How High Altitude Can Affect Your Motor and Your Driving

Although it can be very therapeutic and enjoyable to travel driving throughout the mountains at high altitude . . . not to mention the incredible views . . . there are a couple of things you need to not forget. The altitude has an enormous effect on how an engine produces its power; it’s all to the amount of oxygen which is found in the air (or even more accurately, lacking it). Just as people and animals can suffer from altitude sickness, so can anything with an engine. This means cars, snow-blowers, motorcycles, model planes . . . basically everything which relies upon a motor for its power.

Driving through the mountains

If you decide to drive to incredibly high altitudes it may stop all motors from working completely, but in many instances all it takes is a quick tune-up and a little bit of preparation to have your motor running as sweetly as it does at lower altitudes.

Some cars can cope with different altitudes much better than others, and it may be that you just hardly notice any difference in the performance of the engine at all. Small altitude changes will probably not affect performance at all . . . well, not so you notice, however if you drive from say 6,000 feet to more than 12,000 feet in a short space of time then you will probably notice a large difference in performance.

If you will be driving through high altitudes on holiday it could assistance to use something such as a superior quality gasoline or some sort of octane booster. When you return to more normal altitudes you may also should run a amount of fuel injection cleaner from the system. This will assist to clean out any residue which could have been causing your engine to operate less efficiently.

Driving in high altitudes may create other problems too. When driving it is usually a serious gradual process as you get higher and higher which provides the body plenty of time to adjust for the reduced level of oxygen from the air, but this could make the driver or passengers suffer from some warning signs of altitude sickness.


Higher altitudes generally also mean increased wind and cooler temperatures. Make sure that your power steering is nice and tight and therefore there is no looseness in the front end of the suspension. All of this can make a big difference to handling in extreme winds.

Using lighter motor oil can also help when driving in severe cold weather. This will not thicken up quite a lot when the temperatures plummet. It may even be needed to use engine heaters throughout the most severe conditions.

Ensure that all of the fluids are topped up inside your car for that maximum efficiency and drivability. If not impossible to shift gears in extreme cold temperatures, this includes power steering fluid and clutch fluid – it could become difficult. You must also remember to have good quality anti-freeze in the radiator and the windshield washing fluid.


If your car is well maintained then it must not cause way too many problems but cars with “niggles” will probably be magnified if you try to drive at high altitudes than if you are at lower, warmer locations.

At Nissan Corona they’ve got a fantastic range of motors which will behave perfectly with a high altitude road trip. If you are heading up higher and higher in your vacation don’t be delay but do bear in mind the following tips. If your car isn’t up to it then take a look at, they’ve got plenty to pick from.