Way back in 2017 (back when life was ‘normal’!), we wrote a post about the labelling system on UK tyres. Based on a then-recent poll, we pointed out that only one in six people had even heard of the labelling system, let alone used to help them choose the right tyre for their needs.
So, if you’re not familiar with the labelling you can see on the image above (taken from our current selection of tyres), you’re not alone.
That’s a shame, because the label can give you some pretty useful information when you’re buying. Want a tyre that’s great on fuel economy? Then look at the A-G rating next to the petrol pump icon. Is road noise is a big deal for you? Just check the tyre’s decibel rating.
Why don’t drivers use labelling information?
Why most people don’t make use of tyre labelling is a bit of a mystery — after all, we’re quite happy to compare ratings for washing machines, cookers, computers or even food!
In our 2017 article, we suggested it was partly because most motorists assume tyres are pretty much all the same. Only tyre geeks (like us) and super-keen drivers pay attention to their tyre’s characteristics.
The information gap
However, another reason for this lack of information was revealed in a recent investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. When they sent out 62 mystery shoppers to tyre retailers,they found that only 12% were complying with the labeling regulations.
So, it seems as though suppliers or retailers themselves are at least partly responsible for the information gap. But that situation now looks set to change with the arrival of tough new enforcement measures.
Labelling law gets some teeth
On 1st January 2021, the snappily named Motor Vehicle Tyres (Labelling) (Enforcement) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 came into effect. Essentially, it allows for the DVSA to issue tyre retailers/suppliers with a compliance notice if they aren’t following the rules. If they don’t address the shortcomings, they can receive a civil penalty of up to £1000.
It’s a move that’s been welcomed by British Tyre Manufacturers Association. According to Tyre Trade News, BTMA Chairman Karl Naylor had this to say:
“Consumer information about tyre performance is gaining recognition for its potential contribution to reducing environmental impact and improving road safety. It may be an uphill journey in a price-focused market, but we must all play our part in bringing about the necessary changes in consumer behaviour.”
What does this mean for drivers?
Whether the new enforcement means that drivers will take more interest in tyre labelling, or use it to guide their choices — well, that’s anyone’s guess. Many will continue thinking of tyres as interchangeable black hoops, and that’s fine. But at the least, more consumers will have the information in front of them if they want it. That’s got to be a good thing.
If you’re making your tyre selection online with BK Tyres (and of course, you really should, for competitive prices and great service), the labelling system is displayed for each of our 6000 or so tyre options. And of course, if you want to talk through options with a real human, we’re happy to do that too!
The BK Tyres blog carries news, views and information on tyres and related subjects. BK Tyres is a supplier and fully mobile fitter of tyres throughout Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Contact us today.