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The Tyre Label: 3 performance criteria to choose the right tyres

Before making any purchase, you generally want to compare different products that interest you and weigh up their pros and cons. In the case of tyres, you can do this using the performance criteria on the EU tyre label: rolling resistance, wet grip and external rolling noise. Find out how to read the label and which factors to take into account before making a decision.

Copyright ©: rezulteo

Rolling resistance and fuel efficiency

Rolling resistance is the first criteria on the tyre label. The higher the rolling resistance, the more energy a tyre will need to consume to roll. If you want to save fuel, you should buy tyres with a low rolling resistance.

On the EU tyre label, rolling resistance is rated on a scale from A to G, A being the lowest and G the highest. There is a significant difference in terms of fuel consumption between A-rated tyres and G-rated tyres. On average, with an A-rated tyre, your car will do an extra 4.7 mpg, leading to an annual saving of 80 litres of fuel, or around £175 if you drive 10,000 miles per year.

CO2 emissions will also be much lower with A-rated tyres. For the same annual mileage, a vehicle with A-rated tyres emits 12g less C02 per kg than one on G-rated tyres, i.e. 0.18 tonnes less CO2 each year.

Of course, these figures are averages and the results can vary depending on your vehicle type, driving style and the weather conditions you encounter.

Wet grip performance

Essential for your safety, wet grip performance is rated from A to F, where A is the highest performing and F the lowest performing.

Once again, the gap between the best and worst ratings is significant: stopping distances when braking on wet roads at a speed of 50 mph will be 18 metres shorter with an A-rated tyre than with an F-rated tyre. 18 metres is the equivalent of 4 car lengths.

External rolling noise

The tyre label evaluates the external rolling noise of tyres with a view to reducing environmental noise pollution. This is not the noise you hear inside your vehicle but the noise heard by people outside.  

Noise is measured in decibels (dB) and this number is used to give tyres a noise rating, indicated on the label by 1, 2 or 3 sound waves. The quietest tyres have only one sound wave.

If we consider two tyres of the same size rolling at the same speed, a tyre with one sound wave will be twice as quiet as a tyre with 2 sound waves and 4 times quieter than a tyre with 3 sound waves.

Why are winter tyres not as highly rated as summer tyres

Looking at tyre labels, you may have noticed that winter tyres have lower ratings than summer tyres. This due to the evaluation system which focuses more on the important performance criteria for summer tyres than for winter tyres.

Winter tyres are designed to provide maximum safety at low temperatures (below 7°C) and on slippery, snow-covered or icy roads. Criteria such as wet grip are therefore not as important for winter tyres.

Also, with their deeper tread providing better grip and traction on snow and ice, winter tyres are noisier than summer tyres.

3 other key criteria not to be overlooked when buying tyres

Tyre labelling has its limits. It only includes 3 performance criteria whereas most tests published by test organisations use around fifteen.

To assess the performance of a tyre, whether in terms of safety, savings or comfort, several other factors need to be considered. The 3 main ones are as follows:

1. Tyre life

A tyre with a slow, even rate of wear can last up to a year longer. When buying your tyres, take their lifespan into account: it will have a significant impact on the real cost of your tyres.

2. Braking on dry roads

In terms of safety, the tyre label only measures wet grip but there are also other factors to consider. According to the Traffic Accident Research Institute (VUFO) at the University of Dresden, 70% of accidents occur on dry roads. So, before choosing your tyres, don’t forget to check the dry braking performance for different models.

3. Cornering grip

The same research by the University of Dresden, found that one in four accidents occur when cornering. Therefore cornering grip is another important aspect of performance to be examined before buying tyres.

At rezulteo, in order to provide the most comprehensive information possible on tyre performance, we compile tyre test results from independent organisations and use this information to provide a rating based on 5 stars.

Easy to understand at a glance, the rezulteo rating includes 9 performance criteria for summer tyres and 13 for winter tyres, including aquaplaning resistance, dry and wet handling, high speed stability, and the ability to absorb road irregularities.

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