NATIONAL TYRES AND AUTOCARE'S GUIDE TO EU TYRE LABELLING
TYRE LABELS WILL BE COMPULSORY FROM 1ST NOVEMBER 2012 FOLLOWING EU LEGISLATION. WE'RE USED TO SEEING LABELS ON ITEMS LIKE FOOD PACKAGING AND WHITE GOODS LIKE WASHING MACHINES. BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME LABELS WILLBECOME COMPULSORY FOR EU TYRE SALES, SO WHAT'S THE REASON FOR THIS?
Tyre labels are being introduced to give you, the buyer, comparable information so you can make a decision about what type of tyre you buy. The labels will be presented in a standard format for all makes of tyre, so no matter whether you're looking at a Pirelli, Avon or a Tigar tyre – you will be able to compare their vital statistics to see what you're getting.
Tyres are responsible for approximately 20% of a vehicle's fuel consumption, mainly due to their rolling resistance. Rolling resistance, also known as 'rolling friction' and
'rolling drag', is the resistance between the tyre and the road surface, and can be affected by the material the tyre is made from. Tyre manufacturers carry out vast amounts of
research into their production materials, with one of their aims being to reduce rolling resistance.
Reducing rolling resistance can help improve fuel efficiency. So if you opt for tyres classed as A' instead of 'F' – this could help save you 80 litres of fuel per year which could add up to more than £100 of savings.
This also benefits the environment, as CO2 emissions are reduced considerably. (Based on 10,000 miles per year with a petrol engine, at £1.30 per litre).
Tyres play a crucial role in a vehicle's stopping distance – i.e. the distance from when you hit the brakes until your car comes to a halt. It takes longer to stop in wet conditions compared to dry due to the amount of water held on the tyres and lying on the road surface. The patterns cut into a tyre's surface (tread) are designed to aid water dispersal, and this is another key research area for tyre manufacturers. So now you will be able to compare how efficiently a tyre will perform in wet braking.
For example, the difference in the wet braking distance between a car fitted with tyres classed as 'A' compared to 'F' is over 10 metres i.e. the equivalent to 2 car lengths! When braking at speed, clearly this make a big difference to your road safety.
The noise your tyre makes might not seem a crucial factor when buying a tyre – but if you spend a lot of your day driving on motorways, then you may prefer to invest in something that contributes to your driving comfort. Until now, it's not been possible to know the noise level of a tyre until you actually fit it and drive, but noise level will now be measured on tyre labels so you can make an informed choice about your purchase.
Noise is measured in decibels (dB), and the human ear can register the difference between 3 decibel ratings.
Tyre labels will have three different noise bands – the more waves shown on the symbol, the noisier the tyre is. One wave indicates the best performance, which means that the noise level
of the tyre is at least 3 dB below the future legal limit. Three black waves is the weakest performance and represents a noise level in between the current maximum limit and the new,
lower limit that will be introduced in Regulation 661, coming into force between 2012 and 2016.
HOW TO READ THE LABEL
See below for an example of the tyre label and a short explanation on what each of the three categories on the label actually mean.
Tyre Labels Explained
1. FUEL EFFICIENCY/ ROLLING RESISTANCE
Fuel efficiency is important to reduce both CO2 emissions and the cost of driving. Each tyre can be categorised for its fuel efficiency.
Tyres are rated between A – G; A being the most fuel efficient, G bring the least fuel efficient.
The difference between each category means a reduction or increase in fuel consumption of 3-4%.
Please note: category D is not used.
2. WET GRIP/BRAKING PERFORMANCE
Wet grip is a critical safety feature, relating to how quickly a tyre can stop on wet roads.
Tyres are rated A – G; A being the shortest braking distances in the wet, G being the longest braking distance in the wet.
The difference in each category can mean an extra one to two car lengths (3-6 metres) on the stopping distance.
Please note: categories D and G are not used.
3. NOISE EMISSION/ EXTERIOR NOISE
This relates to the external noise made by the tyre and is measured in dB (decibels). There are three ratings for noise as indicated by sound waves on the diagram. The more black waves, the louder the tyre.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT ME WHEN I'M BUYING TYRES?
When you buy tyres from National Tyres and Autocare, one of our trained staff is always on hand to help you make the best choice of tyre for your driving needs. Tyre labelling will provide you with back-up, comparative information so you can compare brands for yourself. National Tyres and Autocare will of course continue to offer you trusted advice when you are buying a tyre.
From November 2012, the tyre label must be shown to you when you are buying your tyre. If it's not clearly displayed next to the tyre, then a member of staff must show and explain the tyre label to you. This will be our responsibility by law. You will receive the tyre label along with your invoice.
HELP, I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT TYRE TO CHOOSE!
Don't worry – at National Tyres and Autocare we will still provide you with advice on which tyre to choose by asking you questions about what's important to you, and what type of driving you do. For example, if you're on the motorway five days a week, you'll have different requirements to someone who mainly uses their car for short, local trips. We will still help you make the best choice based on your car's use and your budget. Tyre labelling will provide you with further, independent information so you can easily compare tyre makes for yourself.
DOES THIS LAW APPLY TO ALL TYRES?
The tyre label will apply to all tyres sold by National Tyres and Autocare, i.e.
- All car, 4x4, van and truck tyres sold by National.
However, the tyre label will not apply to:
- non road-legal tyres (e.g. racing tyres)
- re-treaded tyres
- T-type, temporary spare tyres
- vintage car tyres
- tyres made for cars before 1990
WHEN DOES TYRE LABELLING COME INTO FORCE?
These provisions become law on 1st November 2012, and shall apply to all car and van tyres which are manufactured from 1st July 2012.
- From November 2012, all car, 4x4 and van tyres sold by National Tyres and Autocare must contain the EU Tyre Label.
- Tyre labels must be clearly displayed on all tyres.
- Before you make a purchase, a fitter must show/explain to you what the values on the tyre label mean in terms of FUEL EFFICIENCY, WET GRIP AND EXTERNAL NOISE to give you the opportunity to make an informed choice.
- The tyre label values will also be included on your invoice.
LOW NOISE TYRES AND EXTERNAL NOISE REGULATIONS
Traffic noise is considered a nuisance and a major cause of 'noise pollution'. New EU tyre regulations which are being introduced will see a stricter policy on external tyre noise. This is not necessarily the noise you hear as the driver inside the car, but external noise caused by your tyres.
The new EU tyre labels will include a rating for external tyre noise. The aim is to promote quiet tyres (as well as fuel efficiency and safety, the other categories which are rated on the new labels).
External noise is measured in decibels (dB) and it is illustrated on the labels with a 3-wave pictogram which tells you how a tyre rates in relation to future European mandatory limits; with one bar indicating the most quiet tyres to three bars indicating the loudest rating. So the more black bars you see, the louder the tyre.
|1 bar – This is the best you can get; the tyre not only complies with current legislation but it is at least 3dB less than the new limit on noise. Tyres with this rating are the quietest tyres and can be considered low noise tyres.|
|2 bars – Tyres with 2 bars comply with both current legislation and the new, tighter rules.|
|3 bars – 3 bars indicate that the tyre meets with current legislation only.|
At National, we are regularly asked about what's the best choice for low noise tyres. After all low noise and comfort often go hand in hand and are big considerations when buying tyres, as well as performance, especially for customers who do a lot of driving.
Tyre pattern can make a big difference to noise levels and comfort. The noise comes from the tyre block on the tread making contact and then retracting from the road, so generally the more 'blocky' the tread pattern, the more noise the tyre makes. Indeed, tyres with a low profile tend to be noisier, particularly as they wear down.
Low profile tyres also impact on comfort, resulting in a harsher ride – especially for vehicles where low profile tyres are retro-fitted and do not come as OE equipment. This is because the sidewall is stiffer and more shallow, so will absorb less of the surface impact when driving on imperfect road surfaces.
However technological advances in tyre tread pattern design means that you do not always have to make a trade-off between performance versus noise and comfort.
Call your local branch FREE on 0800 432 0460 to ask one of National's expert tyre fitters for advice on low noise tyres for a quiet ride without sacrificing performance. Alternatively click here to search for tyres.
WET WEATHER TYRES
In the UK we experience varying extremes of weather, with high rainfall during previous summers and snow and slush in recent winters. For this reason, wet weather tyres, or rain tyres as they are sometimes called, are always in high demand. It's imperative for safety when driving that you have tyres which can perform in wet weather.
The new EU tyre regulationswill mean that all tyres must show an EU tyre label which includes a rating for 'wet grip' and braking performance in wet weather as part of the focus on promoting safer tyres. The tyre label will show tyres rated from A to G; with A having the shortest braking distances in wet weather and G having the longest wet weather braking distances.
But what does that mean? Well each rating can mean a difference of about 3-6 metres on the stopping distance when braking from a speed of 50mph in the wet. So the difference between category A and G tyres could mean it would take an extra 18 metres to stop. That's a lot if you need to stop in an emergency.
In our branches we are often asked about rain tyres or wet weather tyres that are specifically designed to perform well in wet weather conditions. The tyre tread compound can make a difference to performance in the wet. For example, tyres which contain a high silica or rubber content in their tread compound are found to have increased wet grip properties as well as better adhesion on icy roads.
Also the tread pattern design itself can make a big difference. Tyres with patterned grooves help to quickly displace water from the contact patch which in turn improves aquaplaning resistance as the tyres are more able to grip the road surface. Many of the designs feature special tread blocks, sipes and grooves to improve water displacement and provide greater adhesion to the road.
Call your local branch FREE on 0800 432 0460 to ask one of National's expert tyre fitters for advice on the best wet weather tyres to suit your driving style. Alternatively click here to search for tyres.
EU TYRE REGULATIONS AND FUEL EFFICIENCY
The new EU tyre regulations being introduced from November 2012 will mean that all tyres will have a label which contains a rating for fuel efficiency, wet grip and braking performance and also external noise levels.
From this time, all EU tyres must include this label by law so whichever tyre retailer you visit, the new EU tyre label will be prominently displayed on the tyre tread, and its ratings and what they mean should also be explained to you as a consumer.
Fuel efficiency is a very important factor when choosing a tyre – the more fuel efficient the more money you will save on fuel. We are often asked in our branches about fuel efficient tyres. Many premium brands have spent considerable time into research and development to produce the most fuel efficient tyres or 'energy saving tyres' as they are sometimes called, without sacrificing performance or tyre wear. But how can a tyre actually affect fuel efficiency?
Over 20% of a car's fuel consumption is linked to tyre rolling resistance. What is rolling resistance? Well in simple terms, rolling resistance is simply the energy lost from the friction of the tyre hitting the road. So the more rolling resistance a tyre has i.e. energy required to keep the car moving and overcoming the roll resistance, the more fuel required.
Therefore by choosing low rolling resistance tyres which require less energy and are more fuel efficient, you will use less fuel and save money.
You cannot eliminate rolling resistance altogether, but by choosing low roll resistance tyres you can improve your fuel efficiency. This is why the rating on the new EU tyre labels will help you to make the right choice for your driving requirements as the fuel efficiency and rolling resistance will be rated.
The new tyre regulations include a fuel efficiency/rolling resistance rating from A to G to help you see at a glance how economic the tyres are. A is the most fuel efficient and G is the least efficient. So if you do a lot of driving and fuel efficiency is important to you, then look for tyres rated A, B or C.
Call your local branch FREE on 0800 432 0460 to ask one of National's expert tyre fitters for advice on the best low roll resistance tyres to reduce your fuel bills. Alternatively click here to search for tyres.
TYRE LAWS AND EU TYRE REGULATIONS
Other than making sure that their tyres pass the annual MOT Test, many of our customers have said that they don't really know much about how to check their tyres are safe and legal or what the tyre laws actually are.
Well here are a few of the basics explaining current UK tyre law and also the importance of the new EU tyre regulations concerning tyre labelling which come into force in November 2012.
UK TYRE LAWS
UK tyre law requires that your tyres must be the correct type and size of tyre for the vehicle you are driving and that your tyres are generally in good condition. This refers to tyre tread depth which must be above the minimum legal limit which for passenger cars is 1.6 millimetres, throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the complete circumference of the tyre.
If tread depth is below the legal limit then you could face a £2500 fine plus three penalty points on your licence per tyre so it really pays to make sure your tread is up to scratch!
Tyre pressure is also covered by UK tyre law - tyres must also be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure. This can be found in the vehicle handbook, on your petrol cap or on the inside the driver's door.
Tyre pressure can be quickly checked and adjusted in any petrol station or at your local National branch as part of a free tyre safety inspection.
Having your tyres inflated to the correct pressure improves handling and increases tyre life and also fuel efficiency. Tyre pressure should be checked on a regular basis - at least once a month - and always before any long journeys when the tyres are cold, which means that they have not been run for at least two hours or have only travelled one or two miles at low speed e.g. in town.
EU TYRE LAWS AND REGULATIONS
New EU tyre regulations (EU tyre regs) now mean that all tyres in the UK and Europe must have a tyre label attached with information about the tyre's performance in three critical areas. These are: fuel efficiency and rolling resistance, braking distances and wet grip and finally, external noise levels.
Ideally you want a tyre which performs well in all three categories, but some factors may be more important to you than others. For example, if you do a lot of driving, fuel efficiency will be very important; if you live somewhere which gets a lot of rain then wet braking performance will be essential.
Call your local branch FREE on 0800 432 0460 to ask one of National's expert tyre fitters for advice on the EU tyre label and what tyre to choose to suit your driving style. Alternatively click here to search for tyres.