Fast Ford - - All About… Tyres -

Since late 2012 all new tyres have to con­form to a EU-ap­proved la­belling sys­tem. This info is dis­played us­ing the same easy-to-un­der­stand la­belling sys­tem as used for white goods, where the tyres are graded on wet weather per­for­mance, fuel ef­fi­ciency, and road noise. This does make it easy to com­pare tyres on a like-for-like ba­sis, but there are a few things to con­sider:


It’s la­belled as fuel ef­fi­ciency to sound catchy for gen­eral mo­torists and is part of the EU’s drive to­wards low­er­ing ve­hi­cle emis­sions, but what the tyre is ac­tu­ally tested for is its rolling re­sis­tance. This is the amount of en­ergy it takes to keep the tyre rolling. Yes, a higher rolling re­sis­tance will cause the car to burn more fuel, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing in terms of per­for­mance as it of­ten means the tyre has more grip!

The EU grades range from A to G ( with no D rat­ing to help dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the higher A- C grades, and the lower E- G grades) with A be­ing the best per­former and G be­ing the worst per­former.


The wet weather la­bel is prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant one for ev­ery­day mo­torists to look at, show­ing the tyre’s per­for­mance in wet and slip­pery con­di­tions. The test in­volves driv­ing a car along a wet road at 50mph and mea­sur­ing the brak­ing dis­tance to come to a com­plete stop. The dif­fer­ence be­tween each rat­ing is around 3m stop­ping dis­tance, mean­ing that there’s a huge 18m dif­fer­ence be­tween the best A grade and worst G grade tyres!


Noise pol­lu­tion is a hot topic th­ese days, so to keep an eye on things all tyres are now tested for noise lev­els and marked ac­cord­ingly. The la­bel shows this as a deci­bel fig­ure in­di­cat­ing how loud the tyre is. But there’s a sec­ond bit of in­for­ma­tion to be found in the num­ber of sound bars next to the dB fig­ure: one black bar (two empty) shows the tyre meets cur­rent leg­is­la­tion; two black bars ( one empty) shows the tyre meets fu­ture noise lim­its; and three black bars means the tyre is at least 3dB un­der the fu­ture noise lim­its.

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