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Drivers unaware of tyre load rating marks

Only 6% of motorists in the UK are able to correctly identify a tyre load rating, according to a new survey by Apollo Tyres.

As cars become heavier, especially electric vehicles (EVs), the tyre load rating will become much more important. Choosing a tyre with an unsuitable load rating can compromise a vehicle’s performance and efficiency, as well as safety.

The Apollo Tyres survey, which polled 1,000 motorists across the UK, found that 11% of men were able to identify the tyre load rating mark, compared to just 3% of women. 

The survey also found that just 14% of motorists are aware that tyres fitted to an EV normally need to be inflated to higher pressures, to ensure safe and efficient operation. That proportion falls to only 6% among motorists aged 55 to 64, and peaks at over half (52%) among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Crucially, among EV drivers, the percentage is still low at just 38%. Tyre inflation rates are specific to each vehicle and are essential for maintaining optimal levels of grip, traction and rolling resistance.

Tyre load rating identity is crucial

EVs are heavier due to the weight of the batteries they carry. This means they put more pressure on the tyres, which can increase wear and cause structural issues, should the correct tyre load rating not be used. As the UK’s automotive industry transitions to electromobility, it will become crucial for garages to ensure customers are educated and supplied with the right tyres. 

However, the market has been driven by sales of SUVs in recent years, while smaller, and therefore lighter vehicles, such as the Ford Fiesta, have become obsolete. These vehicles too require stronger tyres, meaning drivers should take care when identifying the tyre load rating. 

The government’s Air Quality Expert Group said in 2019 that particles from brake wear, tyre wear and road surface wear directly contribute to well over half of particle pollution from road transport. The wrong tyre on a vehicle directly contributes to this. 

“As Europe moves towards the mass adoption of EVs, it is becoming even more important for carmakers and the wider tyre industry – from manufacturers to retailers and fitters – to help consumers understand the crucial importance of load rating compatibility and the need to maintain correct inflation rates,” commented Yves Pouliquen, Head of Sales and Marketing at Apollo Tyres. 

“The need to educate extends beyond the point of purchase. EV owners understandably want to maximise driving range, but under-inflation can significantly increase rolling resistance and that equates to poor efficiency.”

Apollo Tyres produces a wide range of Vredestein passenger car tyres to suit internal-combustion-engine vehicles and EVs. Click here for more information.

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