Ask car owners what they fill their tires with, and you’ll probably get a litany on why nitrogen vs air is much better than the other. Some people claim one is better than the other, and they swear their life on it. Some claim one option is much safer than the other. But let’s separate the chaff from the wheat, shall we? Let’s try to find out the truth behind using nitrogen or good ‘ol air in your tires. Lastly, let’s try to find out if there is indeed any reason why you should choose nitrogen over air. Ready? Let’s start filling!
Why should you even bother?
Before we go and discuss what to fill your tires with, let’s try to talk about why you should be inflating your car’s tires. Well, you need your tires to be inflated to be able to drive the thing, but we’re talking about proper inflation. If you are wondering why we are talking about this now, then just hold your breath. We’ll get there.
Any car owner knows that if you want a smoother drive with better fuel economy, then you should always inflate your tires properly. Not only that, a properly inflated tire helps in ensuring your tire wears evenly and slowly. Lastly, a properly inflated tire provides a much safer drive.
How special is nitrogen in tires?
Since time immemorial, car owners have filled their tires with regular air. There’s no real reason why you would think to fill it up with anything else. But some “specialty” vehicles like airplanes and race cars use nitrogen to fill their tires.
Why use nitrogen vs air? It’s due to several things that can be attributed to the natural properties of nitrogen. However, do these unique attributes mean anything to Michael, who owns a 2003 Honda Accord? Let’s talk about the many claims and the natural world implications of these claims to your average car owner.
Claim #1: Nitrogen does not leak as fast as compressed air and will help keep your tire pressure at a safe level for a longer time.
- Truth: No regular car tire is ever “leakproof,” and tiny molecules of air (or nitrogen, for that matter) still escape over time. The amount you lose is almost close to negligible (in the event you notice you are losing more pressure than usual with zero punctures or valve damage, then you need to replace your tire), and it does not matter if you use compressed air or nitrogen. Also, when you do get a valve malfunction or puncture, compressed air and nitrogen escape at a similar rate.
Claim #2: Nitrogen does not get affected by temperature changes and will be a better choice in keeping consistent tire pressure regardless of climate.
- Truth: While it is true that nitrogen inflated tires can maintain pressure longer than regular compressed air-filled tires, you can only feel the difference when the change is severe. This is the reason why airplanes use nitrogen in their tires, as the temperature can change significantly between landing and takeoff. You can’t expect to experience these dramatic temperature changes in normal driving conditions, so this quality has little to no benefit to a regular car owner.
Claim #3: Using nitrogen will make your tire maintenance-free as you do not need to check the pressure as much.
- Truth: Nothing is truly “maintenance-free” if you want a safe ride. Whether you put nitrogen or compressed air in your tires, it is still good practice to check the pressure from time to time to check for slow leaks.
Claim #4: Compressed air is full of oxygen and moisture that can damage your tire’s inner linings, which can damage your wheel.
- Truth: Most modern compressed air systems you can find in tire shops already have moisture separators in place that remove water vapor from the air supply. Not only does this protect the tires and wheels of their customers, but also their very own tools. Also, the chances of your tires suffering damage solely from oxygen and moisture are rare if not unheard of.
So when should I use nitrogen vs air?
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with choosing nitrogen over compressed air, but there’s nothing too special either. You can always fill your tires with nitrogen, but be wary that places that offer such services can be sparse in certain areas. This means that if you need to refill in an unfamiliar location, then you might have a hard time doing so.
Compressed air is still the best if you are looking for a no-nonsense solution. There are no studies showing nitrogen to be superior to compressed air, so plain air is just fine if you don’t feel like changing.
Fast And Friendly Auto Repair At T3 Atlanta
After filling up your tires with nitrogen or compressed air from your favorite tire shop, you can then head down to T3 Atlanta to get everything else checked up. We are one of the most trusted auto repair shops in the Atlanta Metro Area. We service Lexus, Infiniti, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Give us a call today, and let us handle all your auto repair needs.