You may have heard the hype about inflating your tires with nitrogen, but wondered, “does it really make a difference?” The answer is yes, it does, in different ways.
First, a little common knowledge. Compressed air is comprised of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and a remainder of small concentrations of other gases. Using just nitrogen to fill your tires means you’re basically just getting rid of the oxygen that is in compressed gas. It’s interesting what this omission does. (It’s important to note that most nitrogen tire inflation equipment don’t supply 100% pure nitrogen, it’s typically around 95%, still a significant and beneficial difference when compared to compressed air.)
One of the things you’ll notice is that your tire pressure will remain more stable when using nitrogen. Nitrogen is less likely to seep through rubber than oxygen is, so you’ll need to fill up your tires less frequently, which is a great bonus because it will save you valuable time.
You’ll also notice that humidity won’t be as common as it was when you were using compressed air. It’s a normal occurrence when a bit of water builds up in tires, but this promotes corrosion in the steel and aluminum wheels. Because nitrogen produces lower levels of humidity, this won’t happen as quickly or as frequently.
On the downside, nitrogen costs money. We all know that compressed air is readily available at any gas station or service centre, for free. That’s not the case with nitrogen. So although you can refill your tires less frequently, it costs more than standard air.
As well as costing money, it can be more difficult to find. So if you’re in a bind, with a low tire, it’s best to fill up with compressed air than drive around with an under inflated tire trying to find a nitrogen supplier.
There are pros and cons to using nitrogen in your tires, but ultimately, the decision is yours.
**This article is intended as an informative look into the difference between nitrogen and compressed air for your tires and should not be taken as professional advice. Please consult an industry professional for more information on the topic.