Skin and Hair
This site is provided for informational
purposes only. The information here is not intended to diagnose
or treat any condition, and should not replace the care and attention
of qualified medical personnel. Use the information on these pages
at your own risk, and, as with any information pertaining to health,
nutrition, mental health, or fitness, consult your physician before making any
changes that might affect your overall health.
Auto Care and Engine Care
yeah," said my oldest son when he heard I was building
this site, "I forgot that you have to adjust a carburetor
at high altitude." Then after I finished it, he read through it and said, "Remember your 'O2 sensor on your car may also burn out faster."
That isn't quite
all there is to it! But it pretty much sums it up. Altitude
affects the way an engine produces power, because of the available
oxygen. Usually, a quick tune-up will solve any problems,
as long as the altitude is not so high that nothing runs.
At 6000 ft, we
drove our Toyota Minivan from Washington state to Medicine
Bow, by way of Montana (where we lived for two years), and
never noticed any problems in its operation. Small differences
in altitude normally do not affect an engine, but larger ones
can. There is a vast difference between running a car at 6000
ft and operating one at over 12,000 ft.
It pretty much
affects any engine - mowers, snowblowers, model planes, motorcycles,
etc. For many of them, you can easily tune them up if you
notice that the engine is not running as smoothly as it should.
With a car, even
if you do not notice a difference, if you permanently relocated
to a place which is significantly higher than where you were,
it is a good idea to take it in for a tune-up, just to make
sure it is operating efficiently.
If you are on
vacation, it may help to use a higher quality gasoline, or
an octane booster, and when you get back to lower elevations,
run a bottle of fuel injection cleaner through the tank to
make sure that any residue from inefficient operations is
cleaned out. Octane booster can also help in severe cold if
you have a car that runs rough.
also usually mean a colder climate, and more wind. That can
affect auto care and function.
Some cars handle
better in the wind than others do, and at higher altitudes,
the wind can blow hard enough to literally push a car off
the road if the steering in the car is loose. So make sure
that your power steering is tight, and that the front end
suspension is not worn enough to cause front end looseness.
In cold weather,
it helps to put in a lighter weight of motor oil, so that
it does not thicken up as much in the cold. The use of engine
heaters is also common, at least where we live, though none
of our cars currently have one. We have only ever had one
car that would not start in sub-zero weather. This last winter,
when we had a string of days that were extremely cold, my
Nissan did a bit of grumbling over the prospect of starting
up, but after two grumbles, it obediently turned over.
If your power
steering fluid gets low, it will behave badly, and it will
be worse in the cold as well. Low power steering fluid may
result in a groaning or goosy honking noise when you turn
a tight corner.
Shifting can get
difficult if clutch fluid gets low also. This worsens in cold
weather, so if your car gets impossible to shift when it is
cold, check to insure that the clutch fluid is not too low.
Make sure you
have a good antifreeze in the radiator, and anti-freeze windshield
washer fluid. In extreme cold, even winterized wiper fluid
will freeze, but it will help you out immensely on those days
when the ground temperature is warm enough to melt snow into
puddles or slush on the road, but the air temperature is still
cold enough to freeze it when it hits your windshield!
Altitude and cold
tend to affect a vehicle more if it is already on the verge
of having a problem. Low fluids, poor maintenance, bad tires,
or a worn engine or tranny will simply be more troublesome
and noticeable, sooner, than if in a warmer and lower environment.
Editorial Comments throughout this site written by Laura Wheeler (with occasional sarcastic remarks by her son, David). Laura is a 10 year resident of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, where the altitude is greater than the population. Medicine Bow is at 6200+ ft above sea level, and boasts a total of 297 residents from the last census. Laura is an experienced technical, health and family writer.