When drivers are purchasing new tyres, they often face a real research marathon. Car magazines are browsed through and masses of test results are clicked through online. Customers are always looking for a tyre that promises the best performance or the best price/performance ratio. The European Commission's "EU tyre label" should bring greater transparency to the tyre market and make tyres comparable. This is basically a good idea. But since the start of 2012, critics had been voicing concerns that the label had not been fully thought through. The EU tyre label was updated on 1 May 2021.
Since 2012, the EU tyre label has been mandatory for new passenger car tyres and tyres for light commercial vehicles. The tyres must be equipped with an identification in the form of the tyre label. This label informs consumers of three parameters prior to purchase: Rolling resistance, wet grip class and external rolling noise. A classification from the best (green category A) to the poorest performance (red category "G") was used for this. The goal was to enable tyre purchasers to identify at a glance how well tyres perform in the three categories. The specifications for the tyre marking have now changed.
Identification of the tyres in more detail and clearer
The aim was to make the marking of the tyres even more detailed, but also clearer. The label itself continues to be similar to the familiar EU energy label. The EU tyre label also provides information on the three criteria of rolling properties, wet braking properties and rolling noise.
But the classification has been simplified with regard to rolling and wet braking properties. Here, the levels have been reduced from the previous seven levels to just five (A to E). The noise emissions figures have also changed. Although the decibel value is still specified here, a classification in A, B and C has been added: A low noise level is classified with A, a high level is classified with C.
Completely new features include pictograms, indicating whether it is a winter tyre with tested snow grip according to EU type approval (3PMSF/snow flake symbol) or a tyre with special grip on ice according to a new ISO standard. Via a QR code in the top right corner, dealers and drivers can download additional information from a central product database ("EPREL" database).
The points of criticism remain: The EU tyre label continues to provide information on performance in just three categories. Many other performance factors are still ignored. Dry grip for example, despite the fact that - even in Germany - passenger cars are mainly used in dry conditions.
Another point of criticism: "The tests that lead to classification are carried out by the tyre industry according to precisely defined processes", the ADAC states. "So the manufacturers classify their own products."