June 2012: Should You Consider Nitrogen For Your Tyres?
It is very well known that racing cars and aircraft tyres are inflated with nitrogen. Now the question is: Can you use nitrogen in your tyres to improve performance and tyre life?
Some may consider it so, while others will completely rule it out. Currently, the gas that is used to inflate tyres is condensed air which is basically composed of Nitrogen in proportion of 78%, Oxygen in proportion of 21% and other gases in variable proportions which cumulate to 1%.
Nitrogen In Commercial Use
As we have said before, nitrogen is currently being used to inflate aircraft tyres and F1 cars.
The main reason why nitrogen is used in aircraft tyres is because it is a dry gas, which means that there is no risk for the moisture in the inflated air to freeze while the plane travels at high altitudes where temperatures go below 40 degrees Celsius. If the aircraft tyres would be inflated with normal air, then moisture will freeze and it will greatly influence the balance of the plane while landing.
In terms of F1 automobiles nitrogen offers a substantial decrease in pressure difference resulted from temperature fluctuations, which improves the overall car’s performance. High car performance is crucial in racing, where even a split second can count.
Nitrogen for Household Tyres
Nitrogen is believed to be quite beneficial for car tyres as it gives two important benefits: decreased corrosion and reduced pressure loss.
Decreased corrosion is the result of the fact that nitrogen is dry air which holds no moisture, which means that there is no water, the main cause of corrosion.
The fact that the pressure rate of the tyre is decreasing slower is the result of the fact that the Nitrogen molecules are significantly larger than those of Oxygen, which, as we have said before, is 21% of the air used to normally fill the tyres and it’s also the air that usually leaks out.
Is It Achievable And Profitable?
Using nitrogen to fill car tyres is certainly achievable. However, it is not a profitable investment if we are to consider that the benefits it brings are not significant in comparison with the costs.
First of all, tyres lose air not only through the inner linen of the tyre, but also through the punctures or the valve as well as through the seal of the tyre and rim if a problem occurs with it. It is true that Nitrogen might leak out slower, but this means that you still need to check the pressure of your tyres on a regular basis.
Second, corrosion in the tyre is usually minimal with normal air, as only the outer tread band contains steel and the amount of moisture from the air that reaches it is considerably low and does not affect the integrity of the tyre.
Third, in order to use Nitrogen instead of normal air, the air from the tyres needs to be completely removed and the tyres re-inflated with Nitrogen. This means that besides the cost of the Nitrogen inflation there are additional costs which may vary depending on the service provider.
As a conclusion, if we are to put in balance the fact that the benefits are not significant in comparison with the costs and the hassle, we do not suggest in embarking on this investment yet.