Pros and cons of
inflating tires with nitrogen
There is only a small
amount of material that separates us from the hard surface of the road,
and our soft comfortable seats. The most important barrier and safety
factor undoubtedly is going to be our tires, and the invisible gas that
is contained within them.
There are two forms of
gas that are used commonly to inflate our tires, but which one is the
best one to be used.
Most don't even know
that you can use anything other than compressed air, so why consider an
alternative like Nitrogen? Consider this!
Nitrogen the Pros:
1.) Rubber used for
tires, inner tubes, and even the liners in tubeless tires is not
impermeable, which means pressure loss can be expected over short or
long durations of time. Nitrogen has an extremely lower rate of
pressure loss, and will lower the need to frequently add additional air
pressure in your tires. You should regularly check your pressure
regardless of whether your tires have been inflated with nitrogen or
air, but nitrogen will definitely have less pressure loss over time.
2.) Nitrogen stays
cooler, so your tires achieve much cooler running temperatures. I would
like to elaborate more on this benefit, but since it has little impact
to an average driver I will only say this: Almost every race car,
airplane, and emergency vehicle runs on nitrogen inflated tires, and
the cooler temperature can sometimes mean the difference between a blow
out, and just getting a flat. This also means that reduced temperature
equals fewer incidents due to excessive expansion of rubber due to
higher heat levels.
3.) Improved wear in
your treads. This falls along with the cooler temperature but it also
goes toward the less likeness of having your tires deflate. A tire that
is running low will not be properly covering the road surface, and with
lower pressure there is more friction across the surface of your tire.
This causes unbalanced wear, which can eventually lead to mild steering
issues, or the likelihood of developing a leak.
4.) Increased rim life:
This is where science really kicks in. Oxygen contains water or at
least vapor. Nitrogen has no H2o, so in theory with no water vapor
present, steel is less likely to develop oxidization, which is what
causes the formation of rust.
5.) Pressure build up:
The racing circuit has been using nitrogen to fill up tires for many
years now due to this benefit. Running tires at higher temperatures
also means that pressure begins to well up within the tire, and once
again nitrogen is less likely to increase in temperature opposed to
oxygen. Pressure build up again is not a cause of worry for most
drivers, but on the racetrack or drag strip, where tires reach almost
melting point temperatures, nitrogen is almost imperative.
Nitrogen the Cons:
1.) Thee most formidable
opposition to any choice would be the cost factor. Nitrogen is not
readily available and it is much more costly than something that we can
almost certainly find for free!
2.) Once you use
nitrogen, you have to continue using nitrogen to extract any benefit
that nitrogen exhibits. Once you introduce any amount of compressed air
into a nitrogen environment, it negates any properties or benefits that
nitrogen has to offer.
So there we have it five
against two, but one being usually the ultimate decision we all choose
to make. Air is free and it is just too easy to use, so really will
anyone actually notice a considerable difference when using nitrogen. I
have to say I have found no difference myself, save the frequent trips
to the air pump. So really it is a choice between apples and oranges,
or dollars and cents, but either way nitrogen’s benefits maybe for you!