Benefits of Nitrogen...Yay or Nay?

At the installer I was handed a pamphlet explaining that nitrogen filled tires will save the dolphins. Is filling my tires with nitrogen going to actually do what the pamphlet explained:Clearing the Air About Nitrogen Tire Inflation
  1. Longer tire life
  2. Smoother, quieter ride
  3. More even tread wear
  4. Better gas mileage
Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at the differences between standard air and nitrogen. The atmosphere is just under 80% nitrogen. Therefore, you are paying for that last 20%. Is it worth it?

The difference between standard air and pure nitrogen basically comes down to predictability and air permeation. Pure nitrogen is more predictable in its fluctuation (or change) of tire pressure across different temperatures.  This is very helpful if you drive your vehicle at an autocross event or race track because you can plan for changes in pressure based on temperature. For the other 99.9% of us this strength doesn't matter. The air permeation (or how quickly the air escapes the tire by natural means) is roughly half the rate with pure nitrogen vs. shop air. This relates to losing about .5 psi a month with nitrogen, versus about 1 psi a month with standard air.
 Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge
So in conclusion, it would be beneficial for you to spend the money instead on a good air gauge for the garage and glove box, and really make it a point to stay on top of air pressure in your fleet of vehicles. That would serve you the best and probably save you money in the long run as proper tire inflation will give you longer and even tread wear, an improved ride and better fuel economy. Check out "Clearing the Air About Nitrogen Tire Inflation" or contact one of our sales specialists for more information.


Friday, November 2, 2012 by Arnold Littlefield

Confused: ?? My uderstanding so far is that pure nitrogen or air looses or gains one PSI per 10 degrees F. so why do you say above that nitrogen is more predictable in it's fluctuation of tire pressure across different temperatures?
Second question: Why do some racing car series use nitrogen? Maybe because less flamable?
Monday, November 5, 2012 by Hunter

Race series use nitrogen because it is more predictable in the change in pressure as the tire heats up. This is not related to ambient air temp, rather the heat up of the tire as it is running.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Arnold Littlefield

Thanks for the info. Now another question. Won't a tire loose more air while driving (flexing) compared to if sitting parked? If I'm on a long trip and drive say 5000 miles in a month tires should loose a significant amount more than the approx .5 psi with nitrogen?
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Hunter

Anecdotal information shows us tires do lose air more rapidly when being driven regularly, versus sitting stationary. The ~1psi for air and ~ 0.5psi for nitrogen estimates stated earlier are based on tires driven approximately 1000-1200 miles per month (12-15,000 miles per year). So, yes, I’d expect greater than average pressure loss during a 5000 mile/month drive. And with your monthly distance rate about four times the average, I’d recommend you check your tires four times during the month. After all, routine checks aren’t (or shouldn’t be) just about inflation pressure, but also giving them a visual look over to see if there are any other wear or damage problems developing.

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