What Fuel Can I Use in My Toyota Yaris?

What Fuel Can I Use in My Toyota Yaris?

I have a Toyota yaris 2008 and use Vortex 98 in it. Can I use 95 even though when I refuel I always have half tank full then top up? Can I put 95 in the tank that already has 98 in it? Is the Yaris a good car?

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Which Tyres for my Big Outback Trip?

QUESTION

Hi John,

I'm planning my first mini outback drive over Easter this year. Basically, Sydney to Lightning Ridge, Quilpie, Birdsville, Innaminka, Tibooburra & Bourke. Obviously a lot of tarmac, with some gravel and hopefully not wet tracks. What Tyres should I put on a 2007 Honda CRV. I plan on carrying 2x spares.

We will be travelling in a four-vehicle group, and my friend has vast experience in outback travel. He'll be carrying the spare fuel and water etc.

I've been listening to you for years on 2UE and your a great relief to my insomnia. You and Clive should do a duet. 

Regards,

John

ANSWER

Hi John,

Last bit first: Clive and I should do a show together. He's great fun. We're on together every Friday night for about half an hour at 10:30, and it's like getting the band back together. He's the hardest presenter I've ever had to keep up with, and he ambushes you all the time.

Now, this trip: As you say, mostly highway but some unsealed roads. I'd say, get a highway biased tyre with some additional gravel capability. (Otherwise you'll get back and drive for the rest of the life of the tyres on a noisy tyre unsuited to the suburban use you'll mainly put it to.)

I'm rather a big fan of the South Koreans here: great quality and excellent value, when it comes to tyres. Kumho is one of the world's top 10 tyre makers. The company's been in operation for 53 years and they make 68 million tyres annually, so it's hardly a low-tech operation.

Two alternatives for your CR-V from the Kumho range:

Kumho KL51 - Highway biased but good for sand and track work (not so hot for mud).

Product_KL51.png
Tyre_Quality_1_KL51.jpg
Wear_Wet_Dry_Noise_KL51.png

Kumho KL61 - Biased more towards unsealed roads, but still OK on the highway.

Product_KL61.png
Tyre_Quality_1_KL61.jpg
Wear_Wet_Dry_Noise_KL61.png

If it were me, I think I'd be going for the KL61 tyres - a bit more suited to running over some hard, bony gravel. And if it rains (or has rained) it's a fair bet the KL61s would be significantly better on unsealed roads. (But they're probably not as civilised around town and on smooth bitumen as the KL51s would be when you return to suburbia. Everything in life's a trade-off.)

More info on the KL51

More info on the KL61

Both the KL51 and KL61 have an 80,000km factory-backed guarantee, which should give you significant peace of mind. So keep your receipt!

Kumho has a Platinum dealer network and also a bigger list of retailers if there's not a Platinum dealer close to you. If you're buying six (or even four) make sure you shop at least three retailers against each other. And keep your old tyres if they still have useful life in them - you might be able to re-use them when you get back.

(I don't have any affiliation with Kumho other than an understanding of the sheer size of the operation and considerable respect for how hard they're cutting through in the Australian market - it's a bit of a shake-up for the established players.)

Please also bear in mind that the biggest killer of tyres in the bush is under-inflation. Check tyre pressures daily, otherwise a slow leak can cause a blowout when the excess heat generated in the sidewall causes it to fail.

I'd be interested in knowing your experience with them upon your return.

Best of luck. Enjoy your trip. It sounds great.

JC

Using a Battery Code Saver?

QUESTION

Hi John,

Regarding your comments with Tim Webster on Radio 2UE in Sydney last Sunday: You suggested connecting a 12-volt battery via the cigarette lighter to avoid shutdown of the car's electrical/security system, thus avoiding potentially time-consuming and expensive re-coding of various components.

Does that work for any car, for example my Subaru Forester? My mechanic recently did some work on my engine which required temporary removal of the battery. After that I had to go to Subaru to have the computer scanned and recalibrated (and the radio reset). That cost me another $100. It's a real drag.

My mechanic is also anxious to know your answer as it's constantly a problem for him too. Do you have to rig up the wiring connections for the cigarette lighter yourself or can you buy something?

Appreciate your answer. And I'm sure lots more would too!

Thanks,

Dennis

ANSWER

Firstly, Dennis, thanks for listening. I really appreciate it. It's why I'm there.

Secondly, this works on any car. Think of it like this. The body of the car is connected to the negative pole of the battery - so all the exposed metal bits are an extension of the negative pole. All the wires are positive, more or less. So the car is a huge network of transmission lines with power coming out of the battery, going to the fuse box, then flowing to various devices (like the overhead light, for example, when the switch is on) and then back to the battery via the body and the negative terminal. 

The cigarette lighter typically consumes power when it is pushed in. The centre terminal is the positive one, and the barrel is the negative. Basically, a memory code saver incorporates a battery that simply plugs into the cigarette lighter, with the positive terminal connected to the centre terminal and the negative terminal connected to the outside (barrel) terminal.

Actually it's slightly more complex than this: the battery on the memory saver is a lot smaller than the car's battery. The last thing you want is the car's big battery blowing the small battery up by driving the current flow backwards through the small battery. This is why the memory saver incorporates a diode on the positive side. A diode is essentially a one-way valve for electricity, which does not permit the flow to reverse.

OFF-THE-SHELF-SOLUTIONS

 This is pretty much all you need to do the job - plus another 12-volt battery to provide the electricity

This is pretty much all you need to do the job - plus another 12-volt battery to provide the electricity

You can buy one of these off the rack from eBay for about $50.

So, you've got your tiny battery in your memory saver hooked up to your cigarette lighter. You've got the cigarette lighter activated (some cars need the ignition in 'ACC' setting to energize the lighter). The diode stops the car battery from blowing the small battery up. You disconnect the car battery, which is the small battery's cue to supply power to the car's electrical 'grid'. Most of the systems are powered down, because the car is off, so it's not all that big a current drain. The diode lets the current flow out of the small battery (the right way) to power up the grid.

When the new battery is in place, the diode senses it trying to pump current up the bum of the small battery, which the diode does not allow (because that would be a violation). All you do then is remove the battery saver, and the car's radio and computer has no idea it has even been disconnected.

DIY?

It's pretty easy to make your own memory saver. It's also pretty easy to blow yourself up if you get it wrong. And the time you'd need to acquire and assemble the parts is ridiculous, unless you really, really want to. You need a temporary 12-volt battery like this one, and a couple of crimp-on terminals to suit. You also need some black wire and some red wire, and a diode like this one. And some alligator clips like these. So, you solder the diode into red wire in the right direction to allow current to flow only out of the battery's positive terminal. You put the battery crimp-on connector on the right end of the red wire, and the alligator clip on the other end. And you marry up the same thing on the black wire (with no need to worry about the diode, and which end gets which connector.

You can test it's working by connecting the wires to the battery and ensuring there's 12 volts between the alligator clips, using a multimeter. If you don't know how to do this, you shouldn't be messing with electricity. Except, possibly, light switches and power points.

So, you plug the black wire into the negative terminal of the temporary battery, and the red wire into the positive. Clamp the red alligator clip to the positive battery lead under the bonnet, and clamp the black one to the negative lead. Change the battery, taking care not to earth the positive lead anywhere on the body because it is still active. (you can put it in something like a stubby holder to do this.) Take care not to dislodge the alligator clips because this will kill the temporary supply to the car's 'grid' and you'll need to re-code everything.

Re-connect the new battery, and the electronics will have no idea you've fooled them into thinking the main battery was ever missing.

DIY IS TOO HARD

Really. It is. Apart from the solution above, you could just buy this:

 $12.95 from Jaycar Electronics.   Full specifications here  .

$12.95 from Jaycar Electronics. Full specifications here.

You need to find your car's onboard diagnostics port (OBDII port). It's under the dash near the steering wheel, usually.

Hook it up to one of these:

 $39.95, also from Jaycar Electronics.   Full specifications here

$39.95, also from Jaycar Electronics. Full specifications here

So, for $53 you've got yourself a fully-functioning plug-in solution, provided you can find that OBDII port under the dash.

Lastly, if you want the cheapest solution, this will work:

 It's less than $20 and posts from Adelaide, or from auto parts stores. It'll have a diode (mentioned above) built in, up the top of the battery compartment. Click the image for the details

It's less than $20 and posts from Adelaide, or from auto parts stores. It'll have a diode (mentioned above) built in, up the top of the battery compartment. Click the image for the details

Apparently 9V DC is enough to power up the car's computer systems temporarily - or at least keep them thinking they're still connected. I found this video, which has awful production values, and is three times longer than necessary, but gets the point across adequately, and as far as I can see he doesn't get anything wrong (except call himself 'heymargaretlook'):

If you go with the cheap option, just make sure you have everything in the car turned off before you start the job. That's very important because the 9V battery will deplete itself rapidly if you give it anything serious to run - even the interior light. And I'd be using a fresh one from the start, as well as minimising the time the proper cranking battery was disconnected.

COMMERCIAL ALTERNATIVES

These (below) are less than $100 online - and perhaps every mechanic should have one. They incorporate things home-made devices don't, like internal charging and overload protection:

A WARNING TO MECHANICS

This alternate power source approach is fine for changing the battery. It's not fine for other jobs. Mechanical work often requires the battery to be disconnected for important health and safety reasons, perhaps so you don't start an electrical fire or burn out some component or other by bridging 12 volts through it using a spanner, or something. If you do this with the battery disconnected and the temporary battery fitted, the risk you are trying to mitigate by disconnecting the battery still pertains.

You could also easily hurt or kill yourself in some situations by leaving the car's electrical system effectively powered on.

For example, if you are fitting an accessory under the dash, looking for a suitably positive wire, if you inadvertently bridge 12-volts to the airbag deployment wire, the airbag will deploy. This could kill you. Sometimes 'disconnect the battery' means 'disconnect the battery'...

You have been warned.

See my earlier post: Disconnecting your car's battery and using a memory saver.