Whining sound on startup?

I recently bought a used 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan and it started making this funny, whining (hard to describe it) sound sometimes when I start it up. However, it’s not consistent. When it does happen, it always goes away after a few minutes. What might be the cause of this sound? I haven’t taken this car to a mechanic at all. Should I take it to a dealer (about 20 miles away) or just a local place?

Does it only do it after the car starts or is it there when you turn the key on, but not all the way to start?

It occurs after the car starts. Also, the sound goes up and down in pitch. For ex., if I step on the accelerator, the sound goes up in pitch (higher whining sound) and if I’m braking the sound goes down (lower whining sound). However, when I’m not accelerating, the pitch of the sound still goes up and down but just not as much. I hope that makes sense.

Is the sound possibly coming from the stereo/radio or is it heard by people outside the car too?

If it is heard from outside the car, does the sound seem to match the speed of the engine?

Preliminary suggestion is either the starter is not fully disengageing, gear is riding on the flywheel/flexplate. Second you may be having a problem with torque convertor. finally and cheapest - ignition component break down is possibly leaking RFI (radio interferance) through antenna to speakers.

In order of ease of diagnosis: 1).Turn the entertainment center off, see if the sound goes away. 2a).Pull the starter, see if the starter gear is worn, 2b).use flash light to see if flexplate (ring gear) is chipped worn - has metal filings.

Have transmission serviced. Check fluid levels, drained see if there is metal in the fluid. Some fine, silvery, dark particles are normal in transmission fluid, which is normal wear for bands - however, larger particles may indicate an impending transmission repair/replacment in the future.

Could be related to the alternator, which works harder for a minute after starting.

It can be heard outside the car. It doesn’t exactly match the speed of the engine.

A good possibility here is fluid cavitation (aeration) in the power steering system. Check the level of your power steering fluid, it may be low. This will cause a short-lived whining noise on startup. If it’s not low, you may try having the power steering fluid flushed. New fluid often makes power steering noise go away.

Could be one of the bearings on something connected to the FEAD belt is going bad, idler, tensioner, alternator, AC,… Take off the belt and turn everything that can be turned by hand so see if they feel smooth.

This turned out to be the problem. Good call! The sound was so intermittent that it was hard for the mechanic to figure it out but once he heard the sound, he quickly said it was probably the power steering system.

Plugged filter in ps fluid resevoir most likely. Probably made louder noise after sitting overnight on a cold night too, right?