2006 Caravan Whirring Noise After Cold Start

Vehicle is a 2006 Dodge Caravan with just shy of 200k miles

• issue occurs after a cold start (only)

• whirring/whining noise - not terribly high like a belt squeal

• there’s an intermittent hint of grind as well. Almost like pressures of movement (bumps, corners, etc) exacerbates the issue, makes the grind audible. First time I heard it, almost thought it was a tire rubbing lightly against fender or something. Until I stopped at a red light and the sound kept going.

• pitch audible at idle (so ruling out any wheel/axle, etc.), and is RPM dependent (higher pitch at higher RPMs)

• sound lasts only about 10 minutes or so. As it heats up, fluids get where they’re going, etc., it stops. It won’t occur again until the engine is cool and re-started

Just had it checked at a local shop and they didn’t come up with anything.

Any ideas? Suggestions very much appreciated!

Check your power steering fluid level and condition.


Thanks for the suggestion!

was the car left there long enough for everything to cool down? if not you might have to leave it overnight so they can check it in the morning.


I did indicate in my request that it was necessary that it be a cold start, and the mech did mention that it was during the phone call, so I’m presuming so (he called about 7 hours after I dropped it)

Suggest to remove the accessory drive belt(s), then hand spin the pulleys, checking for weird noises and unusual play. If nothing discovered there, next step is to replace the drive belt(s). If the problem continues, post back.

One other idea, if you can hear the noise with the hood up, use a length of old garden hose as a stethoscope to narrow down where the sound is coming from.

I’m guessing the problem is the AC compressor.

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Thanks much for the suggestions

I found this,

The 3rd and 4rth generation dodge caravans Are notorious for developing loud and hard power steering. Most people think that it is either the pump or the rack but it is probably just the screen built into the power steering reservoir. Dodge uses inferior hoses that start to degrade after about 50,000 miles and that material plugs the screen causing the pump to starve for fluid.

Your best bet is to change the reservoir and hoses

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Thanks for the info!

My power steering made a similar noise only when cold. I did what @weekend-warrior did and it went away unless it gets below 0 F. It is the same noise that is made when the fluid is low. Also you should make sure the fluid is at least to the full max line and not below. I make sure mine is as full as I can get it without it flowing over when turning the wheel. I have a 2005. I have seen others do this when fluid is too low, even when the level appeared to be good. Follow @George_San_Jose1 advise and remove the belt. If the noise persists then it is not power steering or anything else that is driven by the belt.

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Thanks much for the response

My 2007 T&C makes that kind of sound for a while when first started in the cold. From time to time I think of changing the fluid and maybe a hose, but I have not. Please let us know how you eliminated that sound, if you do.

Not disagreeing with any other suggestions, but i have a 2013 caravan that has a whinning noise on cold starts also and i know 100% its not from belt ir pulleys. It does sound kinda like pwr steering whining but kinda diff. From my experience, the per steering niose is from air in the fluid moving though the pump. Either leaky hose or whatever. Air making fluid foamy causes that noise. With that being said, ive noticed with the temp affecting the noise im leaning towards a transmission pump whining noise. As fluid gettings dirty and or low, the trans pump tends to make the same whining noise a per steering pump does. I have not got to the concrete bottom of the issue yet but thats the direction im headed. Im looking at fluid and filter change and possible pump pressure issue. Ive heard and agree that these trans have been quite a problem with many different issues so not surprised. If i cone up eith further info ill make sure to post and if anyone else has any luck finding or solving the issue plz post to help all of us caravan ppl out.

I had similar noises on my 1999 Voyager and took it to the dealer. They replaced the power steering reservoir. That made little difference. Later I had an auto electric shop replace the alternator pulley. It had a clutch. That took care of the noise, as I recall.