Filling tires with pure nitrogen

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by elkosith, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. elkosith

    elkosith Maha Guru

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    Anyone use pure nitrogen for vehicle's tires?

    For a car it costs ~ $2.5/tire for first time filling and ~ 50c/tire for maintaining pressure.

    For a motorcycle it costs ~ $1/tire for first time filling and ~ 25c/tire for maintaining pressure.

    Is it worth it? Opposed to free regular air available at most gas stations?

    I read some articles about it and they say the benefits are mostly related to extreme temperature (very high and very low) which won't happen in normal driving condition.
     
  2. Speed Weed

    Speed Weed Maha Guru

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    Nitrogen isn't a flammable gas, and it's heavier than air.
    Probably keeps the tyres cooler as well at high speeds.
     
  3. thatguy91

    thatguy91 Ancient Guru

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    Nitrogen supposedly means less tyre wear since unlike oxygen, it isn't an oxidising.agent. The nitrogen fill needs to he clean, dry pure nitrogen, the air you breathe is 78 percent nitrogen anyway.

    I actually have it on my car, from when the tyres were new. You seem to get a lot more distance and time between needing to top up the tyres with more nitrogen. So far, it seems worth it for me. Keep in mind though if you ever put normal air in, you will need to start again with a refill round.
     
  4. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Nitrogen is lighter than oxygen, molecular mass of 28 vs. 32, but really not worth the expense IMO. F1 and tour de france tyres are helium filled for lightness.
     

  5. jbmcmillan

    jbmcmillan Ancient Guru

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    Not around here they charge a buck for air at most places for a limited time.
     
  6. Elder III

    Elder III Ancient Guru

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    Yeah it's anywhere from 0.50 to $1.50 for a few minutes at most gas stations around here too. I have seen it offered for free sometimes, but that's pretty rare.
     
  7. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Nitrogen doesn't "expand" at the same rate as "normal air" when heated so the tire pressure is more constant. With "normal air", the pressure increase due to expansion is like 1PSI for every 10 degrees (Fahrenheit). imho, paying for Nitrogen is a waste of money....
     
  8. Leodie

    Leodie Master Guru

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    Nitrogen stabilize the pressure in the tyre better than air when the heat builds up. (Racing, trackday events)

    And does not leak out as easily as air over time... (only what i have heard, don´t know if its true)
     
  9. INSTG8R

    INSTG8R Ancient Guru

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    Get outta here they are charging for air now?
     
  10. WindtalkerCS

    WindtalkerCS Master Guru

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    charging for air isn't exactly the same as charging for use of a compressor to pump the air up to higher PSI.

    Go ahead and try to drive your car with atmospheric pressure in your tires.
     

  11. elkosith

    elkosith Maha Guru

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    Yea I know that the air is mostly nitrogen, that's why I'm asking about the benefit of filling pure nitrogen in tires. I think I will try it. It's not that expensive anyway.

    Here, Shell and some Pertamina (local oil company) stations provide compressors, free of charge.

    Actually I remembered a friend of mine told me that his motorcycle's tire didn't need to be refilled for months using pure nitrogen.
     
  12. scoter man1

    scoter man1 Ancient Guru

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    I wouldn't bother with it unless it's free. The only time I ever have to fill my tires is when it's starting to snap below 20f. Then at least one more time we hit the -10f degree month. It seems to need to be filled a whole lot more when it's that cold.

    I can't imagine the weight or "non oxidizing" part of it would be much of a benefit, if at all. Oh boy! My 3,500 pound car weighs 2 pounds less!
     
  13. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    It's mostly a gimmick, honestly. Especially the claims about fuel economy gains. If you keep your tires pressurized properly to ~32PSI all year round, you wont notice any difference going to nitrogen. If you're lazy as **** and never check, then it might be worth it.
     
  14. INSTG8R

    INSTG8R Ancient Guru

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    I have 2 gas station in my tiny town and have lived here almost 11yrs never would even think that they would charge me for air. I used to live in Toronto a decade ago before I moved here and again paying for air would be unheard of.
    I guess things have changed alot over there
     
  15. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    Most auto shops have free air where I live. Gas stations have "pay 2 use" compressors now a days. But it's better than none at all.
     

  16. ShadowMyth

    ShadowMyth Ancient Guru

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    It's a gimmick and wasted money as others have pointed out.
     
  17. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    I did a bit of research.... Basically, I needed a good laugh...

    Here are the myths.....source will be linked below the marketing myths...

    If you like traction....which most of us do, you'd want the tread patch as flat as possible anyway.....and after 3 months, my tires were STILL at 32psi.
    Ummm, not sure how to explain this except to say that I recently dismounted a set of 12 year old tires that had no signs of "dry crack" on the inside. Basically, just scare mongering. The outside of the tire will still dry-rot in the same amount of time and the tire will wear just as fast. The paved road is an abrasive after all.
    Under-inflated tires are LESS prone to blowing out because there's less pressure. That's common sense. Well, actually, a blow-out typically occurs when a tire is struck by a "foreign object" in the path of travel, generally on the side-wall. "foreign objects" typically found in the path of travel, really don't care what type of gas was used to inflate the tire. Whether the tire was inflated with "regular air" or Nitrogen, any sharp object (under the right conditions) will puncture the tire.
    My personal favorite myth. If your tires are inflated to the proper pressure....Nitrogen has absolutely zero benefit. The automakers actually take into account the pressure increase when a tire heats up. That's why they list a "cold" tire pressure. You actually get BETTER fuel mileage after the tire heats up.
    The "new" myth going around. The old myths weren't pulling in enough suckers. Pavement is an abrasive....rubber sticks VERY well to abrasives. Common sense, right? When you turn a corner, neither the tire nor the pavement care what gas was used to inflate the tire. The going is going to roll.....which they're actually designed to handle. The tire, however, will not "roll off the rim"....unless of course it's flat.....

    So, if "Nitrogen fill" was so great.....why is all the marketing based around proven lies? You'd think something go great would use honest marketing tactics. The reason the marketing is all lies, is because there is no proven benefit to Nitrogen fill at all....unless of course you're supplying the equipment and nitrogen tanks. Then there's a financial benefit.

    As promised, here's a link to the above quoted myths...
    http://gogreeninyourhome.com/automotive-savings/nitrogen-filled-tires-improves-gas-mileage/

    That's a myth actually.... Nitrogen leaks out.... "Regular air" will expand and contract depending on temperature. Nitrogen will do the same, but not to the same extent. The contracting can give the impression of air loss because as the molecules contract, pressure drops. When the air heats up, the molecules expand. As the rubber heats, air (and nitrogen) will slowly seep out through microscopic pours in the rubber.

    Nitrogen fill does improve fuel mileage. The claims are just extremely over-exaggerated.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  18. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    I agree with everything except for the idea that under inflated tires aren't more likely to blow out. I guess it depends how we define "blowout", but from what I understand a severely under inflated tire encounters a lot of structural stress where the steel belts connect, which can cause the tire to disintegrate.
     
  19. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    If the tire is deflated to the point where the rim is putting pressure on the sidewall and not the bead, then yes, you're correct. If the tire is deflated to the point where the sidewall is contacting the road, then yes, you're correct. If the tire is simply a few PSI low, then no, there is no risk of a "blow out".

    Under-inflated tire doesn't put any more stress on the belts than they're designed to handle. It does put more stress on the cords in the sidewall, but again, not any more than they're designed to handle.

    I'll go back shortly and correct that portion to be a bit more specific. But, the claim that Nitrogen will actually reduces the risk of a blow-out is laughable at best. If the tire is punctured, the chance of a blow-out is equal whether "regular air" or Nitrogen was used to inflate the tire.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  20. Fender178

    Fender178 Ancient Guru

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    This reminds me of the one episode of The Mythbusters where they filled a football up with helium to see if it fly farther which turned out to be untrue.

    With that being said I do not see how filling tires up with hydrogen would make any difference with how the car acts or Miles per gallon.
     

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