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New Tyre Labelling for November 2012
A new European tyre labelling system comes into force this November, as manufacturers are required to give consumers information about the Wet Grip, Fuel Efficiency and Exterior Noise of every tyre they sell.
As you can see from the example above, the new tyre labels work in a similar manner to the labels already found on electrical goods such as fridges and washing machines – and the efficiency ratings you’ll now find on new cars in dealer showrooms.
Wet Grip is rated from A to F, Fuel Efficiency is rated from A to G, while noise levels are measured in decibels. A is always the best – so maximum grip or greatest efficiency – and the lower the decibel rating, the quieter the tyre should sound when you’re driving.
According to Andy Dingley, Communications Manager for Bridgestone Europe, North Region, the difference between an A and an F Wet Grip rating can mean as much as 18 metres when stopping from 50mph in a typical passenger vehicle.
That’s four car lengths – though as with all such things, this does depend on the exact conditions and vehicle involved.
As for Fuel Efficiency, Dingley explains this is all to do with rolling resistance, which is in turn dictated by how much a tyre deforms or changes shape as it rolls along.
Again, it depends on the exact vehicle and the conditions, but a G rated tyre may use as much as 7.5 per cent more fuel than an A rated tyre, for example.
The trade-off here is likely to be a less comfortable ride, however; the less a tyre deforms the more efficient it is, but for the exact same reason it will also be less able to absorb bumpy road surfaces.
The tyre noise rating is fairly self-explanatory – the quieter a tyre the more pleasant for everybody inside and outside of the vehicle.
But in addition to the basic decibel rating, the noise levels will be broken into three categories on the tyre label, indicated by bars like a computer volume icon. These show the level of compliance with current and future European requirements.
The image above is of an example label, giving you an idea what to look out for come November. The exact tyre that’s right for you may not be the most efficient, or the quietest – but at least there’s soon to be an easy way to see what you’re getting for your money.
Dingley also says tyre fitters will be fully trained to help people understand the new labelling system in order to assist consumers in making the right choice.
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