Helsinki – New tire labelling regulations will come into effect in the European Union on 1 May, with the aim of making it easier to compare the performance of different tires and guide buyers towards safer, more eco-friendly choices.
The new labels will be required on tires manufactured after April 2021 – replacing the labelling system used on all-season, summer and non-studded winter tires sold in the EU since 2012.
The standardised scheme has until now applied only to tires for passenger cars, SUVs, and vans, with the required information covering rolling-resistance, wet-grip, and external rolling noise.
Under the revised regulation, tires must also show ratings for grip on snow and ice and carry a QR code intended to provide information to an EU-wide database – while the scheme has also been extended to truck and bus tires.
In a 22 April release about the new labels, winter tire specialist Nokian Tyres noted that in practice, wet grip is the opposite of ice grip as developing one usually reduces the other.
“Tires designed for central Europe emphasise the characteristics required on bare roads, whereas the ice grip symbol indicates that the tire genuinely works and remains safe in the challenging Nordic winter conditions,” the Finnish company stated.
“We do not recommend using tires designed for central Europe under conditions that they are not intended," said Matti Morri, technical customer service manager at Nokian Tyres.
While sustainability requirements will emphasise low rolling-resistance and fuel-economy, Teppo Siltanen, product manager, Nokian Heavy Tyres underlined the need to maintain a good balance of tire characteristics – citing, for example, the importance of snow-grip in Germany and the Nordic countries.
With regard to the QR code, Nokian Tyres’ SRA manager Jarmo Sunnari explained that this will guide consumers to a massive database with information on all of the tires available on the European market.
The product information, he said, is standardised, “allowing for an easy comparison of the tires.”
Nokian went on to note that the EU scheme will eventually be expanded, with tire labels also reporting wear and the tire's service life on the road.
“The decision has already been made but confirming the test methods will take years,” the tire maker concluded.