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What Do The New EU Tyre Labels Mean?

Bradley Jando | Friday 30th April 2021 11:13am

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From the 1st May 2021, tyres will begin being shipped with updated labels displaying different markings than what we’re used to. Information labels have been shipped with all new tyres since 2012 and look similar to the EU labels for household appliances – such as for energy efficiency with light bulbs or fridges.

Before we go through what the labels mean, we should look at why they’re being used.

What’s the purpose of the EU tyre labels?

Fundamentally, the project of labelling is an attempt to create transparency at every level of product buying. Every link in the product chain has an impact on our environment and people nearby - so being able to clearly see that a particular product uses more energy or has a particular environmental impact helps buyers make a more informed buying decision.

Similarly, labels need to display vital information about certain traits, benefits, or dangers of a product. If these are visible at a glance rather than in the small print of the product manual then it makes choosing the right product for your needs significantly easier.

Since they were introduced, the EU tyre labels have shown basic information about the tyres being sold. These things are:

  1. Rolling Resistance
  2. Wet Grip
  3. Exterior noise compliance indicator (with 1, 2, or 3 curves)
  4. Exterior noise decibel measurement
  5. Tyre Classification (C1, C2, or C3)

These make sense, but they also contain some odd quirks. The rolling resistance (which also means the tyre’s fuel efficiency), for example, skips category D for passenger cars – and having a wide band also means it’s much easier for things to be ‘ok’ in, say, category E where in reality it’s best avoided.

What are the EU tyre labels changing to?

While the label may look the same at first glance, there are several notable changes - particularly when it comes to how information is provided on the tyre label.

Rather than the relatively ambiguous information before, you’re now able to immediately see a supplier’s name, as well as different identifying information for the tyre. What’s more, the labels can be set up with QR codes to take people to specific web pages so that more information can be found.

The Rolling Resistance & Wet Grip ratings now show as a scale of A-E, with F & G being joined as E and D being used for passenger cars.

The Noise Rating has been condensed into a decibel and category (A, B, or C), and, importantly, some crucial traits of a tyre have been added. These are ‘Snow Grip’ and ‘Ice Grip’.

In the image to the right, the ‘Snow Grip’ is the symbol with the snowflake on it, while the ‘Ice Grip’ is the symbol of a mountain peak.

These are often traits that would be advertised with tyres, but this labelling helps to quickly display whether a tyre has a trait or not, as well as to standardise what each of the traits actually mean.

If a tyre doesn’t have either of these traits, the area of the label will appear as blank.

The QR code

QR codes have been used to encourage consumer behaviour for some time now – usually in the form of deeper engagement with brands through ‘unlocking’ videos and other media. Considering most modern smartphones are able to scan QR codes with just their cameras, the inclusion of QR codes for a functional product makes it much easier to see deep information on a product.

It’ll take a little time for manufacturers and suppliers to set up the QR codes, but it’s set for an exciting transition both for buyers and installers.

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