As of November 1, 2012, each and every tyre in the EU must be labelled with a performance-related grading label.
This means consumers will be more informed about the performance of their tyre in relation to fuel economy, safety and road noise.
Both fuel and wet braking performance will be graded on a scale of A-G, where A is the best performer and G is the worst. Most consumers look for a high graded wet performance in the interest of safety.
A car fitted with four A-graded tyres can save up to £110 (roughly 80litres) on fuel over the lifetime of the tyres. You will use 7.5% less fuel than a car fitted with four G-graded tyres.
A-graded tyres also perform much better when braking on a wet road. The further down the grades you go, the longer the braking distance is and G-graded tyres can take up to four car lengths longer than their top of the range counterparts when both are driving at 50mph.
Noise pollution is a big issue for new tyres and the new tyre labels have a 3-level rating. One black wave shows the tyre is at least 3 decibels below the legal limit. Two black waves show the tyre has an average noise level which matches the current legal limit or is below it by up to 3 decibels.
Three black waves show the tyre does not comply with the current noise limits and the tyres emit a loud road noise outside the car.
When you're looking for a new tyre it is critical to know what size your current tyre is so you can purchase the correct size and make the whole process so much easier.
Finding out the size of your tyre is simple:
Take the below image for example. It might look like a lot of irrelevant and confusing information but these numbers detail everything you need to know about your tyre size.
195 = width in mm
60 = profile in mm
R15 = rim diameter in inches
88 = maximum carrying load
H = speed rating
It is absolutely crucial that every driver knows the laws surrounding their tyre. If you happen to get pulled over by a police officer, you can accrue 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of up to £2,500 for each tyre that is illegal.
Each tyre’s tread depth should be 1.6mm at an absolute minimum across the central three quarters of the tread around the entire tyre circumference. Tyre manufacturers have started to implement tread depth warnings into their tyres, so whenever a piece of tread gets reduced to below the legal limit there is a coloured indicator on the tyre to inform you.
If you do not have an indicator on your tyres then a simple but effective way of monitoring your tread depth is by using the edge of a 20p coin to see if the tread is deeper than the edge. If it isn’t that deep in the middle of the tyre, the tyre is illegal.
Keeping track of your tread depth is vital, not only to keep you out of trouble with the law, but for safety too. If your tread gets to the legal limit it will take you 8m further to stop than it will with 3mm tread.
Correct tyre pressure is also a legal requirement.
Not only does having the correct air pressure in your tyre help improve braking and positioning performance and fuel consumption, but it can reduce the chance of aquaplaning and you won’t receive any fines or penalties.
It is recommended that your tyre’s air pressure is checked at least once a month and every time before embarking on a long road trip, because it will also help save you money.