QUESTION: I am purchasing a 2010 Toyota Highlander Sport that has a tire size of P245/55R19. The trouble is, just last winter I bought a set of high-quality winter tires for my current vehicle. They are in great condition, size P215/60R17. I hate the idea of "re-tiring" them (ha ha).
If I purchased winter rims for the Highlander to fit the "old" winters (something I've always meant to do for my winter tires), could I use the "old" winter tires on the new Highlander?
ANSWER: Sorry, but this is not a good idea because the difference in diameter of the two tires is beyond an acceptable range.
It is generally felt that you can change sizes if the difference is kept within 3 per cent, but what you are proposing falls well outside that range - in excess of 8 per cent.
The problem is that many functions of a modern vehicle are dependent on tire speed data, including not only the speedometer but ABS, stability control and others.
The stock Toyota tire/wheel combination has a circumference of 2362.8 mm - and turn 423 times each km. The older tires have a circumference of 2167.12 mm and turn 461 times every km. At an indicated 100 km/h, you would actually be travelling less than 92 km/h.
Secrets of the car showroom exposed
QUESTION: Just this morning I watched in surprise (and near shock) as my wife started her Toyota Prius. She was outside the car, reached in through the open driver's door and pushed the Power button, thus engaging the motor!
The parking brake was not engaged and obviously the brake pedal was not depressed.
In my car (manual tranny), I cannot start the car without depressing the clutch pedal. In other words, I have to actively do something other than simply turning the key and engaging the ignition.
The Prius is equipped with a "Keyless" remote, which enables this method of starting, but I am very surprised that Toyota, other car companies and automotive safety bodies permit this type of starting without basic safety factors in place. I would think that the very least would be that the parking brake be fully engaged.
Is it possible that the gear lever could be moved into gear, putting the car into motion with no driver inside the car? In the case this morning, there was a passenger in the passenger-side front seat at the time. It would not be inconceivable for him, or my wife to accidentally hit the gear lever, causing the car to move either forward or backward with potential tragic results.
Does the brake pedal have to be pushed to put the car into gear? Is there anything that needs to be added to the remote starter system that "by default" will prevent this type of starting and potential for risk?
ANSWER: There are any number of companies - manufacturers and aftermarket firms - that offer remote starting.
It has become common, mainly due to the desire to cool your car off after parking in the strong sun in southern climates. We northerners "benefit" by the same practice by being able to warm up the vehicle before setting of on a cold morning.
The key factor is that the vehicle must be equipped with an automatic transmission and the transmission must be in Park. There is no provision for the parking brake or need of it since the transmission cannot be moved from park without the foot brake being applied - all but impossible to do unintentionally.
I have no issue with the practice, other than it burns fuel unnecessarily and contributes to global warming.
A couple of readers of the above column wrote in that they have remote starters on their manual transmission vehicles. I don't know of a vehicle manufacturer who will sell a remote start system combined with a manual transmission; the risk of it starting in gear and the resulting legal liability are too great. A quick survey of aftermarket remote starter manufacturers show almost all specifically recommend against using a remote starter with a manual transmission. There are a few that do offer such an arrangement, but they require a series of steps before shutting the car off to ensure it is not in gear and the parking brake is set.