Tyres are graded according to wet grip, fuel efficiency and external noise. The presentation is based on the familiar EU energy efficiency label.
The fuel efficiency label resembles the familiar energy labelling on white goods, with A as the best and G the worst. The difference between the two can equate to as much as 7.5% more fuel used.
Fuel use depends on the tyre’s rolling resistance. Overall, tyres are responsible for around 20% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption.
Two things affect this – tyre pressure and tyre construction.
Low tyre pressures increase rolling resistance and hence fuel consumption.
Tyre manufacturers try to use materials and manufacturing techniques that will reduce rolling resistance at the recommended pressure, whilst being careful not to reduce rolling resistance too far which can adversely affect stopping distance in the wet. EU regulations are also continuing to set lower maximum limits.
To ensure safety standards are maintained at the same time as improving fuel use, the EU has introduced minimum levels of wet grip performance.
The new label shows wet grip performance measured under strictly controlled conditions and graded from A down to G.
The difference in stopping distance between grades will be 1-2 car lengths when braking from 50mph. The difference in braking distance between best and worst will be about 30%.
This rating measures the external noise made by a passing vehicle in decibels. Tyre noise heard outside doesn’t necessarily reflect tyre noise heard inside.Tyre noise affects the environment. To help reduce road transport noise, tyre manufacturers have to comply with regulations setting increasingly stringent maximum limits for the external noise that tyres generate. The label shows the tyre’s external noise level, measured in decibels. A single black ‘sound wave’ shows that the tyre’s noise level is 3dB better than the future European limit. Two black ‘sound waves’ denotes that the tyre meets the future European limit. Three black ‘sound waves’ indicates that the tyre only meets the current European limit for noise.
NOTE: Tyre labels don’t tell the whole story. There are other considerations when comparing tyres, such as:
Performance on dry roads
Tyre handling characteristics
Wet road performance
Comfort and ride quality
When did the regulation come into force?
From 1st November 2012 retailers in the EU have had to provide consumers with information regarding the performance of tyres offered for sale that were manufactured from 1st July 2012. (Date of production code 2712 or greater).
Retailers must ensure that tyres, at the point of sale, bear the sticker or have a label in their close proximity which is shown to the end-user before the sale.
They must give the information during the purchase process if the tyres offered for sale are not visible to the end-user (for passenger and light commercial vehicles tyres)
They must also give the information on or with the invoices/bill (for passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and truck/bus tyres).
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