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UK Car Tyre Ratings Explained

One of the perennial difficulties faced by most of us when buying replacement car tyres has been the sheer lack of information that’s available to allow us to judge the best or most suitable tyre to meet our motoring needs.  Until recently, many tyre buyers simply accepted the tyre fitter’s recommendation, looked for the big brand names with which they were familiar or decided on the basis of price.  A pity, since none of these options is a particularly good way of judging the best tyre for you.

Since 2012, however, most new tyres are required to carry labelling detailing performance in three key areas:

  • Fuel efficiency;
  • Wet grip;
  • Noise.

If you’re buying your car tyres online, this gives you the information to compare the performance of different makes of tyre before you buy.  Let’s take a look at what this means for the UK car tyre buyer.

Fuel efficiency rating Fuel Efficiency

Using a similar format to the familiar electrical appliance energy efficiency rating, this is really a measure of the rolling resistance the tyre from “A” (the best) to “G” (the worst).  For car tyres, this difference can translate to up to 7.5% in terms of fuel consumption

Wet grip tyre rating Wet Grip

In five stages, rated from A-G (categories “D” and “G” are not used at present), this measure gives an indication of the impact on braking in the wet of the tyre under consideration.  In some ways, this is the flipside of the fuel efficiency rating, since less rolling resistance implies a greater stopping distance.  Again, the differences are significant.  The AA estimates around two car lengths between each grade and as much as 30% overall from best to worst.

Noise Noise

Here, the rating shows the external tyre road noise measured in decibels (dB).  Around 72dB is an OK-ish figure.  The label also shows a graphic of 1, 2 or 3 black “sound waves”.  One “wave” indicates that the tyre is 3 dB or more quieter than the proposed EU standard (which comes into force from 2016), two “waves” shows the tyre meets the proposed standard while three “waves” shows that the tyre only just meets the current standard.  

When buying car tyres online from suppliers like Avatyre, these ratings give you a good indication of how different tyres will perform.  You might also be surprised that many of the really well-known brands fare less well than some of the up-and-coming new market entrants.  No names – but just check our All Season Car Tyres page if you don’t believe me!  It’s also worth bearing in mind that these figures are for new, correctly inflated tyres.  Tyre wear and tyre care can have a big difference on all three criteria – in some cases the effect can be greater than the grade differences on the label, so it does pay to ensure that you look after your tyres.

Buying car tyres online from Avatyre allows you to make an informed choice about the tyre that best suits you and your car.  With great online prices, it’s a much better alternative than taking the tyre fitter’s word for it.