2002 Ford Escape 3.0 XLT, 87,000 miles.
Just started getting hot here so I've started using the AC, and consequently noticed the steering gets creaky like a rusty door. Off and on though, comes and goes. Sometimes barely noticeable other times quite loud, but steering always works fine.
Since I noticed the correlation with AC on I've suffered many sweaty drives, and cannot reproduce it with AC off. Also it drips quite a bit out of the front right quadrant of the engine bay, 99% it's water and had suspected condensation.
Am I crazy to suspect correlation helps causation? Or perhaps a serpentine belt/power steering pump issue?