caravan, in the past month the steering wheel often freezes up when I start it in the AM. After warming the car about 5 minutes it operates normally. The weather does not have to be severely cold in order for this to happen.
Have the power steering rack inspected, if the power steering fluid in the reservoir is up to the full mark, you MAY want to have it tested for moisture content.
Is the power steering drive belt slipping at the pump?
I don’t think this a freeze problem. More likely it is a matter of worn seals allowing PS fluid to leak past them. After the seals warm up there is no problem.
This would be an expensive repair, probably needing a steering rack replacement. Hope that it is a slipping belt.
The only time I have ever seen this symptom the car needed a new steering rack. That was about 12 years ago and the price was $1,200.
I agree that this is likely to be a worn steering rack. Unfortunately, it is an expensive repair job, but it is not a repair that you can defer because the problem can quickly become a situation of not being able to steer the vehicle–even when it is warmed up. At highway speeds, that could be disasterous.
I have the same problem. Mine is a 2001 Town and Country. I bought it used with 45,000 miles on it. Since the first winter it has done the same thing at 45 degrees or below. It lasts anywhere from 2 seconds to about 20 seconds depending on the temp. Above 45 degrees it doesn’t do it at all. Can the seats in the steering rack wear out that fast???