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I had my car serviced today and they asked me if I would I like nitrogen put into my tires. I had them do it. Evidently nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tire rubber than is oxygen, which means that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term. Racers figured out pretty quickly that tires filled with nitrogen rather than air also exhibit less pressure change with temperature swings. Any of you aware of this? It's new to me.
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Air is about 79% Nitrogen. It's a scam.
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ditto.
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Air is about 79% Nitrogen. It's a scam.

Actually it's about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and small amounts of other gasses like argon and carbon dioxide. However, the 21% oxygen does cause oxidation of the rubber on the inside of the tires, which can make the tires brittle, and more likely to blow out. Keeping tires filled with nitrogen will prevent the oxidation on the interior of the tires. And I do find that my nitrogen filled tires are less likely to set off my TPMS when the weather turns cold. I used to get TPMS alerts 3 or 4 times during every fall when I had tires that used air - now, with the nitrogen filled tires, it's usually only once. That said, if I needed to fill a tire and the only option was filling with air, I would use air rather than waiting to fill with nitrogen. The guys at Costco (where I bought the latest tires, and they only use nitrogen) said that I would just need to let them know the next time I came in for service.

AJ
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Air is about 79% Nitrogen. It's a scam.

How can it be a scam? I’m sure there are exceptions around, but every place I’ve seen that offers nitrogen doesn’t charge anything more for it. Costco, which has the cheapest tires and installation around (here), uses only nitrogen.

Bruce
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CMF_bru5ce asks,

<<Air is about 79% Nitrogen. It's a scam.>>

How can it be a scam? I’m sure there are exceptions around, but every place I’ve seen that offers nitrogen doesn’t charge anything more for it. Costco, which has the cheapest tires and installation around (here), uses only nitrogen.

</snip>


It depends what you're paying for the nitrogen. If it's free, take it.

But unless you're running a Formula One race car in competition, it's of only marginal benefit. I wouldn't even pay $2 more for a set of 4 nitrogen-inflated tires.

intercst
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Keeping tires filled with nitrogen will prevent the oxidation on the interior of the tires. And I do find that my nitrogen filled tires are less likely to set off my TPMS when the weather turns cold.

AJ, you continue to amaze me at the diversity of your knowledge.

My understanding is the same, although, the less oxidation aspect is less a factor. My understanding is that it is real in terms of more stable pressure, Partially in that there is less diffusion through the rubber, as well as nitrogen does not hold as much water vapor. The water vapor is a significant factor in temperature related expansion/contraction. But you need like 95% N2 so many folks get diluted with tire checks and top-offs, etc.

You probably are just as efficient at maintaining if you do monthly checks on your pressure and maintain them. That reminds me, I need to go do March's tire check..........there's the rub, I can't remember to do them monthly.

LakeDog
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If you have ever worked with a compressor, you know it is standard to drain water out the bottom of the compressed air tank. It follows that compressed air is saturated with moisture. Ie, 100% humidity for the temperature.

If you have air in your tires, the water can freeze to ice.

Nitrogen should be dry.
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None of you are wrong with the benefits and their marginality in passenger tires. I believe the most beneficial aspect is that the N2 molecule is larger than the O2 molecule and migration through the tire is less of a factor so pressure loss over time is not as significant.
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However, the 21% oxygen does cause oxidation of the rubber on the inside of the tires,

Not much oxidation. Tires have anti-oxidants and anti-ozonants added to the butadiene to stop that from happening.
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Have been running nitrogen in my tires for several years. From my standpoint, I think it is great because I despise having to put air in the tires several times a year due to temp change. My chevy shows me the pressure in each tire and it is phenomenally constant with the nitrogen. Will never go back!!
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From my standpoint, I think it is great because I despise having to put air in the tires several times a year due to temp change.

Let's say your tires are filled to 40 psi with air and some O2 escapes and your pressure drops to 36 psi. That means (approx) you started with a partial pressure of 32 psi for N2 and 8 psi for O2...half escaped and you now have 36 psi.
You fill up with air to 40 psi so you now have 32 psi N2 + 4 psi O2 plus 3.2 psi new N2 and 0.8 psi new O2...or 35.2 N2 and 4.8 O2.
Rinse and repeat once or twice more and you can see that, in theory, you'll have >95% N2, just like if you paid for it.
If your tires continue to deflate it is probably something else.

Mike
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I think it is great because I despise having to put air in the tires several times a year due to temp change.

Also, the ideal gas law, PV = nRT, is independent of whether it is N2 or O2. If T decreases, P decreases.
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Also, the ideal gas law, PV = nRT, is independent of whether it is N2 or O2. If T decreases, P decreases.

I don't disagree. But in my experience, the tire pressure sensors alerted more often when I had tires filled with air compared to my current nitrogen filled tires. So, whether it's the size of the molecules (and N2 does have more volume than O2) or the tires themselves, I'm happier with my nitrogen filled tires than I was with my air filled tires. And since I don't have to pay to fill my tires with nitrogen, and I got a better deal on the new tires at Costco (where they only use N2) than the other tire shops in my area, it's actually cheaper for me to use tires with N2.

AJ
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But in my experience, the tire pressure sensors alerted more often when I had tires filled with air compared to my current nitrogen filled tires. So, whether it's the size of the molecules (and N2 does have more volume than O2) or the tires themselves, I'm happier with my nitrogen filled tires than I was with my air filled tires. And since I don't have to pay to fill my tires with nitrogen, and I got a better deal on the new tires at Costco (where they only use N2) than the other tire shops in my area, it's actually cheaper for me to use tires with N2.

Hard to argue with results. I have nitrogen filled costco tires too.
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