Tyre retailers are legally required to apply stickers with ratings for their products, but new research suggests many consumers are unaware that these exist.
Last month, the EU introduced a new standard for these stickers, which outline a tyre’s rating for grip, efficiency and noise.
The labels, which also have symbols that indicate suitability for driving in snow and ice, are expected to be set into UK law later this year, updating the existing standard for tyre labelling.
However, new research by tyre manufacturer Apollo Vredestein indicates that a high number of motorists are unaware there are tyre ratings available.
When questioned, just 43 per cent of the 500 people surveyed said they knew about the ratings. One point of concern is that just 26 per cent said a tyre retailer had explained a tyre’s performance rating at the point of purchase, which is a legal requirement.
The labels are designed to make buyers better informed about the product they are buying and the improved safety that could come from spending a bit more. The survey suggests this would be more effective if consumers were more aware the labels existed, with 69 per cent saying that seeing such data would influence their decision in the future.
Karl Naylor, UK country manager at Apollo Vredestein, said: “These tyre ratings are clearly valued very highly by car owners, yet awareness remains very low.
“That presents a significant challenge for public authorities and the tyre sector – manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike – to improve education and enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. Greater awareness will help consumers select tyres that are better suited to their needs and will help highlight those tyres that have the strongest environmental and safety credentials.
“Given that up to 20 per cent of a passenger car’s CO2 emissions is accounted for by the tyres, enabling customers to make informed choices can make a real difference as the government and public authorities seeks to reduce the environmental impact of road transport.”
If the new EU regulations are echoed in UK law, a tyre’s information sheet must be displayed prominently close to the tyre in a physical retail location or made clearly visible online. An online database will also be available with each tyre’s ratings, while car dealers will also have to explain to customers the ratings for tyres fitted to new cars.