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Buying Guide

Behind the new tyre labels: who grades the tyres and how?

Michelin 31 May 2012

Tyre Labelling

At a glance, it will grade tyres on fuel efficiency, wet grip, and external noise level. So from 1 November 2012, we will have a new way to compare tyres when we shop around.


But who grades the tyres, and how?
The new legislation on tyre labelling has 3 aims: to improve road safety, to reduce fuel consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions, and to reduce noise levels of traffic.

Grading to a common standard
Across Europe, each manufacturer or importer has the responsibility of grading his own tyres according to a strict testing system. This self-certification aims to provide consistent, reliable grading so, as consumers, we should be able to confidently compare different tyres and brands. Each European member state is committed to ensure the testing system is respected.

How to measure fuel economy?

Image: Fuel focusWhen your tyres roll along the road, there is a degree of resistance, which has an impact on how much fuel you use. In other words, rolling resistance is the energy your tyres consume over any distance travelled. If your tyres have a LOW rolling resistance, they will give you BETTER fuel efficiency.

The test: the tyre is tested on a rolling surface under Image: Measure Fuel Economystandardised conditions to represent average usage. The test simulates driving at 80 km/h (50 mph) with a load equivalent to 80% of the tyre’s load index.

Take the tyre label guided tour...

How to measure braking on wet roads?

Image: Braking label focusThis test is done with a vehicle under standardised conditions defined by law: namely,
temperature, state of road surface, water depth, and speed.

The conditions of the tests, according to European legislation, are:

  • Winter tyres tested between 2° and 20°C
  • Summer tyres tested between 5° and 35°C
  • Water depth between 0.5 and 1.5 mm
  • Braking performed on 4 tyres with ABS between 80 and 20 km/h (approx. between 50 and 12 mph)

How Michelin tests: we have chosen to perform tests under conditions that are as close as Image: measuring braking on wet roadspossible to true European, driving conditions. This means:

In an on-going bid to be as close as possible to the needs of its customers, Michelin will conduct all of its braking tests on wet roads at the most representative temperatures for typical European usage of its products.

  • Approximately 20°C for passenger car tyres
  • Approximately 7°C for passenger car and van winter tyres
  • Between 7°C and 25°C truck tyres (generally used in summer and winter conditions)

Since it isn’t possible to test every tyre in the market in identical conditions, all tests are carried out beside a “reference” tyre. In this way, the grade awarded to each tyre is always tested under the same conditions.

Take the tyre label guided tour...





How to measure external tyre noise?

Image: Noise label
For external noise level, a tyre’s performance is measured in decibels (dB).

The test: a microphone is placed at the edge of a track to measure the sound level as the test vehicle passes at 80 km/h (50 mph).

External noise is measured in standard conditions (track, speed, temperature).

Take the tyre label guided tour...

What else matters when choosing tyres?

Labelling is a good start, but 3 other performance factors are just as important for you:

Image: Tyre and Tyre Label


Tyre longevity:
a longer-lasting tyre can cost you less in the long run. The right tyre could give you more than a year of extra driving compared to another tyre.

Road handling performance: 25% of accidents2 are on bends.

Dry braking performance: 70% of accidents2 occur on dry roads.

Guess who makes tyres with all the performance that counts…

For over 120 years, our engineers have pioneered and perfected tyres that deliver on these important performance factors, as well as the 3 factors listed on the new labels. With Michelin, you can enjoy an excellent balance of performance– without compromise.

Discover how performance adds up with Michelin




1Performance measured in accordance with the testing methods set by Regulation CE 1222/2009. European Commission’s Impact Assessment SEC (2008) 2860.

2 Verkehrsunfallforschung (VUFO) and Technical University of Dresden: 10,000 accidents analysed over 10 years.

See European new legislation


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