Learn to read the tire label correctly

Despite being around us for some time, the European tire label remains unknown to many drivers. However, knowing it is essential, given the importance that this information has for the consumption and safety of our vehicle.


In 2012, the European Union established an obligation for tire distributors and manufacturers to include labels on their products that include the efficiency parameters of their products. A labeling that is also serving to eliminate the less efficient tires from the market, as shown by the fact that in 2014 the distribution and sale of tires with the worst ratings according to this standard were prohibited.

However, despite the time that has elapsed, there are still many drivers who do not know what these labels mean and what information they provide us when it comes to finding the best tires for our vehicle. So so that you are informed, we are going to explain to you what data this label offers us. A label that, currently, must be attached to any tire that we find in the market, as well as being available if we buy tires online.


How is the label

The tire label has a certain resemblance to the label that accompanies the electrical appliances that we see in any store today. Specifically, in it we find three different parameters such as efficiency in fuel consumption, efficiency when braking in the wet and the level of noise or noise from the tire. Each of these parameters is measured using different scales, which we analyze in detail below.




Consumption efficiency

The first parameter that we find on the label is the fuel efficiency of the tire, located in the upper left part of the label. This parameter is measured using a scale very similar to that of household appliances, ranging from the letter A (the most efficient) to the letter G (the least efficient). However, currently only tires with A to E grades can be sold in the EU, with F and G tires prohibited.

The fuel measurement is based on two parameters such as rolling resistance and tire deformation, which shows us a loss of energy in the use of the tire. Therefore, the greater this deformation and the more resistance to rolling the tire offers, the greater the fuel consumption of the tire. As a reference, the use of class A tires represents an estimated saving of about 240 euros in fuel compared to the use of class E tires throughout the life of said tire. Something that also influences the fuel emissions generated by the tire in use, which are also lower if the tire is more efficient.


Efficiency in braking

Another important aspect of tires, which demonstrates their safety, is their braking ability in wet conditions. This situation is one of the most risky while driving, since braking in the wet implies a greater sliding on the road than it would in dry conditions, also having the risk of losing control if hydroplaning occurs.

This parameter is also measured with the already commented alphabetical scale, from A to F, although with the exception that D is not used in passenger tires, being reserved for industrial vehicles. To evaluate the efficiency of the tire with respect to this parameter, the braking distance of a vehicle equipped with the corresponding tires that circulates at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour and that brakes in the wet is measured.

In this case, if the distance is 38 meters or less, the tire receives an A grade. From here, each letter represents an increase of 4.5 meters in that distance. Thus, class B tires brake at 42.5 meters, while class E tires would brake at 51.5 meters. Regarding the difference, a class F tire, the worst for passenger cars, would brake 18 meters more ahead than a vehicle with class A tires would. A distance that can mean the difference between safe braking and an accident.




Tire noise level

The third parameter that these labels evaluate has to do with the level of noise generated by the tires during taxiing. An aspect that influences both the external noise pollution generated by the tires and the noise level perceived by the driver when driving.

This parameter is measured directly in the laboratory and expresses the result of said measurement in decibels. Regarding the symbol that accompanies this value, it indicates the difference with respect to the limit value allowed for the corresponding type of tire. In the event that the noise generated is equal to or less than 3 decibels than this limit value, the icon shows us two waves on the tire. In the event that the noise generated is less than 3 decibels than the mentioned limit, the icon shows a single wave. Finally, if the noise is higher than the set limit, then the icon shows three waves.

It is important to know that the European Union already has a project to ban three-wave tires, for not complying with the corresponding limits in terms of noise generation established by current legislation. However, as with the more fuel efficient tires, this will take time, as well as its corresponding moratorium, so these louder tires will still be with us for a few more years.



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