Tyre labels: what do they mean?

Written by Summit Tyres June 2019


A chart to explain EU Tyre Labelling

Every tyre that you buy here in the UK will have a tyre label. This tyre label came into force in November 2012 as the EU aimed to help motorists pick the best tyres for them, whether this is based on fuel efficiency, wet performance or road noise.

You will most likely recognise the labels. This kind of label will also feature on any white goods that you buy. Just like with your fridge-freezer or washing machine, you’re your tyres are also labelled from A-G, A being the best, coloured in green, and G being the worst, coloured in red.

But the best and worst of what? Your tyres are labelled A-G across two factors; fuel efficiency and wet performance. As well as these two performance indicators, your tyres will also have a road noise rating which is measured in dBs.

Why are tyre labels important?

If you care about your fuel consumption and efficiency, then these labels help you to decide which tyres are the most efficient, safest in wet weather and quieter on the roads. Looking for the perfect tyre for your car used to be a difficult process, but with EU tyre labels you will no longer have to search through reviews to look for the performance that you need.

Fuel efficiency

Your tyre’s fuel efficiency is rated from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Having fuel efficient tyres for your car will help with your overall fuel consumption. However, there are other ways that you can help to be more fuel efficient if, for whatever reason, you choose not have grade A fuel efficient tyres.

These methods include:

  • Properly inflate your car tyres to the correct tyre pressure
  • Do not exceed the load rating of your tyres
  • Drive sensibly and at constant speed limits as much as possible

According to the EU impact assessment[1] on EU tyre labelling, using A-rated tyres can save you more than £225[2] in fuel over the life of your tyres!

Wet grip performance

As with the Fuel Efficiency rating, Wet Grip Performance is also graded from A to G. The ratings are based on stopping distances in wet conditions.

Wet Grip Performance is your tyre’s ability to adhere to wet conditions when driving. This is crucial for a safe journey in the rain or snow; choosing a tyre with a G rated tyre may affect your driving if you drive in poor weather more often than not.

The better the Wet Grip grade, the shorter the stopping distance is in wet conditions. However, there are many other elements to driving that can affect your stopping distance, so always be on full alert when driving in case you need to make an emergency brake.

Noise ratings

If there were no regulations on noise made by our tyres, then our towns and cities would be unbearably loud! The EU regulation of noise ensures that tyre manufacturers must adhere to stringent car noise limits. On your tyre label, you will see a speaker icon with noise waves along with a number and the letters dB next to it. This informs you of how noisy your tyres are.

With the aim to improve the future noise limit, your tyre’s noise rating is based on whether they are fit for future use. If your tyre label has three black sound waves, this means that the tyre only just meets with the current noise regulation limit. If there are two black sound waves this shows that the tyre meets the future noise regulation limit.  If there is a single black sound wave this means that the tyre is at least 3dB better than the future noise limit.

You may think that your car is very noisy or very quiet based on the noise that you hear when you are inside your car driving it. However, this is not related your tyre noise levels!

There are many aspects of your tyres that are important to understand if you are deciding to choose new tyres. For everything you need to know, visit our help and advice page.

summit tyres logo

[1] Tyres Energy Labelling, European Commission

[2] Based on an average consumption of 8 litres/100km, a fuel price of 1.50euros/litre, and average tyre mileage of 35,000km and a yearly mileage of 14,000km.