Nitrogen filled tires have long been used for competitive racing cars, and over the past several years a number of automotive shops have started to offer the option of filling your tires with nitrogen. In addition, it is also possible to purchase nitrogen air canisters that allow you to fill your tires with nitrogen by yourself. However, this beg the question of are nitrogen filled tires better than tires that are simply filled with normal air? The answer to this question is fairly complex. There are a number of advantages of filling a tire with nitrogen, but these benefits are oftentimes negated by how the tires are filled.
The advantages of nitrogen filled tires
Nitrogen is able to improve the performance of tires in a number of respects. The first advantage is that nitrogen is a completely inert substance. This means that it will not react to the tires even if they happen to get very hot. This means that tires that are filled with nitrogen will last much longer, and they will be able to sustain the stresses of racing much better. It also means that if the tire happens to catch fire, it will not be fueled by the massive amounts of oxygen that are stored in compressed air.
The second advantage of nitrogen filled tires is that the nitrogen is heavier than air. This helps to place weight at the lowest point of the car, which can improve handling. There is also less of a risk of the oxygen forming into water inside of the tire, which can imbalance the tires.
Why these advantages are frequently negated
Despite all of these advantages, almost all of them are negated by how nitrogen is frequently put into the tires. Most automotive shops will simply top off the tires with nitrogen. This means that most of the tire is still normal air, and so there is no real change. In order to properly fill a tire with nitrogen, the tire has to be filled and bleed multiple times in order for it to be mostly nitrogen. This can end up costing a lot of money as it will require you to use a massive amount of nitrogen in order to fill all four wheels on a car.
The second problem with filling a car’s tires with nitrogen is that generally it will deter a person from topping off their car’s tires after they have been filled the first time. This is because a person may not want to pay a shop to top off the tire, or because it is a lot of extra work to drag your own nitrogen tank out of the garage. This will result in the car’s tire being underinflated for the vast majority of the time that they are being driven on. Tires that are not at the correct pressure will be very inefficient. They will decrease handling, cause the car to not drive in a straight line, and they can reduce fuel efficiency by about ten percent.
Author: Mellisa Brewer