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How reliable is the EU tyre label rating for your car tyre?

Tyres are one of the most essential components when it comes to cars. They are available in different sizes and models; ensuring every customer gets their right fit. When it comes to choosing tyres, there are several ways a person could go by in making the right choice.

While most people go for the tyres they have heard about from each other; some people go beyond recommendations. People who have a technical understanding of tyres often tend to look for signs like EU labels. Tyre labels were introduced with the aim of imparting regulation knowledge to the consumers in 2012. Such a labeling system has been brought with the aim of promoting safer, economical, and friendlier road transport in Europe. This labeling system was initially introduced for cars and was later made available for the bus as well as truck tyres.

EU tyre labels were initially introduced in November 2012. They look like the labels found on other kinds of packed goods like food and white goods. They offer crucial information that a tyre manufacturer believes every car owner should know. Such a label helps consumers make the right tyre choice through easy side-by-side comparisons. Since the first EU labels offered very basic information, a newer EU label will also be produced by regulation starting May 2021.

Factors considered for original EU tyre label:

1. Fuel economy level:

As the name suggests, this aspect is all about evaluating the impact on fuel consumption brought on by the installation of a specific tyre. It’s a seven-level scale and is denoted alphabetically from A to G. This scale is colored and is denoted with the help of a black-colored arrow and big white-colored letters that corresponds to a tyre’s rating. The scale calculates a tyre’s rolling resistance. Such resistance is affected by a tyre’s wear and tear over time. Tyres that have a low rolling resistance reading tend to offer a better fuel economy thus offering a better energy rating in the process.

The scale is organized in descending order with the letter A denoting the best fuel economy and letter G denoting the worst fuel economy. The difference in fuel economy between the first and last alphabet is about 7.5%. Tyres are one of the most crucial factors in deciding the fuel economy of a vehicle as they happen to account for about 20% of overall fuel consumption done by a car. The highest fuel economy is represented by the greener side of alphabets while the lowest fuel economy is represented by the red side of alphabets. Choosing a tyre with a greener side of alphabets assures that a car owner saves a lot of money while purchasing fuel down the road. It also helps preserve the environment by reducing the overall carbon footprint.

2. Wet braking performance:

Braking is one of the most important aspects related to the performance of a car. Wet grip or wet braking performance is one of the criteria of the standard EU label that helps gain an idea about a car’s ability to stick in wet conditions. It is too rated alphabetically from A to F where A is the highest rating and F is the lowest rating. Although the scale comprises the letters D & G; they are not used in the case of normal passenger cars.

This grading is given based on the tread quality of tyres. This quality is determined by assessing the grooves that run to form patterns on the tyre. These groovy patterns are responsible for sucking water from the surface so that the tyre could grip it. Alphabetical ranking on an EU label determines the gripping performance on a wet surface. This ranking has a gap of 2.5 meters per 50 mph an alphabet. For example, if a certain tyre has a wet braking performance graded as A or B; then it would have a shorter braking distance of just about 18 meters in wet weather. Tyres with a much lesser rating would eventually stop the tyre but at a much slower rate.

3. External rolling noise:

As the name suggests, this aspect tells everything about the noise produced by tyres. This is measured in a globally accepted unit of sound; decibels. There are two signs associated with identifying the amount of sound that can be produced by a tyre. These two signs are: number of waves and the decibels stated next to it. These both are mentioned at the same time so as to ensure that people who are not familiar with the decibel sound values can have an idea of what to expect by looking at the number of waves. The more the waves, the louder the tyres will be.

Tyres with one wave are considered “Quiet” and usually have a sound of 3dB or below. Tyres with two waves are considered “Moderate” and fall well within European limits. Similarly, tyres with three waves are considered “Loud” and exceed European limits. Quiet tyres are generally idealized for cars taken on long trips. Quiet tyres are, however, known to offer poor braking performance.

Factors considered for Updated EU label:

1. Grip support on snow and ice:

Tyres that come with the newer EU label will come with a unique “3 peak mountain snowflake” symbol alongside other signs on the label if a given tyre supports driving on snow. Certain Nordic winter tyres may also come with an ice stalagmite logo if they support driving on hard, ice surfaces. These symbols will be put next to external noise symbols.

2. QR code:

New EU labels will also include a unique QR code. When scanned, this code will offer readers extra information from the database handled by the European Commission. This database is hosted on European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL)’s online platform.

3. Energy efficiency logo:

New EU labels come under the EU’s Energy Efficiency Labelling category. Hence, new labels would explicitly state energy on top.

Verdict: is the EU tyre label reliable?

Since the EU’s tyre label describes so many factors, a user is bound to get a piece of complete knowledge about the tyres. Not only do customers get an idea about the safety of tyres but also make an informed decision based on their needs. For instance, a customer might prioritize a better wet grip over any other factor to meet appropriate needs in rainy weather.

That said, they should not be the only factor while considering buying new car tyres. Making an informed decision after reading online reviews, taking suggestions from local maintenance providers as well as listening to peers’ suggestions should also be a point of reference apart from going through EU label ratings.

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