Tyre Labels have been found on car tyres since November 2012, when EU legislatures made it compulsory that every tyre sold across the EU - must carry a tyre label at the point of sale covering the tyre's efficiency, wet grip and external noise performance.

Tyres are not the first products to be labelled, and are now labelled the same way that food and other consumer items are labelled. The aim of these labels is to empower the consumer to make an informed decision about what they are buying, in this case the tyres for their car. At a single glance of a tyre label, a consumer can understand a few of the basic performance indicators of the tyre.

Furthermore, tyre labels are the same across all kinds of tyres - so regardless of whether you are buying a budget tyre for a city car, or a sports tyre for a supercar, all of the information presented is the same.

Below, we run through each of the different elements of a tyre label.

Fuel Efficiency Tyre Label

Being the only point of contact between a car, and the road - it’s no surprise to learn that tyres play an important part in the economy, efficiency and fuel consumption of a vehicle. Rolling Resistance is the factor that affects fuel economy, and the type of rubber and material that the tyre is made from can affect the amount of rolling resistance a tyre produces.

Naturally, customers who do a lot of miles will benefit from investing more money into more economical and efficient tyres, so company car drivers and those driving mainly motorway miles will benefit from choosing a tyre based on efficiency.

Tyres with the best efficiency ratings are marked from A, all the way down to G, which is the least efficient. An example of fuel savings between the grades, is a £100 a year saving by choosing an A rated tyre, as opposed to an F rated tyre.

As with many industries, the tyre industry and tyre manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of research and design, in a bid to make the most efficient and environmentally tyres on the market. Steps taken by tyre manufacturers to increase efficiency, include changing tread patterns for less rolling resistance, rubber compounds that further minimise internal movement within the tyre and creating more aerodynamic tread and wall design.

Wet Braking Tyre Rating

For many consumers, the wet braking label is the most important - as it’s the only one directly linked to stopping distances and consequently, safety.

As previously mentioned, tyres are the only contact that your vehicle has with the road, meaning they play a vital role in vehicle safety. This label covers the distance it takes from applying the brakes, to the point at which a car comes to a complete stop, in wet driving conditions. Stopping in wet conditions takes longer than it would in dry conditions, because of surface water on the road and water within the tread pattern of the tyre.

Tyre companies work really hard to improve the wet braking performance of their tyre, designing tread patterns which rid the tyre of water, improving wet braking distances. The grading shows how successful the tyre companies have been in improving this key safety measure.

This tyre label runs from A-G and there’s about a 2.5 metre stopping difference between each letter, meaning an A rated tyre will stop 18 metres before an F rated tyre when braking from 50mph.

Tyre Noise Rating

Although arguably less important than wet braking distances, tyre noise is important to the consumer - especially those doing high mileage. Tyre noise is a contributing factor to both driving enjoyment and the amount of time you can drive for, without becoming fatigued.

The measure for this part of the ratings label, is in decibels - and each tyre label has three different noise bands. One black bar means that the tyre is relatively quiet on the road. Two black bars means that the tyre meets current legislation, as well as future EU legislation - and three bars means that the tyre meets current legislation, but will not meet future legislation.

Tyre Labelling Exceptions

Although all new car tyres are legally required to be labelled, there are some exceptions to the rule - with the following not requiring labelling:

  • Retreads
  • Remoulds
  • Racing Tyres
  • Studded Tyres
  • Tyres fitted to pre 1990 vehicles
  • Tyres with a speed rating of less than 50mph
  • Tyres with a rim diameter of less than 254mm or greater than 635mm