2009 Toyota Matrix Car in elevation

  • 1 POST
  • 125,000 MILES

Hi I have a 2009 Toyota Matrix in pretty decent condition with about 125,000 miles on it. Living in Texas, the car hasn't been anywhere over 1,000 feet in elevation, but this winter, my family and I were thinking of taking it to Colorado, where it would be going anywhere from 7,000 ft. To 10,000 ft. My question is, do you think the car would be able to make it safe and sound? Or do we run the risk of engine failure?

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Thursday, November 12th, 2015 AT 7:27 PM

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  • 29,775 POSTS

How are you thinking that will cause engine failure? No manufacturer ever built a car with a warning to never drive in the mountains. Various elevations are considered normal and expected conditions, and cars are designed with those conditions in mind. What you might have heard years ago that has you worried is on some models the Check Engine light would turn on when you got in the mountains, then again when you came back down. The problem was caused by the MAP sensors, which also measure barometric pressure, were going out of range and setting diagnostic fault codes. This typically happened on cars where the MAP sensor took a barometric pressure reading after the ignition switch was turned on, but before the engine was cranking. After that it measured engine vacuum. The fix for those was to turn the ignition switch off, then restart the engine. That would cause a new barometric pressure reading to be taken, and fuel metering calculations would be based around that. Coming down out of the mountains would also send the MAP reading out of range, and again, you just stop and restart the engine. I haven't heard of that being a problem on any car brand for at least the last 20 years.

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Thursday, November 12th, 2015 AT 7:48 PM

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