I have a 2002 Dodge Caravan with a v-6 and 60,000 miles. When I start it the first time of the day, the starter has a high pitched whine while it is engaged. On subsequent starts there is no whining until it sits in the winter cold overnight. This problem just started this winter when the temperature has been consistently below freezing. Does the starter need to be replaced or is this normal?
No, it's not normal; otherwise they'd all do it. Does it still crank the engine normally when it makes that sound? If not, well, even if it does, there could be rust buildup on the shaft the drive gear slides on. That can prevent it from making full engagement with the ring gear on the flex plate. Grease on the shaft can become impacted with rust and dirt which makes it gooey, and the drive gear will slide harder when that grease gets cold.