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  1. #1

    Cold weather, high altitude Prius

    What experiences have people had with the Prius in places like Denver or Colorado Springs? Does the cold and/or altitude affect performance?

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  3. #2

    Cold weather, high altitude Prius

    I've driven my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid over Sonora Pass in the Sierras at 9624 feet (and Donner and Echo and Carson...). But I didn't notice any serious performance difference other than the battery punks out before you get to the top. [grin] But seriously, I was curious and drove around a bit at the top - there wasn't any significant drop in performance.

  4. #3

    Cold weather, high altitude Prius

    I have a 2006 Prius. Live in Ventura, CA at near sea level. Just spent week at Mammoth Lakes, elevation 9,000 ft. Temp 45 - 85. With wife, luggage and inflatable kayak - 46.5 mpg up and 50.1 mpg return, about 330 miles each way.

    No performance problems in climbing - got down to one bar on battery indicator. Averaged around 70 mph.

    While at mammoth, the radiator transfer pump made a screeching sound on two occasions immediately upon shutting down the power.

    During the entire stay at higher elevations, there was a sound from the right wide of the engine compartment when actuating the brakes with power off or on. There were no warning lights and no degredation of brake performanc.

    No such sounds by time of first stop on return trip at about 4,000 ft altitude.

    Incidentally, when I called the dealer, they gave me an 800 number to Toyota (Torrance, CA) and within 5 minutes the symptoms were recorded and a case number assigned with with commit for feedback in no less than three days.

  5. #4

    I'd be interested in hearing

    I'd be interested in hearing what you dealer said about that noise. I live at 9,000' in Colorado and would hate to buy a Prius only to have strange sounds come from it.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Jere Joiner

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    All engines, including Prius

    All engines, including Prius get poor mileage when cold starting. Until the engine warms up, it will consume up to twice as much fuel per mile.

    How long it takes the engine to warm up depends on the temperature of the engine before starting, and how hard the engine is driving.

    Driving short distances (under 5 miles) in cold weather, there is a very definite decrease in MPG. But this is true of ALL vehicles including the 4pmg Mega Hummers.

    In cold weather, AFTER the engine has warmed up, it should get almost the same mileage as in warm weather.

    Altitude may not effect mileage very much, but it will affect the horsepower the engine puts out. At 10,000 ft above sea leve, I think air pressure is around 12 psi? As opposed to 14.7psi at sea level? So at 10,000 ft, a 60 horsepower engine will only be able to put out about 48 horsepower. Of course, superchargers and turbochargers will need a whole set of new calculations depending on boost level.

  7. #6

    Here in in the Northeast 6

    Here in in the Northeast 6 months out of the year you will not be getting the posted mpg. In the colder months expect less than 30mpg.

  8. #7

    Am having same problem with

    Am having same problem with '08 prius. Only seems to occur above 5000' or so and noise doesn't seem to be coming from brakes. Brought it into Toyota Palo Alto and they told me that nothing was wrong (as I assumed they would).

    Did Toyota ever figure it out?


  9. #8

    This weekend we met friends

    This weekend we met friends in Flagstaff for a ski weekend, she in her Prius, we were in our Hybrid Lexus and at high altitude we both experienced the same noise upon shifting into gear, it stopped once we got back home???/

  10. #9

    We've had the same thing

    We've had the same thing with the brakes squeaking at high altitude for our 2008 Highlander.

  11. #10

    my '09 prius made a similar

    my '09 prius made a similar screaching noise when the car was shut off on 4 separate occasions up in the grand canyon last week. It was 39 degrees and 7000 foot elevation. Also, the alarm kept going on and off randomly when initially starting the car. I havn't called the dealer yet, but the car seems fine now that I am home. The maintainance required light came on but I believe I may be due for an oil change.

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