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Cars tyres are what keep the car in contact with the road. They are about as important as it gets on a vehicle. Manufacturers are constantly striving to improve vehicles handling, comfort fuel economy etc. these improvements can’t be relayed to the road without the use of a tyre, well…I suppose you could try.
Tyres are a very personal thing. Some customers want the best performing tyre in the dry; others want the safest tyre in the wet. Some want a tyre that offers the best fuel economy and others just want the cheapest road legal rubber. All of these different types of tyre have a legitimate use on the road depending on the type of driving the customer does, the type of car and their own preference.
Different Types of Tyre – Tyre Labelling
So what tyre manufacturer and model is best for you? This is a discussion that could take place all day, or longer. Every tyre manufacturer makes good tyres and they all have to meet the various standards imposed on them. You do tend to get what you pay for with tyres, it isn’t that cheap tyres are bad, it’s just the more expensive tyres are better. But not necessarily in the areas you would expect. Just because you buy Michelin’s top of the range tyre, doesn’t mean it will last 50,000 miles. You may have chosen a tyre that is extremely effective in wet conditions and therefore very good at transferring stopping power to the road and effective when aqua planning, but there is a trade-off for that type of performance, it may not last as long as other tyres.
Then there is the new tyre labelling system; which I shall now do my best to explain. The tyre label is a new initiative that has been brought in to grade tyres for: Fuel efficiency, Wet Grip & Exterior Noise. Fuel economy and wet performance are graded A-G (A=Best, G=Worst) and Noise is graded by black sound waves 1-3 (1=Best, 3=Worst).
What does all this mean?
Is fairly self-explanatory, the worse the grade the louder the tyre is.
- 1 Black Sound Wave = 3dB less than the future European limit.
- 2 Black Sound Waves = compliant with the future European limit.
- 3 Black Sound Waves = compliant with the current European limit.
According to the “European Commission’s impact assessment SEC (2008) 2860” the difference between an A & G rated tyre could be up to 30% shorter braking distance, i.e. an A graded tyre will stop shorter than a G graded tyre (from 50mph/80kmph) This could equate to 18m shorter braking distance on a typical passenger car, that’s 4 car lengths.
The “European Commission’s impact assessment SEC (2008) 2860” suggests that the difference between A & G could be up to 7.5% reduction in fuel consumption, i.e. an A graded tyre will be more fuel efficient than a G graded tyre.
Tyres – Some Helpful Information
What is legal?
(Please note that this information is provided in good faith and as such this information should not be solely relied upon for assessing the condition of your tyres. We recommend that you visit DSC with your vehicle so that a professional opinion may be provided)
- It is illegal to have a tyre on the road if the grooves of the tread pattern of every tyre fitted to the wheel of the vehicle do not have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre. (Breadth of tread means the width of that part of the tyre which is in contact with the road surface under normal conditions).
- This applies to tyres on cars, light vans (not exceeding 3,500kg gross weight) and light trailers.
It is illegal to have a tyre on the road if the tyre:
- Is not suitable for the chosen use of the vehicle or trailer.
- The tyre is not suitable relative to the other types of tyre fitted.
- Is not properly inflated.
- Has a cut or break in the rubber in excess of 25mm or 10% of the section width in length which exposes the casing cords.
- Has a lump or bulge caused by separation or partial failure of its structure.
It is illegal to drive if:
- Tyres of a Different Structure. (I.e. diagonal (cross) ply, radial or belted radius) are fitted on the same axle.
- Radial tyres are fitted on the front axle with diagonal (cross) ply tyres on the rear axle.
- A temporary spare is being used outside its stated limitation.
Failure to comply with the above:
- Could lead to prosecution, a heavy fine and a driving licence penalty.
- Will lead to failure in a legal inspection.
- Undermines the safety of all road use.
- Legal requirements – care and condition.
- It is a legal requirement to keep tyres in good condition.
The following regulations apply:
- All tyres must be suitable (i.e. The correct type and size) to the vehicle
- All tyres must be inflated to the vehicle or tyre manufacturers’ recommended pressures
- Radial-ply tyres must not be fitted to a wheel on the same axle as wheels already fitted with cross-ply tyres and vice versa
- A two-axle vehicle with single rear wheels must not have radial ply tyres on the front axle if cross ply tyres are fitted to the rear axle
- No tyre must have a break in its fabric or a cut deep enough to reach the body cords. No cut must be more than 25mm or 10% of the tyre’s section width in length, (whichever is the greater)
- There must be no lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial fracture of a tyre’s structure
- No portion of the ply or cord structure should be exposed
- Run flat and temporary use spare tyres. Regulations permit the legal use of “run flat” tyres and what are described as temporary use spares (provided they are identified as such) in a partially inflated or flat condition.
- The following conditions apply:
- The vehicle speed must not exceed 50mph
- The temporary use spare tyre or the wheel to which it is fitted must be a different colour to the other wheels on the vehicle
- A label must be attached giving clear instructions about the precautions to be observed when it is being used
- If you do not comply with the above, the legal provision that allows their use ceases to apply.