Advantages and Disadvantages of Nitrogen Tire Inflation

July 2, 2012

Nitrogen tire inflation can be expensive and high maintenance, but increase gas mileage and tire life, among other advantages.

Valve for Tire Inflation

Nitrogen tire inflation is becoming common practice. Using nitrogen rather than air has advantages and disadvantages. This is not a new idea. The United States military, airplanes and Nascar have all been using this technology for years. The idea is just new to consumers. What are the advantages and disadvantages to nitrogen for tire inflation?

Advantages

  • Better MPG.Nitrogen filled tires bleed pressure slower than compressed air. Properly maintained tire pressure is essential for tire wear and gas mileage. A low tire does not always look under-inflated
  • Longer tire life.A properly inflated tire wears slower. If a nitrogen filled tire does not lose pressure as quickly you can expect longer tire life.
  • Oxidation is blocked.Oxygen causes oxidation. Oxidation can make rubber brittle, increasing the chance of a blow-out. Nitrogen in the tire blocks the oxidation of the internal rubber
  • Nitrogen is a green alternative.Nitrogen has the potential of being greener for the world. As nitrogen-filled tires maintain proper pressure, achieving better gas mileage, reduced emissions and longer tire life, the demand for tires could decrease. This means fewer manufactured tires, decreasing the use for natural resources. Also, manufacturers would decrease shipments of tires, which of course helps the environment

Disadvantages

  • Maintenance is more important.If routine tire maintenance is performed, you can expect the same advantages with a compressed-air tire. The reality is that gas mileage and tire wear are spared when a tire is properly inflated. If a nitrogen filled tire is not properly inflated, you'll get the same loss of gas mileage and tire wear. The claim that the tire could reduce the demand for tires depends solely on the vehicle owner, not the tires. If a driver does not perform routine tire maintenance, with or without the nitrogen, the tires will not wear evenly
  • Nitrogen is expensive.There is a suitable reason why the FAA requires nitrogen in commercial airplanes, and the United States military uses nitrogen. Weight is a factor and the weight of these commercial sized vehicles benefit from nitrogen. The claim that a passenger vehicle needs the added expense might not be as founded. Nitrogen-filled tires usually cost about $5 or more per tire

How to Find Nitrogen for Tire Inflation

Locating a tire merchant that offers nitrogen, is as easy as going to the Get Nitrogen Institute and searching based upon zip code. Typically, a tire fill up will cost around $5 and some shops even offer free top offs and pressure checks if you opt for nitrogen when you buy new tires. It is best to shop around and call a few tire stores in your local area to obtain the best deal.

It is worth noting that it is perfectly safe to add regular air to a tire that has been filled with nitrogen.

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