No one likes to see a warning light illuminated on their dashboard, especially that pesky TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) warning light, which seems to light up every time there is a drastic drop in temperature. Add to that having to make a stop at the local gas station to fill the tire with air and most of us are at the point of full annoyance. Perhaps you should consider filling your tires with pure nitrogen this winter to alleviate this hassle. Pure nitrogen, a more popular option to fill tires, maintains tire pressure three to four times longer than air.
In addition, with proper inflation, nitrogen may help prevent tires from overheating, promote a more favorable tread life, and reduce rubber aging and wheel corrosion. Also, there are reduced safety concerns when using nitrogen, which perhaps explains why nitrogen is used to fill tires of Formula One race cars, heavy machinery and other vehicles that push performance limits under extreme conditions.
Nitrogen also removes dirt, water vapor and oxygen, all harmful to tires, wheels and value stems.
The Get Nitrogen Institute (www.getnitrogen.com), a nonprofit organization, provides consumers, truckers, fleet managers and other drivers with information and resources about the benefits of using nitrogen in tires.
Some of the benefits include:
1. Nitrogen gas is denser than oxygen or compressed air so the larger molecules migrate through a tire three to four times slower than oxygen. Air will lose approximately 1.4 to 1.7 psi (pounds per square inch) each week, but according to a 2007 Clemson University study, nitrogen reduces this loss by 69 percent or more.
2. Humidity in the tire is avoided when nitrogen is used, resulting in less pressure change with temperature changes. The humidity in air also promotes corrosion of steel and aluminum rims.
3. Nitrogen provides more consistent tire pressure, even in extreme temperature shifts, which may help to improve fuel efficiency, reduce toxic emissions and reduce the number of tires tossed into landfills.
4. Tire pressures will remain more constant when nitrogen is used, saving the driver money in fuel and tire-maintenance costs.
Check with your automotive maintenance technician or vehicle dealer to determine if nitrogen is the best choice for your vehicle. It is important to that note that whether a tire is filled with air or pure nitrogen, conducting regular tire pressure checks is imperative to ensure a tire remains in proper condition. You need to focus on three important factors: tire inflation, tire rotation and evaluation of tread wear.
Tires have the most impact on the way your vehicle handles and brakes. A regiment of regular tire maintenance, including the use of nitrogen, will make you a safer, more economical driver.
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