Tire Labeling and Identification: Regulations and Consumer Information


Tire labeling and identification are essential for providing consumers with critical information about the performance, safety, and environmental characteristics of tires. Regulatory authorities worldwide have established various tire labeling and identification requirements to ensure transparency and help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing tires. This article will explore the regulations governing tire labeling and identification, focusing on the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.).

  1. European Union Tire Labeling Regulations

In November 2012, the European Union introduced mandatory tire labeling regulations (Regulation (EC) No. 1222/2009) for all new tires produced and sold within its member states. These regulations were updated in May 2021 with the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2020/740, which further enhanced the labeling requirements. The EU tire label provides information on:

  • Fuel efficiency (rolling resistance): Graded from A (highest efficiency) to E (lowest efficiency), the label indicates the tire’s contribution to fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • Wet grip performance: Graded from A (shortest braking distance) to E (longest braking distance), this rating informs consumers about the tire’s braking performance on wet roads.
  • External rolling noise: Measured in decibels (dB), the label displays the tire’s noise emissions and is accompanied by one, two, or three sound waves, indicating noise levels relative to the future EU limits.
  1. United States Tire Labeling Regulations

In the United States, tire labeling and identification are governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The following information is required on tire sidewalls:

  • Tire Size: A series of letters and numbers that indicate the tire’s dimensions, load-carrying capacity, and speed rating.
  • Load Index: A numerical code that corresponds to the tire’s maximum load-carrying capacity.
  • Speed Rating: A letter code that indicates the tire’s maximum speed capability.
  • DOT (Department of Transportation) Marking: A unique identifier that signifies compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations and includes the Tire Identification Number (TIN), which provides manufacturing details such as the plant, production week, and year.
  • UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading): A rating system mandated by the NHTSA that grades passenger car tires based on treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance.
  1. Global Tire Labeling Initiatives

Other countries and regions, such as Brazil, China, Japan, and South Korea, have also implemented or are in the process of implementing tire labeling regulations to provide consumers with standardized information on tire performance and safety. Although the specific details and rating systems may vary, the overall goal is to improve consumer awareness and promote the use of safer and more environmentally friendly tires.

Tire labeling and identification regulations play a crucial role in ensuring that consumers have access to accurate and consistent information about tire performance, safety, and environmental impact. By understanding the tire labels and markings, consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing tires and contribute to improved road safety and environmental sustainability. As regulations continue to evolve and harmonize globally, tire labeling and identification will become an even more critical aspect of the tire industry.

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