A quick guide to Original Equipment

Bradley Jando | Monday 22nd February 2021 4:00pm

tyres on rack

All new vehicles roll off the production line on a brand new set of tyres. But since vehicle manufacturers do not produce their own tyres, they team up with the world’s leading tyre manufacturers and select tyres that are perfectly suited to the vehicle they are being fitted to. Such tyres are known as Original Equipment (OE) and it can take years to develop a tyre to meet the exacting requirements of the vehicle manufacturer.

What is Original Equipment?

Original Equipment refers to any vehicle component that is selected by the vehicle manufacturer to be fitted to the vehicle as standard. The term is not only used in reference to tyres; manufacturers of batteries, exhausts, and other components can also be selected as original equipment by the vehicle manufacturer.

As you can imagine, it is one of the highest accolades for a tyre to be selected as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) – recommendations for a tyre product don’t come any bigger than this. After all, if the world’s top car manufacturers place their trust in a particular tyre, it means you can too when the time comes to replace those tyres. That’s why tyre producers work closely with car manufacturers, from initial scope and hypothesis, to extensive product testing to ensure the tyre is ideally suited to the vehicle it is being fitted to.

Rigorous Tests

Vehicle manufacturers put tyres through a series of stringent tests to ensure that they conform to the highest possible quality standards. Every element of the tyre’s capabilities is evaluated – including handling, braking, comfort, fuel consumption, safety, and noise levels, to name but a few.

Tyres are also tested in a number of different weather conditions and surfaces. To put this into perspective the EU Tyre Label, which can be found on all new tyres and is an influential factor for many customers when deciding to buy a particular tyre, only tests three criteria (fuel efficiency, wet grip, and external rolling noise). Vehicle manufacturers, on the other hand, carry out over 100 different tests to find the best tyres. In total, it can take up to three years to develop a new tyre for use as Original Equipment.

No Ordinary Tyres

In some cases, particularly when designing high performance vehicles and sports cars, manufacturers have particularly demanding requirements and so OEMs design and optimise tyres specifically for that vehicle model.

Using these tyres ensures the vehicle drives and performs exactly as the manufacturer intended – which is why manufacturers recommend that only OE approved tyres are used when replacing worn tyres. They may look like regular tyres but there is one key difference that will help you to tell if an OE tyre has been specifically designed for your vehicle.

Sidewall Markings

Many of the world’s top car manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have designated marks that are used on the tyre sidewall to indicate that the tyre meets the manufacturer’s standards and has been given OE status. The same letters and symbols are used by all tyre manufacturers to show that the tyre has been specifically designed for that vehicle.

Audi homologated tyre marking

Manufacturer: Audi
Marking: R01 or A0

BMW homologated tyre marking

Manufacturer: BMW
Marking: Star

Mercedes homologated tyre marking

Manufacturer: Mercedes
Marking: M0

Common Original Equipment Tyre Markings

The table below includes a list of some of the most common homologated tyre markings and the vehicles they are designed for. This list is not exhaustive and there are many more homologation marks in use. A wide range of original equipment tyres are available at Kwik Fit. Look out for the homologation marking shown in the attributes of tyres that are intended for use with a particularly vehicle make or model. 

Manufacturer Symbol
Alfa Romeo AR, ARR, AZ
Audi AO
Bentley B, B1
BMW & Mini (Star)
BMW Electric & Nio I
Ford FO
Jaguar J
Land Rover LR, LRO
Mercedes MO
Mercedes (AMG) MO1
Mercedes Runflat MOE
Porsche N0, N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6
Tesla T0
Toyota TO, MZ
Volkswagen (Plus), VO, G

Trust your local Kwik Fit

For all their bells and whistles, modern cars are still kept on the road because of their tyres. So when it comes to your safety, and that of your passengers, trust your local Kwik Fit garage for tyre fitting – with a variety of options to suit your budget.

Tags : Tips Tyres

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

registration plate

Please enter your postcode to see availability information from your local Kwik Fit centre.

Exclusive Online Pricing

We are committed to offering customers our most competitive prices on tyres and more. Read about our exclusive online pricing.

Locate A Centre

Kwik Fit has over 600 centres across the UK including Northern Ireland, many of which are open 7 days a week for your convenience.


We offer a series of FAQs to help you learn more about our services or your vehicle.

Customer Care

0800 75 76 77
You can reach our customer care team 6 days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm on Monday and Thursday, 8:30am to 6:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Saturday, and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Bank Holidays.