There are lots of ways to look after your truck’s tyres – keeping them at the right pressure and checking for optimum fuel efficiency can boost road safety and the money you can save. But the first step is choosing the right tyres for your vehicle – and understanding the tyre labelling system.
Since 2012, it’s been mandatory for all new tyres sold in the EU are clearly labelled. This regulation was a major step forward in terms of the information given to customers about the safety, performance and quality of the tyres they are buying.
Understanding what the labelling means
The labelling information is found on the tyres themselves and is broken down into three categories: fuel efficiency, wet grip and exterior noise levels. Here’s a bit more detail on those three.
1 Fuel efficiency
The lower the rolling resistance, the less fuel is used. A tyre’s effect on fuel efficiency is rated on a scale from A to G (from low to high). The black arrow next to the letter class indicates where on the scale the product sits.
Choosing A-rated tyres can reduce fuel consumption for trucks by more than 7.5%. Put another way, it could save you more than six litres of fuel every 1,000 km. And let’s not forget the reduction in environmental impact too. It’s important to remember that the effect may vary depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.
2 Wet grip
‘Wet grip’ is a tyre’s ability to stay on the road in wet conditions. In EU ratings, wet grip refers to the wet braking performance of the tyre. The level of grip on a wet road surface is classified on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
It is important that tyres provide driver safety in all conditions, whether dry or wet. A truck travelling at 30 mph has a stopping distance of 88 feet, at 60 mph that distance increases to 306 feet. On a wet road, those braking distances are significantly higher. Wet braking performance is critical, but the effect may vary depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.
3 Exterior noise levels
Because the amount of noise a tyre makes when travelling along a road affects the environment, there are limits on the maximum permitted noise levels outside a vehicle. These exterior noise levels are measured in decibels (dBs), and are divided into three classes on the labelling.
- At the lower end of the scale, the image of a single black soundwave shows that a tyre’s noise level is 3dB better than the future European limit. These tyres cause the least noise pollution.
- The middle category is denoted by two black sound waves and shows that a tyre meets the future European limit. This means the tyre has an average exterior noise level.
- Tyres with a high exterior noise level are labelled with a symbol showing three black sound waves. These tyres no longer meet the European Regulation limit for noise.
What else to look out for
Other information to look out for on truck tyres includes:
FRT (Free Rolling Tyre): a tyre which may only be fitted on trailer or tag axles, and not on drive or front axles.
M+S (Mud and Snow): this relates to the tyre’s grip and braking performance in mud and fresh or melting snow.
3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake): tyres with these markings have passed snow acceleration tests in winter conditions (as defined in the UNECE regulations 117.02 and the UNECE 109) which makes them suitable for use on snowy or icy roads.
For more information about the right tyres for your truck, contact the team at Apollo Tyres today.