Do you pay attention to tyre labelling?

5th December 2013

Around a year ago improved tyre labelling was introduced in a bid to better inform drivers on what exactly they were buying when it came to the latest tyres.

However, a new study has revealed that motorists are still paying the most attention to the price of the tyres they are buying. Research involving 3,402 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, showed price is the main consideration when looking to fit new tyres to their car.

A third of those involved in the survey said they were aware of the new labelling system, but just eight per cent could actually name three of the labelling criteria – wet grip, rolling resistance and external rolling noise.

Just 11 per cent of drivers said they paid attention to the labelling present on the sidewall of their tyres, which the survey revealed was not down to the lack of clarity with the labels, as three-quarters of respondents said they understood the markings.

Despite so many people knowing about the labels and understanding them, the fact that price is still the driving force behind purchasing decisions is something of an issue. So, how can the labels on your tyres benefit you and your vehicle?

The first thing to notice about the labelling is that it can help you compare the fuel economies that the tyres provide. Much like an energy rating for a home, the diagram shows how the tyre performs on fuel consumption, with efficiency graded from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

To give you an idea of the difference between the grades, a vehicle with A-rated tyres fitted will consume around 7.5 per cent less fuel than G-rated tyres.

Every driver knows that stopping distances increase when the road conditions are wet, but it is unclear exactly how to work this out for many. This is again where tyre labelling can step in and solve the issue.

Charts grade tyres on how well they perform under wet-weather braking, a scale that again goes from A to G, with A the safest and G the least safe. Cars fitted with four A-rate tyres driving 50mph will stop 18 metres sooner than those running around on G-rated wet-weather braking tyres.

This is a significant improvement and can be the difference between being involved in a collision and stopping before crashing into another vehicle, so it is well worth motorists paying attention to labelling if at all possible.

Noise level is also illustrated within the labelling, with diagrams showing a particular tyre's noise level in decibels, telling you how it relates to future European mandatory limits.

Three black waves indicates a noisier tyre, two black waves equate to an average tyre and one black wave is a low noise tyre.

Of course, there are other factors to consider when buying a new set of tyres for a vehicle. Price is of course a concern, but tyre longevity should also be taken into account, as well as road handling performance and dry braking characteristics.

Posted by Danielle Barge