Archive for Car Articles

A Lot of People Find Joy in The Snowy Conditions of Winter

winter tiresA lot of people find joy in the snowy conditions of winter. But the vast majority of drivers do not look forward to such conditions at all! The roads become a lot more dangerous. The difficulty of driving on them highlights the need to have a good think about your tyres.

Tyres are arguably the most important safety feature of your vehicle. So you need to think about whether or not to get winter tyres, or how to improve your current tyres.

What Sets Winter Tyres Apart From Regular Tyres?

Winter tyres – or snow tyres – have a lot of design differences. There are two main differences. The first is the increased number and width of sipes – the thin slits on the surface of the tyre. The second, not present in all winter tyres due to potential road damage, is the presence of metal pins that protrude from the tyre and greatly increase grip on snow and ice. Not everyone wants to invest in a brand new set of tyres for a few months of winter, however. Some people may add some extra integrity to their current tyres by adding a snow chain, which makes for a good temporary alternative to winter tyres. But if you travel on particularly snowy roads, they could be essential.

Taking Care of Regular Tyres

So if you’re not going to get winter tyres, what can you do to keep yourself as safe as possible while using regular tyres? It’s very important that your tyre is adequately inflated, for a start. This is what will ensure that it has enough traction to stop when you need it to as the full surface will come in contact, this also ensures an even tyre wear. A soft kick will often reveal any immediate problems with inflation. But it’s worth actually getting a proper PSI reading using an accurate tyre pressure gauge. This is what will tell you the current tyre pressure. Your car manual should tell you what the optimum pressure level should be.

winter tires

Getting New Tyres

So you don’t want to blow a lot of cash for winter tyres – but you’re not particularly confident about your current tyres, either. It’s worth remembering that no two tyre makes are the same. Different tyres will have better responsiveness to braking and handling. Traction is another thing that you need to give careful consideration, so always fit the same tyre brand and tread to both sides of an axle. Superior compounds is what allows some tyres to last longer than others while still giving better traction and less roll resistance to save on fuel.

Fuel Efficiency

It’s also worth remembering your fuel and energy efficiency in winter. You’re likely to use more of these elements in winter than in any other time of the year. You may think this is largely due to the increased need for heating in the car, and you’re probably right. But you’ve also got to consider the fuel being used to actually move the car. In these sorts of conditions, it’s not as easy for a car to get from A to B. A lot more fuel is being used to perform basic movements at a level comparable to those in warmer, drier months. The tyres you use have a big influence on your ability to traverse any road – which means it also has a big effect on your fuel efficiency.

The Importance of Winter Tyres

car tyresUnfortunately, it’s that cold, icy and rather snowy time of year again, and we need to be prepared for the road conditions which the icy conditions can cause. If you want to stay safe in your vehicle, whilst also ensuring the safety of others around you, it’s important to know exactly what you are doing during the winter months.

You might think it’s the same as summer, but that would be a mistake. Put simply, the snow, rain, ice and colder temperature which winter brings requires a slightly different driving style, and therefore a slightly different set of kit for your car.

What Are Winter Car Tyres?

Tyres certainly are not just car tyres, as there are a few different types. Winter tyres differ from summer tyres in that they are made with a higher level of silica and therefore a softer rubber outer. This basically helps them be more flexible on cold and icy roads, and they are much more responsive to conditions as a result; summer tyres simply don’t do the job well enough as the rubber compounds dramatically reduce in performance in the colder conditions.

Another difference is that there is more grip to a winter tyre, thanks to more pattern and groove. Obviously, this all helps the vehicle to grip the road in ice and snow.

You might not have given much thought at all to your car tyres in terms of switching for the seasons, but consider this your warning to do so!

Whilst winter car tyres may wear slightly quicker than summer versions, they are certainly needed for safety, and that should always be your number one priority. As a side note, if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, you still need winter tyres.

car tyres

Other Considerations for Winter Driving

In addition to making sure your car tyres are the correct type for the season, you should also adhere to the following advice.

  • Check your oil levels are optimum whenever you go anywhere in adverse weather;
  • Have an ‘emergency box’ in the boot, consisting of a warm blanket, energy bars, etc. Basically you need to have supplies to keep you warm and comfortable whilst you wait for help in the event of a break down;
  • Keep two hands on the steering wheel at all times;
  • Slow down before turning a corner;
  • Brake on a straight road, and use the engine brake when heading downhill;
  • Keep lane switching to a minimum;
  • Keep around 8 times distance between yourself and the car in front in icy and snowy conditions;
  • Keep a phone charger in the car, ready to fill up your phone with juice;
  • Keep your journeys to a minimum in adverse conditions, and don’t venture out if you really don’t have to;
  • Have your car serviced prior to winter starting, to check for any gremlins that could potentially cause a problem in bad weather;
  • On snowy roads, be aware that pedestrians may be walking on the road, if they are unable to get through on the pavement.

Much of this is common sense, you’re not going to head out in six feet of snow if you don’t have to, but sometimes the weather in winter time is highly unpredictable, especially out in the countryside, away from the cities. Careful driving is a must at all times, but when you throw into the mix potentially slippery conditions, you need to be extra vigilant, especially when driving downhill.

Get your car ready for winter, Scandi-style

Winter Driving


We have a lot to thank Scandinavia for: Ikea, The Killing and of course, Sarah Lund’s fabulous jumpers. And although our winters are no match for theirs, Ireland’s motorists could take a few pointers from their meticulous winter driving prep – especially heading into what some experts say will be the coldest winter in 50 years.


In Ireland, traffic grinds to a halt as soon as a few flakes fall but when it snows in Scandinavia, traffic generally runs as usual. But being snow-ready is something deeply ingrained in the Scandinavian psyche and there are laws in place to deal with winter. In all Scandinavian countries bar Norway, drivers are required by law to swap over to winter tyres, and in some places it’s compulsory to carry snow chains too. Roads are salted at the first sign of snow and ice, and after a heavy snowfall, local farmers as well as municipal workers are mobilised to clear the roads. Carrying the right kit isn’t optional either. In Norway, it’s compulsory to have at least one visibility vest in your car and in Sweden you must carry antifreeze, a shovel to clear snow, and a warning triangle. And in Nordic neighbour Finland, speed limits are reduced from October to March.


While we don’t have the extreme weather that the Scandinavians do, there are still plenty of useful tips we can take from them to get our cars winter-ready.


Get your tyres right

  • Before your tyres come into contact with wet, snowy or icy road surfaces, you should make sure they are in perfect condition and have the right amount of air in them
  • When the temperature reaches freezing, switch to winter tyres. Effective on slush, ice, frost and wet roads, winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound so they don’t harden in the cold, giving increased grip and greater safety. Note they should be fitted in sets of four to avoid affecting the balance and stability of your car
  • Make sure your tyre tread depth is at least 3mm
  • Consider carrying snow chains, but only use them when the road is covered in snow or ice, not on a gritted road, otherwise you risk damaging the road surface and your car


Put on your lights

Our winters are dark and gloomy, so it’s a good idea to drive with your lights on even during daylight trips.


Carry the right kit

  • Before setting off, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged but remember to pull over if you need to use it.
  • Take a flask of hot drink and some water.
  • Take warm clothes and blankets.
  • Take an ice scraper, brush, and old rags.
  • Carry two warning triangles in case of difficulties.
  • Carry antifreeze and a shovel to clear snow.
  • Carrying spare headlight bulbs is also recommended.


Plan your journey

Before you set out, check the weather forecast, but don’t rely on it as conditions could change rapidly. When you’re on the road, reduce your speed and allow significantly more time to complete your journey when adverse conditions kick in. If it’s snowing heavily, ensure your headlights and number plates stay clear of snow, and if you’re on a long drive, pull over regularly for short breaks.


Of course, if the snow and ice does hit this winter, it’s much safer to stay home with a hot chocolate and the Borgen box set. But for those unavoidable journeys, we hope these tips will help you #DriveSafer.



For more #DriveSafer tips, visit the Liberty Insurance Facebook and Twitter pages or check out Winter Ready, a helpful website from the Department of Defence.

Get a car insurance quote today from Liberty Insurance.

Winter Car Care Guide

Winter Car Care
Oh, hello Abigail. Power cuts, schools closed and ferries cancelled. We think it’s safe to say, that after a good run, winter has finally arrived. And with it comes the need to run through the routine winter checks to ensure you keep motoring safely over the winter months.

Winter Checks

When conducting your winter check, pay attention to:

Tyres: Up to 25% off Selected Tyres

A complete new set of winter tyres (where the rubber is optimized to stay flexible during cold snaps as opposed to regular tyres which turn hard and slippery) might sound expensive. However, in reality, if you spend a lot of time on the road during the winter months it’s a worthwhile investment. And besides, while you’re driving around on the winter tyres, the regular set isn’t being used and worn down. Even if you don’t require winter tyres, it might be worth considering changing your tyres if you haven’t done so for a few years.

Battery: Up to 30% off Batteries

While it’s always advisable to have a professional check your battery, there are a few ways even a novice can carry out a routine check and maintenance. Look out for corrosion on posts and cable connections and scrape away where necessary. Give the surfaces a clean and re-tighten all connections. If you can remove the battery caps check the fluid level monthly. If you haven’t replaced the battery in the last three years, you should consider doing so.

Wiper Blades: Up to 20% off Wiper Blades

Rubber-cladded wiper blades are best suited for scraping ice from the windscreen. In addition to this, ensure you have refilled your windshield washer reservoir with wiper solvent and keep plenty on hand. You can really go through it in large quantities during the winter months.

Replenish Fluid Levels: 

Be rigorous about changing your car’s fluids and filters during the winter months. Your car’s older engine will thank you for it! Remember to change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Use the recommended oil viscosity range for winter. 5W-30 motor oil flows quicker in cold weather than 20W-50. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W-30 oil for year-round protection.

Tyre and Snow Sock Guide

Fitting your snow socks is easy, once you have the correct size. To calculate your snow sock size, you will need the width, profile and diameter of your tyres. On the side of each tyre, you will see a sting of letters and numbers as above. Simply note the width, profile and size.

Our snow socks are sold in four sizes – S, M, L and XL.
S size
M size
L size
XL size

Car Battery Maintenance

Dead Battery

You know the scenario…its early morning and its dark, cold and wet outside. You wrap up, pull the overcoat tight, put the head down and scuttle for the car. Safely ensconced, you put the key in and turn…nothing! You go again. There’s a brief spark of life but after some spluttering, the car returns to its’ vegetated state. Looks like you’re going to be late to work.

Winter is not your car batteries friend. Why? Your car battery is essentially a chemically filled canister – the problem with batteries in the colder months is that those chemicals act slower when the temperature drops and subsequently fewer electrons are produced. Without these electrons the starter motor has less energy to get itself going!

There are a number of ways of keeping your battery in optimal shape to prevent it from stalling during the colder winter months.



  • First things first, get yourself some BOOSTER CABLES. You will use them at some stage either on your battery or someone else’s (learn how to jump start your battery HERE if you’ve never done so before).
  • Invest in a good BATTERY CHARGER: It will end up saving you money and hassle in the long term!
  • Keep it clean: Especially around the terminals and cables (remove signs of corrosion, dirt and oxidation etc.) You can use a screwdriver or pliers to scrape away any dirt. If the build-up of grime can’t be removed so easily, bring the car to a mechanic and have them take care of it.
  • Avoid Short Trips: Starting the car in cold temperatures is particularly taxing on the battery (actually this is true in any temperature). Ergo, the less you start the car, the less work the battery has to do. Of course, the battery does need to be started up from time to time to hold a charge, so perhaps you can do a number of small errands in one go thus extending the car journey, and minimising the number of start up’s, or walk / cycle when possible.
  • Disconnect: If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, or perhaps you for whatever reason won’t be driving for a number of weeks, you can disconnect the battery. This will prevent things like the car’s clock from draining energy.
  • If your battery is in storage for some time, then a SOLAR POWER PANEL is a good investment for keeping it charged.
  • Battery Blanket: If there’s space around the battery you could insulate it. If the battery tends to be idle for any extended period of time this is recommended.
  • Minimise use of accessories when starting car!
  • Heat it up: Should you find yourself needing to jumpstart your battery, you can reduce the stress on the battery by heating it up first. Strick the car in neutral and push it into the sunlight (yes, we know, that’s not exactly a consistent option here).





  • A batteries age is a key factor in how it holds up during the winter months. The older the battery, the more likely it is to seize up in colder weather conditions. It is generally recommended that you replace the battery every 3-5 years.
  • Some batteries have a 4 or 5-digit shipping date code engraved. The first digit from the left are generally the most important. The letter stands for the month of the year (A = January; B = February etc). The second digit from the left is the year that the battery was shipped from the factory (0 = 2010, 1 = 2011, 2 = 2012 etc).
  • You can find a suitable battery for your vehicle HERE.