The tyre label
From 1 November 2012, new car tyres must carry a tyre label. This is determined by European regulations in the European Tyre Labelling Regulation (no. 1222/2009) and applies to passenger car tyres (C1), van tyres (C2) and commercial vehicle tyres (C3), with a number of exceptions.
The aim of this labelling is to increase the economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting safe, energy-efficient and low-noise tyres.
The compulsory tyre label must be displayed on the tyre or at the points of sale of all C1, C2 and C3 tyres produced from 1 July 2012 (DOT 2712). The label shows the extent to which the tyre is economical, environmentally friendly and safe. You can therefore use this information when choosing tyres.
However, only 3 performance criteria are mentioned on the label while there are 50 performance criteria to assess the quality of a tyre. Examples are: wear resistance (mileage), braking on dry road surfaces, braking on snow, braking on ice, noise production in the vehicle, handling and aquaplaning.
The three performance criteria on the label
The tyre label gives a value (class) for the following three criteria:
7 classes from G (least economical) to A (most economical). The fuel consumption of a vehicle depends on factors such as engine type, speed, type of road surface, weather conditions, etc. Tyre rolling resistance is responsible for approximately 20% of fuel consumption. Less fuel consumption means lower fuel costs and less CO2 emissions. The difference between class A and class G can be up to 7.5% for passenger cars (C1) and up to 15% for commercial vehicle tyres (C3).
7 classes from A (the shortest braking distance) to G (the longest braking distance). A tyre’s grip on wet roads can vary depending on the vehicle type, weather conditions and tread. Good grip is important when it comes to safety. The braking distance of a class A tyre will in practice be approximately 18 metres (30%) shorter than a class F tyre if maximum braking is applied.
EXTERNAL SOUND (Rolling noise emission)
3 classes of external rolling sound level.
By external rolling noise we mean the traffic noise caused by the tyre. In addition to the noise level in decibels (dB), the pictogram also indicates noise level 1, 2 or 3: Level 1 – lower than the current maximum permitted value but still above the future European standard; Level 2 – between the future limit and less than 3 dB below it; Level 3 – more than 3 dB below the future limit.
Incidentally, there is no connection between external and internal rolling noise levels.
Referring to the aforementioned European Regulation 1222/2009, we emphasize that in the first place the driver’s behaviour determines fuel consumption and road safety, and in particular that:
- Ecologically responsible driving can significantly reduce fuel consumption;
- Tyre pressure should be checked regularly to optimise wet grip and fuel efficiency;
- Braking distances must always be strictly adhered to.
Useful to know when making your tyre choice:
Because the tyre label only gives a value on three performance criteria, it can happen that a tyre with good label values comes out less well in one of the published tests by ANWB, the Consumers’ Association, etc. Or vice versa. One reason for this is that these organisations take many more criteria into account when assessing a tyre. Examples include: wear resistance (mileage), braking on dry road surfaces, braking on snow, braking on ice, noise production in the vehicle, handling and aquaplaning.
Interpretation of the tyre label for winter tyres
With the label of winter tyres there is something to take into account. If you look at the label values, it is possible that they appear to be less ‘good’ than for summer tyres. Is that why winter tyres are not good tyres? Of course they are. Winter tyres perform better than summer tyres at temperatures below +7°C. This is partly due to the difference in rubber composition and pattern.
Winter tyres are tested for the label values under virtually the same conditions as summer tyres. This is how the European Parliament decided. If a winter tyre were tested for grip on a cold road surface (below +7°C) or on snow or ice, the test would be much better. So for winter tyres you can compare the label values, but not with summer tyres. (Source: VACO Winter Special 2012).
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