This month, motorists will benefit from the introduction of a new label and innovative system to help them understand how well tyres perform, especially for fuel efficiency and grip in the wet.

This follows concerns that vehicle owners are not aware of the significant differences between the highest and lowest rated tyres displayed on the outgoing label. According to a survey of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association and Lizeo Group, just 1% of tyres in the market are ‘A’ rated for both efficiency and wet grip.

While other factors influence the low number of the best performing tyres being sold, awareness of the ratings is a primary concern.

Previously, the label was fixed to each tyre. However, the customer visiting an outlet rarely saw it because the tyres were typically taken from the stock room and fitted straight to the vehicle while the customer waits in reception. If the label and the tyre options weren’t discussed before the customer made their selection, there’s a high probability they would have left without seeing a label at all.

Equally, retailers may not have had easy access on their computers to the labels to pass on this information.

The new digital solution addresses this issue. As of 1 May, tyre label ratings will be made available to retailers through their computers and they will be obliged to provide the information to customers. This information is drawn from a European database holding the ratings of every tyre on sale, which will be made accessible to the public.

Inevitably, there will be an ‘interim’ period before the old label completely disappears. All tyres in stockrooms will have the old label applied to them and until these have been sold and replaced customers may still see the old label.

In fact, customers are likely to see the new tyre labelling information digitally via the retailer or online.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe Chair, said: “The key point of tyre labelling is to help those choosing a tyre to make an informed decision. There is concern that owners typically only consider cost and don’t appreciate there may be tyres that are more suitable and offer better value but perhaps at a higher price. It’s in the interest of vehicle owners to make themselves aware of the information contained on the new tyre label to cut costs in fuel, as well as improve their safety.”

What’s the same as the previous tyre label?

- A tyre’s fuel efficiency, braking performance in the wet and the amount of road noise it generates remain the core information of the label;

- A rating is provided for each performance measure.

What’s different about the new tyre label?

- The number of ratings has dropped to five, in-line with other consumer products such as domestic appliances: ‘A’ being the best, ‘E’ being the worst;

- If the tyre is classified as suitable for use on snow, it will have the Alpine peaks symbol. A symbol for tyres classified as suitable for ice (known as ‘Nordic tyres’) is also available.