Like every other consumer product out there, tires require labels. Most of us have seen the large adhesive labels that come on new tires when we buy them, which include pricing information as well as tire specifications. Similarly, adhesive tire labels may be used by mechanics to mark tires they’re working with, and vendors may use special sales labels to indicate price markdowns.
But most importantly are the types of tire labels required by law and manufacturing procedures. In the United States, tire labels specifying tire and loading information are required for each vehicle, and are typically affixed to the tire’s tread after manufacturing. The purpose of these tire labels is to duplicate the information actually molded into the tire’s rubber, but in such a way as to make it easier to read when a mechanic is picking the tire from the warehouse. These tire labels are also intended for inventory tracking, whether of new tires or retreads. They’re typically peeled off at the point of sale, though we’ve all seen cases where someone didn’t bother, and the label remained on the tire until road conditions wore it away.
Whether it uses a number or a barcode, a serious tire label should be made of a durable paper or a synthetic that can handle rough treatment during transport and in the warehouse—though it need not be too tough, since it’s (ideally) going to be peeled off when the tire is installed. A nice laminate coating can maximize the tire label’s use-life, but they aren’t always necessary. It also helps if the adhesive has a high tack, and an affinity for rubber. Tire labels should be able to hold onto the tire’s tread with no problem, right up until it’s time for them to come off.