The torn boot could have contributed significantly. If the boot became partially filled with sand after the tear, sand sticking to the steering rod could have abraded the seal and shaft causing failure. Then again it could have just been a bad seal which wasn't caught in inspection. No way to know for certain without seeing the parts removed.
The good thing is they fixed it with no complaint or problems. Hope it was a one time thing.
You are right. I did not even think about the sand getting in there. I doubt it though, as the tear was very small. Maybe 5mm. But yeah, I hope it was the first and last time. Will see the next time it goes in the sand.
'11 WK2 Overland 5.7(Export) Dark Charcoal, Dark/Light Frost Beige
730/1 NAV (REP)
(Built 21 Aug '10). Ordered on 22 Sept '10 and Delivered 25 Nov '10 in Dubai