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Car slowing down on hills

When a friend’s car encounters a hill, it slows down. It is a 2002 Nissan.

Gravity is no respecter of cars.

Thank you for the cosmic answer. I was looking more for a specific mechanical answer. Could it be the transmission, the engine, square tires, etc.

Thank you,


If you want a more specific answer, you must provide more information…Is there any misfire involved, staggering, surging?? Check Engine light on? Will the transmission downshift and the car respond to the application of more throttle, the usual driver response when climbing a hill?

My answer means that ALL cars have a tendency to slow down while going up hill, every single one, every time.

Please know that I am not a mechanic and I am receiving this information via my 18 year old daughter who got the information from her 18 year old friend. I almost said, “Forget it”. Regardless of any information mishap, the engine light is not on. I suggested to down shift to see if it made a difference. If so, would that mean transmission problems? I will ask about the application of more throttle.

Sorry about the generality of my first query. And I would appreciate your advice and suggestions.

Thank you,


Have the boyfriend post his own thread…Third hand information is always useless…

I received an response from Caddyman asking more specific questions, i.e. check engine light on, down shifting. more throttle. I have advised the second and will suggest the third. This is a question from one 18 year old girl to another then to me, an old goat who know very little about mechanics.

I let them know of your suggestion with the hope that the boyfriend knows something.

Thank you.

It’s a Sentra. Unless it’s an SE-R, it’s not exactly known as a performance car. Lots of cars can’t maintain speed on a hill, especially if the driver doesn’t downshift. It may be no big deal.

It takes energy to go uphill. If you ride a bicycle, you will pedal harder to maintain the speed going uphill. If you maintain the speed, the pedals will go at the same rate as traveling on flat land, but you will have more resistance in trying to pedal and you will have to exert more energy. If the bicycle has multiple speeds, you can select a lower gear ratio where the pedals offer less resistance, but you have to pedal faster to maintain the speed.

The same is true with a car. The engine has to work harder to go uphill. You have to push the accelerator down farther to maintain the same speed. If the hill is steep enough, you either shift to a lower gear with a manual transmission or the automatic transmission will select a lower gear.
However, if the engine has a problem, then it may not be able to maintain the speed on the hill when it should even when you presss the accelerator further or shift to a lower gear. In this case, you need to have the engine serviced. As a geezer, I have the same situation pedaling my bicycle. If after exerting more energy on the pedals, or shifting to a lower ratio I still can’t maintain speed, I have to pull over and take a swig of Geritol to regain my lost pep.

I like your answer comparing to riding a bicycle. My '92 Honda does hills okay. If it can’t do it in high gear then it will shut down to a gear that can handle hills.

So why the Nissan isn’t able to climb hills is beyond me. I’ll tell her to pour some Geritol in the engine.

Me, in addition to Geritol I need a fibulator and a couple of scantily clad young ladies to bike in front of me to give me motivation.

Thank you.