How to Tune Your Engine for Altitude

by Dahloan Hembree
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mountain roads image by Chris Edwards from

As anyone who has drive between lowlands and mountains can tell you, cars drive differently in different altitudes. It is harder for humans to breath in higher altitudes, so imagine what it is doing to your car too. It is important to check your car, and tune it for higher altitudes before driving through the mountains.

Step 1

According to High Altitude and Auto Care, the first course of action inn getting your car tuned for high altitudes is to do a basic tune up. Change the spark plugs and points to the type specified in the owners manual. If your car has fuel injectors, you will not have any points to change.

Step 2

Adjust the engine's air/fuel mixture. According to Cambridge Lambretta's Guide to Reading a Spark Plug, many people think an alternate spark plug will run more efficiently in higher altitudes. However, the key is adjusting the air/ fuel mixture so more air flows through the engine.

Step 3

Adjust the engine idling. Due to lesser oxygen in the air, the idling needs to be raised. This depends on the instruction manual. Increasing the idling allows for more air to flow in and out of the engine. This will decrease the poor car performance in higher altitudes.

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