All you need to know about tyre labels
Tyre labelling legislation is changing the way motorists chose their new tyres.
Every car or van tyre manufactured in the UK after 1 July now carries a label displaying its performance in three key areas — wet braking, fuel efficiency and noise emission.
This means that for the first time, whether you are buying an economy, mid-range or premium tyre you can see for yourself how it measures up to the competition and what you are getting for your money.
The label, which is similar to those on white goods such as fridges and washing machines, will be the same for all makes of tyre, so you will be able to make a proper comparison between a Bridgestone and a budget tyre or a mid-range and a Michelin.
In the past many motorists have based their choice about which tyre to buy on price and brand. The new EU Tyre Labelling Regulation (EC 1222.2009), which was introduced on 1 November 2012, now allows consumers to make much more informed decisions.
If the only things you knew about your tyres were they are black, round and an unwanted expense when they need replacing, you are not alone.
But your tyres are the only thing connecting you and your vehicle to the road, so you need to be sure you are getting the best tyres to suit your driving style and vehicle.
etyres believe this is a welcome and much needed piece of legislation that hands the power of information to you, the consumer.
Applied effectively, it could see an improvement in road safety and reduce the impact of road transport on the environment.
But most importantly, it could also help save lives.
To help you make the most of this new legislation we have put together a guide to understanding the information on the label.
Of course, there are many other factors to take into consideration when you are buying a new tyre. Most motorist magazines or automobile clubs carry out tests on around 15 criteria to rate performance, including wear, dry braking and aquaplaning resistance. But the new legislation is an excellent starting point.
If you require additional information or help selecting your tyre, our National Sales Team are on hand seven days a week to provide impartial guidance and advice on 0800 028 9000.
Breakdown of the label
Fuel efficiency/rolling resistance
What is it?
A tyre which is more fuel efficient helps you to reduce your driving costs and CO2 emissions.
A rolling tyre deforms and dissipated energy. The energy that is lost is known as rolling resistance and this is what directly impacts on your fuel consumption and the environment. With lower rolling resistance
On the label, fuel efficiency is measured according to the rolling resistance of the tyres in grades A to G, with A being the most fuel efficient and meaning you use the least fuel for your journey and G being the least fuel efficient.
By choosing an A-rated tyre over a G-rated tyre you could reduce your fuel consumption by up to 7.5%. This could equate to a saving of up to £110 or 80 litres of fuel over the life of the tyre (for a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50mph).
Category D is not used.
How is it calculated
Rolling resistance is measured by mounting the passenger car tyre on a two metre drum and running it with a defined load and pressure.
To rotate the drum without a tyre, a certain torque needs to be applied. The moment the tyre comes into contact with the drum, the torque required to rotate the drum needs to be increased.
By measuring the difference between the torque of the drum without the tyre and the increase when the tyre comes into contact with the drum it is possible to obtain a Rolling Resistance Coefficient (measured in kg/t). This result is used to define the specific grading on the label.
Wet grip/braking performance
What is it?
Wet braking performance is a critical safety feature and relates to how quickly you will be able to stop in wet conditions.
Tyres play a crucial role in a vehicles stopping distance and those with excellent wet grip have shorter braking distances on slippery roads, which is essential for keeping you safe in the rain.
The difference between each grade means an increase or decrease in stopping distance between one or two car lengths (3-6 metres) when braking at 50mph.
The difference between categories A and G is more than 18 metres* in stopping distance. An A-rated tyre provides the shortest braking distances on wet roads, whereas a G-rated tyre will have the longest braking distance in the wet.
Categories D and G are not used.
*Testing according to regulation EC1222.2009
How is it calculated?
According to the new tyre label legislation wet grip can be tested in one of two ways. The first is the wet braking vehicle test, which measure wet braking performance on a wet road surface, braking from 80km/h to 20km/h
The second test is a skid trailer test, which measures friction between the road and a tyre, conducted at 65km/h. The end result of both tests provides a Wet Grip Index (WGI), which describes the improvement in percentage in relation to the reference tyre.
Noise emission/exterior noise
What is it?
The final element of the new tyre label measures the amount of noise made by a tyre when it rolls along the road surface.
The tyres exterior noise is expressed in decibels (dB) and is depicted by a series of black waves.
Three black waves indicate that the tyre produces the most amount of noise on the scale, while one black wave symbolises the quietest.
In fact, three waves is the current limit, while two meets future laws and one is a further 3dBs below the new statutory requirement.
- 1 wave - low noise tyre
- 2 waves - average noise tyre
- 3 waves - noisier tyre
How is it calculated?
The new tyre label noise ranking is based on an ISO pass-by noise test, whereby noise is measured as a car passes by two microphones that are positioned 7.5m from the centre line at a height of 1.2m.
When does the tyre labelling come into effect?
The EU legislation came into force on 1st November 2012. All tyres manufactured from 1st July 2012 will carry the label.
Tyres manufactured before 1st July 2012 may still carry on old style label.
Why do we need tyre labelling?
Tyres make an important contribution to road safety and to the environmental impact of road transport. However, all tyres are not the same and offer vastly varying performances.
The new legislation will enable consumers to make more informed choices when they buy their tyres. The aim behind the EU regulation is to improve road safety and reduce the environmental impact of road transport.
Which tyres are included in the legislation?
The legislation applies to the supply of new car, 4x4, van and truck tyres with rim sizes greater than 254 and less than 635mm.
Which tyres excluded from the legislation?
The principal exclusions are motorcycle tyres, retread tyres, T-tyre temporary use spare tyres, tyres for pre-1990 vehicles and racing tyres.