Are Nitrogen-filled Tires Right for you?
When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, are you constantly asking yourself the important questions – “When was my last oil change? Should I rotate these tires?” While these are very valid questions, we’ve got a new one for you to consider: “Should I be filling my tires with Nitrogen instead of air?” Sure, there are plenty of considerable advantages of filling your tires with nitrogen, but is it right for you? Let’s find out.
Tires are naturally designed and manufactured to provide you with many miles of reliable service, but they do require proper maintenance to be able to do so. And what’s proper tire maintenance you may be wondering? It all comes down to proper tire inflation. Each vehicle has a specifically recommended tire pressure according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and can be found in the owner’s manual and in the door jam. Make sure to always rely on this number and not whatever is suggested at the tire shop or even on the sidewall of the tire. If you consistently check your tire pressure and before every long trip you take, then nitrogen may not be for you. If you’re not in the habit of checking your tire pressure on a regular basis, then you most definitely stand to benefit.
The Benefits of Nitrogen-filled Tires
The most important difference between nitrogen-filled tires and air-filled tires is the actual tire pressure that remains over time. Allow us to get a little scientific with you for a moment – Nitrogen molecules are larger (and move at a slower pace) than compressed air molecules. Thanks to this scientific difference, nitrogen does not escape through the tire rubber as quickly as compressed air does, hence maintaining a more constant tire pressure over time. Although compressed air is already composed of about 78 percent nitrogen with oxygen and other substances filling out the rest, only a nitrogen purity between 93 and 95 percent can achieve the ultimate tire pressure (long-term) results.
Compressed air has been in use to fill tires for a long time now so you’re probably wondering what’s the true difference between this and nitrogen. The main difference between the two is that compressed air, not having the purity of nitrogen (like we mentioned) is predisposed to seep through rubber – and to have moisture. Since the remaining oxygen has moisture, it is more likely to be subject to expansion thanks to our hot South Florida temperatures. The expanding and cooling that goes on inside the tire is significant enough to cause changes in pressure daily, which means your tires are constantly expanding, losing some air, and then returning to “normal.”
There are many proven benefits of proper and sustained tire pressure – your tires last longer as they wear down less with consistent use, your car handles the road better, and your fuel economy is maximized. Oftentimes, under-inflated tires increase your chances of a blowout as they work harder and are at risk of overheating, thus, putting you in danger. Studies also show that about 20 to 30 percent of your fuel consumption is directly related to your tire pressure. It’s in your best interest to either consistently check your tire pressure or make the switch to nitrogen.
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