What are car tyre labels?
Car tyre labels are part of regulation that was brought in by the EU in 2012 to offer more information to consumers on tyre safety (which you can read more about here) and the tyre’s impact on the environment.
In August 2018, the EU announced it is planning to update and improve current tyre labelling regulations by making it a requirement for retailers to show the labels to motorists when tyres are purchased.
It is expected that the new regulations will also require labels to include the tyres’ snow and ice performance, as well as ratings for mileage and wear.
The RAC welcomed the EU’s announcement, calling the strengthened labelling regulations good news for UK motorists.
What do car tyre labels mean?
The labels currently comprise three pictures which each denote three separate things – fuel economy, wet grip and noise.
They are effectively a rating system that lets you know how efficient your tyres are in certain areas, but what repercussions do these different efficiencies have on you, your car and your wallet?
Tyre labelling for fuel economy ranges from A to G. It uses a coloured scale: a black arrow with a large white letter points to the rating for the tyre.
Tyres with the best fuel economy have a green ‘A’ rating. Tyres with the worst mpg have a red ‘G’ rating.
The difference between the best and worst rating can be 7.5%.
As tyres account for 20% of a car’s overall fuel consumption, choosing wisely here can give significant savings.
The more miles you do, the more money a fuel-efficient tyre will save.
Tyre labelling for wet grip ranges from A to G.
A black arrow and white letter points to the rating for that tyre.
The rating depicts stopping distances in rainy weather.
The difference between each letter is around 2.5 metres when braking from 50mph – that’s well over half a car-length.
An ‘A’ rated tyre will come to a stop 18 metres before an ‘F’ rated tyre in the wet.
For more information about tyre safety in general read our complete tyre safety guide.
Tyre labelling for noise is made up of three ‘sound wave’ bars.
The rating can be either one, two or three black-coloured bars; the overall decibel rating is given in large white numbers.
It is an external noise rating: one black bar means the tyre is 3db or more below future EU legislation.
Two black bars means the tyre meets current and future legislation.
Three bars means the tyre meets current legislation – but will fail to meet future legislation (although you will still be able to use it if you’ve already bought it).