Archive for Knowledge Base

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.

What to do when you’re hit from behind

Car Accident

When you set out on a journey, you don’t expect to breakdown or be involved in an accident, but it can, and does happen to drivers on a daily basis. And whether you’re on the motorway, in a city, town or on a rural road, it can be highly dangerous as well as inconvenient. So to avoid panic and putting yourself in unnecessary danger, here are the right steps to follow if an accident or breakdown situation does arise.



DO stay calm, put your hazard lights on, and find a safe area to stop if possible.

DO set out cones or a reflective triangle to make the accident area more visible to other vehicles. (Make sure you have the right contents in your car for all eventualities). This is particularly important if the crash happens at night or at anytime visibility is low.

DO ask everyone if they’re injured or feeling unwell.

DO call 999 to alert the Gardaí and, if necessary, ambulance and fire services.

DO take the names and contact details of any witnesses, including passengers in every vehicle involved in the crash.

DO ask to see the other drivers’ licences, and take down their licence number, number plate and address. All parties should exchange policy numbers and the names of the insurance companies should be written down.

DO (if possible) take photos or make notes on the accident scene, i.e. the direction the cars are in, skid marks and any debris from the accident.

DO contact your insurance company and give them all the information you gathered at the accident, such as the drivers’ insurance details, the damages sustained, and the types of vehicle involved in the accident.


DON’T ever leave the engine running, otherwise it can become a safety hazard and you risk starting a fire. Once your vehicle has stopped, turn off the ignition immediately.

DON’T administer first aid without the consent of the injured person if they are able to give it. If possible, don’t move or attempt to treat severe injuries until medical services arrive.

DON’T under any circumstances leave the accident until the Gardaí have arrived.

DON’T at any time make an admission of fault.


Finally, in any situation – accident or breakdown try not to panic. Shock and anger are natural emotions, especially in the event of an accident, but if you do your best to remain calm and in control of the situation, it will be a lot easier to get through.


This content is published with the consent of Liberty Insurance.

Visit the Liberty Insurance Facebook and Twitter pages for more #DriveSafer tips or get a car insurance quote today.



Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Time to replace your wiper blades?

Visibility is key to safe driving, especially here in Ireland. A well maintained set of wiper blades are essential not only when facing the wet weather conditions, but also with regards to the continued cleanliness of your windscreen.

It is important to not wait too long to replace worn blades. A torn wiper blade can allow the wiper arm to rub against the glass, which can potentially ruin the windshield.


How Often Should You Replace Wiper Blades?

The wear depends of the temperature and use but it is generally recommended to replace your wiper blades twice a year:

  • Autumn: the heat after summer accelerates the wear. Replace those wiper blades before winter comes.
  • Spring: the bad weather will decrease the efficiency of your wiper blades. Replace ahead of the summer.


Damaged Blades: Warning Sings

If you notice one of the following, it’s time to replace your wiper blades:

  • Your wiper blades leave tracks / haze on the windscreen.
  • Wiper blades slide / scrape badly.
  • Wiper blades are noisy / squeaky.
  • Wiper blades skip across the windshield caused by a curve in the rubber


Wiper Blades: Maintenance

  • It’s advisable to give the rubber blades a wipe down every month. This will remove any debris, grime or loose bits of rubber. Use Alcohol wipes are recommended for this.
  • You can increase the lifespan of the blades by keeping your windshield clean. Wash your windshields with alcohol to get all of the oil residue from the road off your windscreen. Also, fix any chipped segments on the windscreen – these cut wiper blades.
  • During the winter months, defrost the windscreen before switching on the wiper blades.


Find Your Wiper Blades Quickly

With our tools and your registration number, we can find the specific wiper for your car.

Just head to Be sure to check the product notes and images provided to ensure they match your current wiper blades.

Tyre Blowouts Explained (and what you need to know to avoid them)

Tyre Blowouts


Leaving your tyre under-inflated is the absolute worst thing you can do to it. I’m stating the obvious here, but given that air is the very element that enables a tyre to carry the substantial weight of a vehicle and its contents, leaving it gasping is a sure fire way to ensure the various components get pushed beyond their limits eventually leading to blowouts.

Under-inflated tyres reduces endurance and braking, makes road-holding less precise and increases fuel consumption as well as the risk of aquaplaning.

Check your vehicle’s handbook for the recommended pressure.


Tyre Blowout: Underinflated and overloaded Tyre's.

Tyre Blowout: Under-inflated and overloaded Tyre’s.



Your tyres have a Load Index located on the sidewall. Find, it, check it and, here’s the really important part, ADHERE TO IT! Overloaded tyres build up an excess in heat. Excess heat leads to serious tyre damage, such as blowouts. This rule also applies to the maximum axle load rating on your vehicle.

And remember, the maximum pressure number found on the tyre sidewall only applies to tyres that are fully inflated.



This one is particularly relevant here in Ireland, especially for anyone who has to subject their cars to our country roads. At low speeds hitting a deep pothole will not only damage your tyre, but also the wheel and steering alignment. Hitting those potholes at a higher speed dramatically increases the level of this damage by unravelling / fraying the internal components (aka blowouts)

If you do hit a pothole, stop the car as soon as it’s safe to do so and check for cuts in the rubber or lumps in the sidewall. Check to see if the steering pulls excessively to one side or whether there’s a vibration through the steering. If so, get to a garage / tyre specialist, as driving will only further deteriorate the condition of the tyres.

Be aware that sometimes, these tell-tale signs won’t be immediately apparent. The true extent of the damage incurred only reveals itself after a number of months.


The Long Goodbye

This is really the result of all of the above combined, a gradual accumulation of damage through under-inflated tyres, overloading and occasional happenstances with potholes, all of which are accompanied by a general idleness on the owners part to deal with the issues initially. Don’t let it get to that stage – better to deal with the issues head on rather than risk the tyres failing when driving on the motorway at speed with the entire family on board en-route to a family holiday.


Controlling your car during a blowout:

Now, should you be unfortunate enough to experience a tyre blowout (either through no fault of your own or because you ignored the warning signs), there are a number of actions you can take to avoid turning a minor accident into a potentially fatal one.


Front Tyre

Most importantly, stay calm.

Do NOT slam on the brakes or make any sudden turns.

Keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel and maintain a straight direction.

Check the mirrors on both sides for other traffic and plot the safest route to a gradual stop.

Bring the car to a gradual stop – a sudden deceleration will only place more weight on the damaged front tyre which can cause the car to veer dangerously to that side. If that happens the rim may grip the tarmac which can cause the car to flip.

Lower gears can be more effective than braking to reduce the speed in manual cars.


Back Tyre

Blowout’s on the rear tyres causes’ excessive drag which impacts on the car’s balance.

An imbalanced car will be difficult to steer straight.

To avoid spinning out, take your foot gradually off the accelerator.

Engage the lower gears as opposed to braking and bring to a slow and steady stop.

Tyre-Blowouts - what to do and what not to do

Tyre-Blowouts – what to do and what not to do



How to Jump-Start Your Car

Businessman holding pipe in mouth, smiling, (B&W), portrait

If there’s one car-related skill everyone should know, it’s how to jump-start a car. It’s straight forward and all you need is jumper cables (and a working car of course). You will inevitably need to do this yourself someday, whether it’s on your own vehicle, or someone else’s (your chance to be a Good Samaritan). So, read on…


  1. Park both cars bonnet to bonnet, roughly half a foot apart. Make sure both cars have the parking brake on and their engines switched off.

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. Next, pop the hood. Before attaching anything it’s worth inspecting the battery in question. If the battery shows clear signs of corrosion then it may require replacing.

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. If it appears fine superficially, the next step is to find the negative and positive terminals on both batteries. Positive = Red, while Black = Negative. Also, and this is important: DON’T let the metal ends touch each other throughout the process.

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. Now, attach the positive jumper cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal, and the other end to the positive terminal of the live battery.

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. The Negative end of the cable is then attached to the negative terminal of the live battery. Its opposite end should be attached to a metal (non-painted) part under the hood of the car with the dead battery (i.e. engine block bolts).

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. Start the car with the live battery. Give it a few minutes running time, and then lightly rev the engine.

    How to Jump Start a Car

    How to Jump Start a Car


  1. Start up the car with the dead battery. If it turns, let it run for a few minutes. Failing that, let it rest while the other car continues to run for a minute. If it still doesn’t turn after that, turn off everything and check the connections again.


  1. If successful, disconnect the cables in the reverse order that you put them on (negative – dead car > negative – working car > positive – working car > positive – dead car).


  1. Pat yourself on the back.

    Businessman holding pipe in mouth, smiling, (B&W), portrait