Nitrogen Tire Inflation 101: Myth or Truth?

Nitrogen Tire Inflation 101: Myth or Truth?

You may have heard about or seen nitrogen tire inflation advertised, or you may have even been offered the service for your own vehicle.  Since it is a relatively new service offering for most dealers and shops, you may not know very much about it.  Read on as we talk about some common ideas that people have about nitrogen tire inflation and confirm whether they’re truth or myth.

Having my tires filled with nitrogen is expensive.

MYTH: Having your tires converted to nitrogen inflation is a minimal expense when compared with the increase you can get from a tire’s lifespan.  In addition, many places that offer this service also offer free nitrogen fill-ups for the life of the tire.

Tires filled with nitrogen hold pressure better than those filled with compressed air. 

TRUTH: Nitrogen doesn’t leak through the tire and sidewalls as quickly as compressed air does, meaning that tires leak slower when it’s due to changing air or road temperature.  This is primarily because the oxygen molecules in compressed air are much smaller and will leak through the tire.

If I fill my tires with nitrogen, I won’t have to check my tire pressure. 

MYTH: Tires filled with nitrogen are no better when they encounter a cut or puncture.  You still need the check your tire pressure periodically to make sure they are maintaining the correct pressure.

If I have my tires inflated with nitrogen, I have to have them topped off with nitrogen.

MYTH: You can still reinflate your tires with compressed air if they are filled with nitrogen.  Depending on the amount of compressed air added, you may minimize some of the benefits of nitrogen inflation, but nitrogen inflation may not be available if you need your tires topped off in a pinch.

My tires might explode if I fill them with nitrogen. 

MYTH: Nitrogen is an inert, non-flammable gas and nitrogen inflation is a safe process.  Using nitrogen to inflate tires has been a common practice in racing, aircraft and public transportation for years.

My tires will last longer when they’re inflated with nitrogen.

TRUTH: Tires inflated with nitrogen will hold tires pressure longer.  This offers several benefits: improved traction, less chance of tire failure, improved gas mileage, better handling and less wear and tear on the tires.  All of these factors can help extend your tire’s life, allowing you to get more miles from them.