The tyre industry has started to roll out its customer information programme after it has now started to label each of the 35 million tyres sold each year in the UK to explain fuel efficiency, safety and external noise levels.
From November 1 it will become a legal requirement for tyre retailers to display the new label on all replacement tyres, but labels will start appearing in shops and dealerships from this week.
Fuel efficiency (rolling resistance) and safety (wet grip) will be categorised using a seven grade ranking scale, similar to the new car CO2 or fridge efficiency labels.
A top-ranked A-grade tyre could out-perform the lowest-ranked G-grade tyre by 30% for safety and 7.5% for fuel efficiency. This translates to a vehicle stopping three to four car lengths shorter from 50mph and a fuel cost saving of around £100 every year for the average motorist. The information could help dealers when explaining the costs involved in choosing or fitting tyres that are more expensive.
Paul Everitt, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, said: “There are more than 150 million tyres currently on UK roads, so any information to help motorists understand crucial safety and performance characteristics is valuable, particularly given the safety improvements and fuel efficiency savings that can be gained from choosing the right tyre.
“Before this tyre label, customers only had price and brand to distinguish between more than 300 different types of tyres; now motorists have a set of comparable factors to make buying decisions easier.”
Franchised dealers and garages subscribed to the OFT-backed Motor Codes garage scheme have been briefed with the latest information to provide advice to motorists on the new tyre labelling legislation.
Tyre manufacturer Continental said: “Continental considers the tyre label to be a real breakthrough in providing standard performance data to motorists in the interest of improving road safety by providing information on wet grip, and for the environment with the classifications for noise and rolling resistance.
“However, the EU label only shows three of more than 14 important tyre performance criteria. Tyre tests from magazines will continue to be the most comprehensive source of information for motorists because they provide complete and independent reports covering nearly all criteria for the most popular tyre sizes.”