We often hear suggestions that car tires should be filled with nitrogem, instead of normal air. There are many benefits that we know. As an example, nitrogen in our tires could keep tires 25 percent cooler, improve handling, maintain correct tire pressure and improve fuel mileage. Nitrogen may also increase the life of our tires. For safety reasons, NASCAR drivers have used nitrogen in their cars. We should be aware that normal air isn’t ideal for our car tires. It often contains high level of water vapor, instead of air. Compared to dry air, water vapor absorbs and holds heat.
Higher temperature inside our car could increase the pressure and this exerts pressure to the tire wall. After prolonged uses, it is more likely for our car tires to experience blow outs. So, when our tires have correct pressure when they are cold, the pressure could become higher, above the standard, when they are hot. Other than water vapor, normal air also contains about 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent of other gases. The combination of water vapor and oxygen in our tires can be damaging. At higher pressure and temperature, both substances will corrode rubber, steel wheels and aluminum components can corrode more easily.
The oxidation process is something that we need to avoid whenever possible. Small particles can be released from oxidized aluminum and rusted steel surfaces. These particles could cause leakage due to clogged valve stems. Small amount of water vapor and oxygen may penetrate the tire wall, then come in contact with steel bead and belts inside the rubber wall. This could cause bead and belts to rust, weakening the whole structure. Nitrogen doesn’t penetrate rubber wall as easily and it doesn’t oxidize metal surface. Dry nitrogen is the most ideal filler for car tires. If oxygen level is reduced from 21 to 7 percent, we will be able to maintain the tire pressure to up to four times longer. This will ensure our safety on the highway.
In reality, nitrogen is more common in the atmosphere, compared to oxygen. Nitrogen is first used by long-haul trucks. Obviously, nearly pure nitrogen is a bit more expensive than normal air, because nitrogen needs to be separated. Also, it can be quite hard to find nitrogen at gas stations. Alternatively, we can purchase a small nitrogen tank, which is usually relatively affordable. Nitrogen tanks can be refilled at welding supply stores in your local area. Paint ball supply stores also provide nitrogen refill for our tank. However, nitrogen tanks should be handled carefully, especially those that can handle up to 3000 psi.It will be much easier to choose tanks with built-in regulator and it should be set at 50 psi. When filing the tire, it should clear the ground and we may jack the car up. Our tires should have 95 percent of dry nitrogen. This will significantly reduce the oxidation issue and all the possible hazards. We should repeat the process with three other tires.