Car Care Tips

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Safety September 27, 2019

Why Should You Consider Filling Your Tires With Nitrogen?

It seems like the TPMS light always comes on at the worst time, like when you’re running late, it’s freezing cold outside, and you haven’t had your morning coffee.

If you want to avoid the low-pressure light, consider using pure nitrogen to inflate your tires instead of regular compressed air. It’s a small change that could make a big difference in how smooth your mornings go.

Benefits to Nitrogen-Filled Tires

The air we breathe—and put in our tires—is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% water vapor and other gases. When you use pure nitrogen to fill your tires, it’s usually at 95% purity. So how much of a difference can 17% make?

Nitrogen is an inert, noncombustible, nonflammable, noncorrosive gas. This is why it’s the first choice for filling tires for racecars, heavy machinery, airplanes and other vehicles that operate under extreme conditions. But even if your minivans biggest task is carrying groceries and making sure you have the first spot in the carpool line, nitrogen-filled tires might help you save on fuel and maintenance costs.

Slow Pressure Loss

One of the primary benefits of filling your tires with nitrogen instead of compressed air is that your tires lose pressure slower. Over time, air leaks out of your tires as the rubber stretches and flexes. But because nitrogen atoms are larger than oxygen atoms, nitrogen is less likely to permeate the rubber and escape from the tire. So when you fill your tires with pure nitrogen, there’s less chance air will leak out and your tires will stay fully inflated longer.

Proper tire inflation is key to tire safety and performance. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, under-inflated tires lower fuel economy by about 0.2% for every 1 psi (pounds per square inch) drop in all tires. It may not seem like much, but those pennies saved at the pump can add up quickly!

Read: How to Check Tire Pressure and Inflate Tires

Consistent Pressure

Nitrogen-filled tires also tend to fluctuate less when the temperature swings. As a rule, for every 10 degree drop in air temperature, your tires lose about 1 psi of pressure (and vice versa). Pure nitrogen is less prone to fluctuate compared to regular air, mostly because it doesn’t have any water vapor. Water is more likely to be affected by temperature changes, and it causes air to expand and contract inconsistently.

Corrosion

Water vapors not only contribute to pressure fluctuations, but they can also cause corrosion on tire components like steel belts, wheels and TPMS sensors. Since the nitrogen used to fill tires is dry, nitrogen-filled tires are less likely to experience corrosion.

Even though nitrogen helps keep your tire pressure constant, make sure you’re still checking your tires’ air pressure monthly and performing other regular tire maintenance to get the best performance from your tires.

Read: Tire Maintenance 101: Taking Care of Your Tires

Is Filling My Tires With Nitrogen Worth It?

There are certainly benefits to using nitrogen instead of compressed air, but is it worth the hassle? It’s definitely worth it when it’s free!

At Virginia Tire & Auto, every new tire purchase comes with tires&, our easy installation and worry-free driving bundle. Included in tires& is FREE nitrogen inflation for every new tire and FREE nitrogen top-offs for the life of the tire at any Virginia Tire & Auto location.

If you don’t have tires& but want to try pure nitrogen, a nitrogen fill is just $5 at any of our stores.

To get the full advantages of nitrogen-filled tires, make sure you only top-off your tires with pure nitrogen. However, if your tires are low and there’s no nitrogen nearby, it’s fine to add regular air! It will decrease the purity of the nitrogen in your tire, but it’s better to keep your tires properly inflated than to wait until you find a store with nitrogen.

Trustworthy Tire Service at Virginia Tire & Auto

Whether you need a nitrogen top-off, a tire repair or new tires, we can help! Drop on by your local Virginia Tire & Auto, visits us online or give us a call at 855.425.3677 to schedule a service appointment today.

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