Understanding tyre labels

Since 2012, all new tyres have required a set of EU tyre labels. These labels aim to help drivers choose the most fuel-efficient tyres for their vehicle, helping to lower fuel consumption and emissions. They also make it a lot simpler to compare tyres based on safety and performance, removing the tiresome trawl through endless online reviews.

The labels are similar to ones you’ll find on white goods in the kitchen. They follow the same format and use the same rating system to indicate performance. Tyres are labelled A-G across three key performance indicators; fuel efficiency, wet performance and road noise. 

If you’re looking for the road noise level of your fridge, we can’t really help you there. 

A tyre with an A-label is classed as the best and is colour coded dark green. A tyre labelled G is the worst and colour coded red. Let’s take a closer look at what these performance indicators mean for your car. 

Fuel efficiency

The more fuel efficient your tyres are, the less you need to be spending on fuel. 

A tyre that has an ‘A’ fuel efficiency rating can save you 80 litres of fuel over the lifetime of your tyres. Although there are other variables that can impact fuel efficiency, these performance ratings are proven, so it’s worth taking them into account. 

Wet performance

The wet performance of a car shows how well a tyre brakes in wet conditions. 

It’s important to choose a tyre with a strong wet performance, as driving with poorly rated tyres in bad weather conditions can be dangerous. 

The ratings are determined by stopping distances in wet conditions. Research has shown that driving with four ‘A’ rated tyres will allow you to stop four car lengths quicker than ‘G’ rated tyres. 

Noise ratings

Tyre manufacturers must now comply with regulations that aim to reduce noise pollution, with strict car noise limits now in place. 

On the tyre label, the car noise indicator is shown as sound waves on a scale of 1-3. 

If the label has a single soundwave, this means that the tyre noise level is 3dB better than the future noise limit. If there are two soundwaves, the tyres meet the future limit. If there are three soundwaves on the label, the tyre only just meets the current limit (so may need updating in the near future).

Now, you may think your tyres are incredibly quiet. But keep in mind, the noise you hear inside your car is not an indication of the noise your tyres make on the outside. 

For more information on tyres, check out our guide to understanding tyre sizes

Or, if you’re looking to find some new tyres for your car, motorbike or fridge (not that one), take a look here.