Whining sound when car is cold

Ok, so I started the car this morning and there was a whining sound that sounds like winding of gears, It changed in pitch along with RPMs and when the car was in neutral (it’s a stick) and the clutch not engaged, it was still there with pitch appropriate for idle RMPs. Later, when the car warmed up, the whine disappeared. Any ideas?

Addendum- The car has about 115k miles, is on its 1st clutch and has had no other maintenance issues or repairs.

Assume this is the first time you’ve noticed it on a cold morning ?

Power steering system.

Old fluid, or low fluid.
If there is a screen in the fluid reservoir, it might be partially blocked with carbon buildup, also.


And how cold is cold?

The next time the car is cold raise the hood and try to get a clue as to where it is coming from. The first thing I’d inspect would be the area of the serpentine belt.

Does it go away when you press the clutch? Could it be a throw-out bearing?

Could be the alternator. They sometimes whine on a cold morn. after starting until the battery is fully charged again.

This morning is the first time. It was about 45F last night.

It is there whether the car is in gear or out, and whether the clutch is depressed or not.

45 is cold? I’m jealous.

I had been thinking it might be an electrical whine that sometimes happens when it’s cold (as in, below freezing) but I highly doubt that’s the case here.

Another update. Went to listen when I turned the car on after lunch. I couldn’t hear the sound, but I did notice residue of dried liquid around the top front of the motor. It came from a seam (bad seal?) at the top of the radiator. I checked the reservoir, which was low by 1 quart. The car, at no point, ever showed signs of overheating. Not sure if that’s a red herring, but…
I’ll post more tomorrow or later this evening after I start the car once it’s cold again.

What Model-Year Is This Chariot ?


Before the mention of the rad issue, I was going to say a bearing on some device that is connected to the FEAD belt or the water pump. These often make squealing noises when cold and getting near the point that they need to be replaced. Maybe the water pump bearing is going and flinging coolant on the radiator.