Labelling: Who evaluates tyres? How are tests performed?
From November 1st 2012, consumers will be able to compare tyre performance thanks to the new EU tyre label. Tyre performance will be rated according to three criteria: Energy efficiency, wet grip efficiency and external rolling noise. But, who will evaluate tyre performance and how will tests be performed?
On the same topic
Tyre manufacturers or importers will be in charge of evaluating a tyre’s performance for European tyre labelling. It is therefore a self-certification process. Each industrialist will test its products based on a protocol specified by European authorities. They agree to provide a reliable and objective rating to allow consumers to compare different tyres. It is then up to each Member State of the European Union to guarantee that tests were performed in accordance with the specified procedure. Test to evaluate tyre energy efficiency The tyre’s contribution to fuel consumption is evaluated from its rolling resistance measurement. In other words, the energy dissipated by the tyre when it comes into contact with the road. The lower the rolling resistance, the better your fuel economy.
The tyre is tested using a standard protocol, on a test bench with a 2m diameter drum. The test simulates driving at 50mph with a load equivalent to 80% of the tyre’s load index.
Test to evaluate wet grip efficiency
The efficiency of braking on wet surfaces is an important safety feature. It is the second rating criteria used in European tyre labelling regulations.
This test is performed using a standard vehicle equipped with an ABS system. Braking is measured during the deceleration phase from 50 to 12 mph. The regulation specifies the conditions under which tests should be performed. These conditions include:
Temperature: between 2° and 20 °C for winter tyres, between 5° and 35 °C for summer tyres.
Track wetting: water depth between 0.5 and 1.5mm.
Track characteristics: slope, uniformity, asphalt quality, texture, frictional properties…
Test to measure the intensity of external rolling noise
A lower rolling noise contributes to the quality of life, especially in towns. It is the third criteria adopted by the European legislator for European tyre labelling to compare and rate tyres.
The test consists in positioning two microphones on either side of the path of a vehicle travelling at 50 mph and to measure the sound level as it crosses the line with the engine switched off.
For more information
The regulation 228/2011 describes the wet grip testing method for passenger cars;
The regulation 1235/2011 sets out the measures required to:
- Grade the wet grip of tyres for light and heavy vehicles;
- Measure the rolling resistance, including the approved testing organisations adopting the same measurement and verification procedures.