New EU label simplifies winter tyre choice

4th December 2019
Alex Lynn

The renewal of the EU tyre label is especially useful for winter tyre consumers, as the tyre label will now include information concerning grip on snow and ice. So far, markings related to properties required in demanding winter weather have been absent. The purpose of the tyre label is to guide consumers toward tyres that are more fuel-efficient, safer, and quieter. The new label will enter into force in May 2021. 

Up until now, drivers have had no way of distinguishing between winter tyres designed for different conditions. The European Union has now agreed that the labels indicating energy consumption and characteristics will be updated. The new labels make it easier to compare tyre models and help online shoppers.

According to the earlier regulation, all passenger car and van tyres must have a sticker that indicates the tyre's wet grip, rolling noise, and impact on fuel consumption. No stickers have been required for truck tyres, but the information must have been available. In Central Europe, wet and snow grip are crucial for winter driving safety, while in the Nordics ice grip is more important. So far, no requirement for a label indicating these two has existed. 

“Earlier, the information on the tyre label was misleading to Nordic winter tyre customers, whereas in Central Europe the dilemma was not so grave. The new ice grip marking will distinguish tyres that are suitable for Nordic countries from other winter tyres. The snow grip marking will be allowed to tyres with snow performance high enough for Central European winter,” said Jarmo Sunnari, Manager of Standards, Regulations and Approvals for Nokian Tyres. 

Winters are mostly wet in Central Europe, which makes wet grip the primary concern. Occasional snow grip is important too. However, Nordic winter tyres are especially designed for ice.

“The largest problem so far has been that not all tyres marketed as winter tyres are suitable for all winter conditions. Tyres designed for Central European winter are completely different from Nordic winter tyres. Wet grip and ice grip are mutually exclusive characteristics; the consumer may end up purchasing the wrong tyres if the information on the label is not right,” added Sunnari.

The ice grip marking will initially only be used for passenger car tyres, whereas the snow grip marking is available also for minivans, light truck, truck and bus tyres. The markings are based on international standards and regulations. Ice grip test is currently undergoing standardisation at the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and snow grip is referring to the United Nations ECE regulations. 

Nokian Tyres has been actively working with Nordic authorities and decision-makers in order to update the markings.

What is this about?

  • Passenger car and van tyres have the EU tyre label that indicates the tyre's wet grip, rolling noise, and impact on fuel consumption.
  • An update of the EU tyre label will add information on ice and snow grip.
  • The new labels make it easier to compare tyre models and help online shoppers.
  • The new regulation does not apply to studded tyres.
  • The new labels will be in use starting on May 1st, 2021.

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