Bradley Jando | Thursday 11th November 2021 11:18am
If you’ve ever been by a busy road, you may have noticed that different car tyres produce different levels of noise.
In fact, even the same tyre in different conditions can create different noises. And sometimes, noises from your tyres might indicate a problem. For example, if your tyres suddenly start making a thundering or thumping noise, it’s likely that they have taken some structural damage and you need to pull over.
Other noises, like squeaking, might simply indicate that you are taking corners too fast – in which case, the problem may be in your driving style.
But it’s also true that, at base level, different tyres from different manufacturers can vary in loudness.
EU Tyre Labelling
If you want to find out how loud the tyres you want to purchase are, you should look for the EU tyre label. It looks like this:
The New 2021 EU Tyre Label
Three key areas of tyre performance are assessed and the results are displayed on every tyre you buy. Tyres are assessed on:
Exterior noise levels are measured and shown in decibels, alongside a rating of A-C – with A being the best (quietest) and C the worst (loudest). A rating of C meets the current legal limit, B meets future laws, and A is another 3dbs below that.
It’s important to keep in mind that the noise measured is strictly external, and not the sound the driver will experience sitting in the cabin. But, as a general rule of thumb, a tyre with a quieter external noise rating will also tend to be quieter inside the cabin.
Now you know how to find out a tyre’s external noise, what are some quiet tyres that make the cut?
Pirelli Noise Cancelling Tyres
It’s in the name! Pirelli originally designed these tyres for the Audi Group with noise in mind - and they’ve since expanded the collection to fit a range of cars and sizes.
While we mentioned earlier that with EU tyre labelling, noise measured is strictly external, tyres with the Pirelli Noise Cancelling System meet the mark internally as well.
As well as being graded an A externally, noise in the cabin is also dampened through an innovative technology that reduces the vibrations that go through the steering wheel and into the cabin.
Hankook’s Ventus range features a noise-absorbing polyurethane foam inlay sheet on the inside of the tyre that significantly reduces interior noise. It’s also rated A for exterior noise, making this tyre perfect for a quiet drive.
Similarly, Continental’s ContiSilent uses a foam inlay that’s able to reduce tyre noise by up to 9dB. This may not seem like much but the decibel system is exponential, which means that every 10dB louder is heard as a doubling in volume. Conversely, Continental’s reduction of 9dB means it almost halves the internal tyre noise.
What makes a tyre quiet?
But, other than added dampeners, what exactly makes a tyre quiet?
Well, the rubber itself has a huge contribution to how loud a tyre gets because it’s the friction between the road and the tyre that causes the sound.
Summer tyres are made with harder rubber so that it doesn’t get too soft when it warms up. Because they’re harder, there’s less friction with the road (less ‘rolling resistance’) which means that they’re more fuel efficient and quieter.
Conversely with winter tyres, the rubber is made to be much softer so that they don’t get too rigid and crack in cold temperatures. As a result of this softness, however, they make more contact with the ground as they conform to the shape of the road. An unwanted byproduct is that as you get more friction, you get more noise. But there’s no compromising safety, and this is something you actually want in wet weather: the more contact with the ground, the better!
Need help choosing tyres?
If you need help choosing tyres, get in touch with your local Kwik Fit centre. Our experts are always on hand to help out!
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