Nitrogen tyre inflation is becoming common practice. Using nitrogen rather than air has advantages and disadvantages. This is not a new idea. The benefits of nitrogen in tyres has been hotly debated ever since the inert gas floated across from the high-performance arena and into the tyres of your everyday, commuter vehicle.
Why is nitrogen used in tyres?
Nitrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic gas that forms about 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. The claimed benefits of nitrogen over compressed air for inflating tyres are that it:
- Reduces the tyre’s running temperature
- Improves the ride quality
- Increases tyre life
- Keeps tyre pressures more constant
- Slows the rate of pressure loss
- Doesn’t react with the tyre and rim materials
Why is this important?
We’ve said it many times before and we’re happy to say it again: under-inflated tyres are dangerous to your health and your hip-pocket. A tyre inflated to the incorrect pressure has reduced grip and impinges on your ability to control the car. Even a marginally deflated tyre has a marked reduction in capacity to displace water. When a tyre cannot properly displace water, it aqua planes and you have zero control over what happens next.
Also, under-inflated tyres wear faster due to increased friction, which means you’ll have to replace them sooner than would otherwise be necessary. We’ve seen tyres that have had their life span reduced by half due to under-inflation. And, yes, if more of your tyre’s surface is in contact with the road, the harder your car has to work to create movement, and a hard-working car has a hard-earned thirst. You can basically watch the petrol gauge plummet.
Now, nitrogen-filled tyres don’t maintain their pressure indefinitely; you do have to check them every once in a while. But it does mean they’ll stay properly inflated for longer, which is particularly good for people with super-busy lifestyles or those absent-minded individuals who only remember to check their tyres’ pressure once in a blue moon.