How much do you know about your tyres? Find tips and tricks here

Your tyres are your only contact with the road and, on average, drive once around the world: With the right pressure, you’ll even save money in the process. An array of information on tyres is available here.

Safety, comfort, petrol consumption – it all depends on your tyres

The EU tyre label tells you, in simple symbols, which properties a particular tyre has

It has been mandatory for all brand-new tyres since July 1st 2012, and has been in effect since November 1st.

Example for possible fuel consumption of a vehicle at 1000 km with an average consumption of 6.6 l/100 km.

Fuel efficiency

The lower the resistance your tyres have to overcome when they’re in action, the lower the amount of energy your Volkswagen needs – and you produce less CO2. Between classes A and G, at 100 km/h this is up to 0.7 l.

Wet grip

The more efficient the wet grip of your tyres, the shorter the braking distance on wet surfaces. At 80 km/h, this increases by 3 to 7 m from one class to the next. Even if you applied the brakes fully, you would sit collide with an obstacle at a speed of up to 30 km/h.

The external rolling noise

Quiet tyres are more pleasant for you and the environment. As little at 10 dB extra is perceived as twice as loud. How loud or quiet a tyre is can be identified by the number of black sound waves.

  • Three sound waves:
    The external rolling noise complies with the EU limit values applicable from 2016.
  • Two sound waves:
    The external rolling noise already complies with the EU limit values applicable from 2016 or is up to 3 dB under them.
  • One sound wave:
    The external rolling noise already complies with the EU limit values applicable from 2016 or is more than 3 dB under them.

Tyre labelling – explained in seven steps

What do the numbers on my tyres mean? Alongside the manufacturer and product name, you’ll find a range of important information on your tyres, such as tyre type, rim diameter and maximum permitted speed limit.

Tyre width in millimetres

It is measured from sidewall to sidewall of your tyre. Passenger vehicle tyres are between 125 and 335 mm wide.

Illustration of the tyre labelling: tyre width in millimetres
Height-width ratio

How tall is the tyre in comparison to the width of its cross-section in percent? The smaller the number, the lower the tyre sidewall.

Illustration of the tyre labelling: height-width ratio
Tyre design type

The tyre carcass is made of fine cord fibres.

  • R (radial tyre):
    The cords run at a right angle to the direction of travel.
  • D (diagonal tyre):
    The cords run diagonally. R and D tyres must not be combined.
  • RF (Run-Flat tyres):
    Self-supporting tyres with emergency running properties.
Illustration of the tyre labelling: tyre design type
Rim diameter in inches

The distance from rim edge to rim edge is measured. In general, this it 10 to 20".

Illustration of the tyre labelling: rim diameter in inches
Load index

Indicates the maximum tyre load in combination with its maximum speed. For example, 670 kg are permitted for a value of 94.

Illustration of the tyre labelling: load index
Speed index

The permitted maximum speed limit can be seen in combination with the load index. The load capacity of the tyres may sink at high speeds.

Illustration of the tyre labelling: speed index
Date of manufacture (DOT)

You’ll find the so-called DOT number on at least one of the tyre sidewalls. DOT stands for “Department of Transportation”, i.e. the date of manufacture. Here, the last four digits are relevant. The first two digits indicate the week of production in calendar weeks and the last two indicate the production year.

Illustration of the tyre labelling: date of manufacture (DOT)

The right minimum tread depth

Tyre tread

How do you measure the tread depth? In the rough tread grooves of your tyres you’ll find small 1.6 mm tall projections – they represent the mandatory minimum tread depth. By looking at these in comparison with your tyres, you’ll see how worn your tyres are. You can also put a 1 euro coin in the grooves – the gold edge is 4 mm wide.

How deep should my tyre tread be?

The deeper the tread of  your tyres, the more effective they are at draining off water and protecting you from aquaplaning. Even if the tread depth is just less than 4 mm, your tyre will have considerably less grip on a wet road. The reason: The profile no longer drains water properly and your tyres lose contact with the road. Don’t take the risk – make sure you get new tyres fitted when the tread is too shallow.  

There are many layers hidden inside your car tyre

Every tyre is made up of a contact surface and a tyre substructure

Contact surface and tyre substructure (carcass)

  1. Tread – for an effective grip on the road and for taking up and draining water
  2. Jointless bandage – enables high speeds
  3. Steel cord belts layers – optimise driving stability and rolling resistance
  4. Textile cord insert – maintains the shape of the tyre, even at high interior pressure
  5. Inner liner – renders the tyre airtight
  6. Side wall – protects against lateral damages
  7. Apex – supports driving stability and steering behaviour and comfort response
  8. Steel core – ensures a firm fit to the rim
  9. Tyre bead reinforcement – supports driving stability and precise steering behaviour

Cutting-edge technology for efficiency and safety

Top quality for performance and comfort

Quality, driving comfort and design are the top priorities when it comes to our Volkswagen Genuine Complete Wheels. Follow the entire production process here: from the initial design to the final quality control.

Our complete wheels go through a wide range of stages before finally becoming your companion out on the road:

  • Development
  • Production process
  • Test procedure
  • Assembly
  • Quality control

Tyre damages

Damages to the tyre put both your safety and the safety of fellow road users at risk – and therefore they should be repaired. Learn about the most common types of tyre damage, possible causes and consequences.

Cracks, ruptures and porous areas

  • Characteristics:
    Signs of ageing such as cracks, ruptures or porous areas.
  • Possible causes:
    Damages caused by improper storage, for example by way of UV rays from the sun, or by way of high water pressure and aggressive cleaning agents during cleaning.

Tyres of this sort should not be re-mounted for the new season. If you are unsure about anything concerning these points, consult a tyre expert in our workshops. In general, we recommend changing your tyres after six years.

Abrasion points

  • Characteristics:
    Abrasion points on the tyre sidewall.
  • Possible causes:
    Driving into a kerb, for example, thereby causing damage to the tyre carcass.
  • Consequences:
    The carcass may break or moisture may seep into the vehicle interior, leading to corrosion of the metal mesh, which causes the entire tyre to become unstable.

Damages to the carcass are not immediately visible from the outside, making them particularly dangerous. A tyre expert can recognise the pattern of damages – so get in touch with your professional workshop straight away.

Tip: Do your rims bear clear traces of an impact? Then your tyres might also be affected..

Embedded foreign objects

  • Characteristics:
    Embedded fragments, nails or sharp stones in the contact surface area.
  • Consequences:
    Often a dangerous, gradual loss of pressure: moisture can finds its way to the tyre interior and cause the steel cord belt to rust, which may lead to a detachment of the tread or belt.

A tyre expert can assess the damages – so get in touch with your professional workshop straight away.

Abnormal tyre wear

If the damages to your car’s tyre are unevenly distributed across the entire contact surface, you should check them: Find out here about the potential irregular damage patterns that require action. 

Wear primarily on the shoulder of the tyre

  • Characteristics:
    Considerably less worn tread in the centre of the contact surface than at the two shoulders.
  • Possible causes:
    Too low an air pressure, as it is mainly the shoulder areas of the tyres which come into contact with the road surface when rolling (when wear is even) or consistently fast driving in curves in the road at too low a tyre pressure (severe wear at the outer shoulder).
  • Consequences:
    The car becomes unusable more quickly and the associated costs, in extreme cases the carcass may be damaged or a sudden loss of a tyre may occur, as damages to the carcass persist even if the tyre is once again driven with the right pressure.

Check the tyre pressure on a regualr basis and if in doubt, consult your workshop.

Emergence of sawtooth

  • Characteristics:
    Irregular wear on the tyre shoulder in the form of a sawtooth, increasingly loud noise at the tyre/road interface.
  • Possible causes:
    Defective shock absorbers, misaligned axle geometry, driving too fast or too cautiously.
  • Consequences:
    The car becomes unusable more quickly, frequent tyre changes and the associated costs.

If you come across a sawtooth pattern on your tyre, determine the cause with the help of our tyres specialists, and then how to proceed.

Isolated wear caused by braking or inactivity

  • Characteristics:
    Pattern of wear distributed across the whole tyre or at specific points.
  • Possible causes:
    Hard or full braking on a blocked tyre (isolated points of wear caused by braking), generally only occurs on cars with no ABS, long periods of tyre or vehicle inactivity in conjunction with too low an air pressure (isolated wear caused by inactivity).

Should you have any questions concerning the usability of the tyre, please consult your workshop.

Wear primarily in the centre of the contact surface

  • Characteristics:
    Consistently even wear in the centre of the contact surface.
  • Possible causes:
    Too much pressure, meaning that the centre of the tyre, which protrudes more due to the pressure, comes into contact with the road surface more than other parts or exceeding the approved maximum speed limit for the tyre.
  • Consequences:
    More frequent tyre changes and the associated costs.

It is recommended to inquire in your workshop – and regularly check the correct tyre pressure.

Severe wear at one shoulder

  • Characteristics:
    Severe wear at just one shoulder of either one or all wheels.
  • Possible causes:
    Incorrectly installed or worn running gear, overloading or an unapproved wheel/tyre combination.

If you notice the emergence of this pattern, consult your workshop.

Lower consumption – greater driving comfort

You’ll find the answers to all your questions about tyre pressure here.

Tyre pressure too low or Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator faulty

The tyre pressure in a wheel has considerably decreased or a tyre has structural damages. Drive more slowly, avoid any heavy steering and braking manoeuvres and check your tyres as quickly as possible. Everything is OK but the lamps are still on? Have the system checked by your workshop.

How to increase tyre service life

A tyre’s maximum service life is six years – that’s assuming that they’re not damaged, the tread hasn’t been worn down earlier. The DOT number on your tyres will provide information about their age. Here are a few tips for a long tyre service life.

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*) The information, pictures, colours and specifications contained within are presented as a general guide to the products and accessories offered by Unicars Ltd. Although every effort has been made to ensure that such information is correct and up to date, no warranty is provided that all such information is reliable, complete, accurate or without error. In some cases pictures of overseas models may be shown as a guide. Therefore, Unicars Ltd. does not accept liability for damages of any kind resulting from the access or use of this site and its contents.
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