With research showing that up to 7 out of 10 motorists have never used a performance label to help them choose a tyre, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have issued a joint appeal urging motorists to check the mandatory labels before purchasing new tyres.
Over half of those surveyed admitted that they weren’t even aware that most tyres have performance labels.
Tyre labels measure three important criteria relating to a tyre’s performance, namely wet grip braking performance, fuel efficiency, and the level of external noise the tyre produces. Wet grip and fuel efficiency measurements are provided on an A-G rating, with A being the highest performance rating and G being the lowest.
From a road safety point of view, wet grip is one of the most important performance characteristics of a tyre as it improves a vehicle’s ability to brake on wet roads. Research has shown that a tyre with a wet grip rating of F will need an extra 18 metres to stop in wet conditions when compared to an A rated tyre. That’s equivalent to the length of roughly four cars.
Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive Officer, Road Safety Authority, said: “EU law requires that all new tyres have performance labels to help consumers choose a good quality tyre that’s safe and minimises fuel consumption. Tyre retailers are also legally obliged to show or inform buyers about the information on the tyre’s label before the sale takes place and state the label values on or with the bill afterwards.”
Ms Murdock continued: “We wouldn’t choose a new cooker or washing machine without checking its quality and energy rating. So why should a tyre be any different? And if you choose a poor quality tyre because it’s cheaper, that’s ultimately the value you’re placing on your family’s life because a tyre is the only contact your car has with the road. We are advising motorists to always ask the retailer to show and explain a tyre’s performance label and choose a rating as close to A as possible”.
Mr Jim Gannon, Chief Executive Officer of SEAI which has the responsibility for market surveillance of tyre labelling compliance, added: “Although safety is obviously the primary concern from a performance perspective, a tyre with a higher fuel efficiency rating will save motorists money on fuel consumption and help the environment. A car fitted with four tyres rated A for fuel efficiency will use almost 8% less fuel than a car fitted with G rated tyres. We want motorists to ensure they’re informed before making tyre purchase decisions.“
Tyre labelling laws only apply to new tyres being sold for cars, vans, trailers and trucks. They do not cover re-treaded tyres; professional off-road tyres (e.g. tyres used only for racing), temporary-use spare tyres; studded tyres; tyres whose speed rating is less than 80 km/h, or vintage car tyres.