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Thread: Is there justification for paying $40 to have your tires filled with nitrogen?

  1. #1

    Is there justification for paying $40 to have your tires filled with nitrogen?

    The garage that I go to tells me it is better for the tire. What exactly does the nitrogen do?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    wishing I was in Montreal
    Quote Originally Posted by Morocco Mole View Post
    What exactly does the nitrogen do?
    I've had nitrogen in my tires for about 2yrs.

    Although there are conflicting reports in the press, one benefit is the tire pressure does not change regardless of hot/cold temperatures. The nitrogen molecule does not react like oxygen. My car has a TPMS (tire pressure monitor system) and in 2yrs it has not reported any change. It also seems that the ride is more firm, without being rough, over various surfaces.

    Another benefit reported is tire wear. My Pirelli P-Zero low-profile tires have lasted 26,000 miles, mostly highway, but I'm not sure if that's low, average or high. It does mean I don't have to spend the big-bucks to replace them as often.

    I noticed a better ride (my friends may say I drive aggressively) within a few miles after picking up my car. My dealer recommended the nitrogen after the owner had tried it in his Audi A8L for a couple of months.

    note: the tire needs to be inflated & deflated a few times to get the proper % nitrogen. Some dealers/mechanics/tire shops have been reported to only inflate the tires once. This does absolutely nothing, but they'll charge you for doing so.

    My simple answer would be, it depends on what you drive, the tires you use, and the type of driving you do. I would think the average vehicle/tire/driver would not see a big difference.

    I do not have any scientific sources to refer to, but the above is my experience... and in all things, YMMV!


    "No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied—it speaks in silence to the very core of your being."
    -Ansel Adams

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Morocco Mole View Post
    The garage that I go to tells me it is better for the tire. What exactly does the nitrogen do?
    Here's an intersting link:

    Reports at the bottom of the page

  4. #4
    IMHO You are paying $10 x 4 for little green caps that they put on your tire inflation tube.

  5. #5

    little green caps

    The earths' atmosphere is already 80% nitrogen ,and even a deflated tire is still full of air, so what are you realy getting?Most common gases expand at about the same rate for a given change in temperature.
    Cheers, playafter

  6. #6
    if you buy tires at Costco, nitrogen is free.

  7. #7
    Some reading to your question:

    Short version based on my personal experience. Nitrogen changes less with temperature fluctuations, so when it gets cold you will not have to add air. It also leaks slower through the rubber(yes all tires lose air over time), so less frequent fillings are required...which is also the reason for better fuel mileage (your tire are never under inflated). Do I believe in it, yes. Would I pay $40 for it, no way.

    Have fun,

    Last edited by Jman47; 11-05-2010 at 04:41 PM.
    Enjoy life my friends....

  8. #8
    Nitrogen is like oxygen with respect PV=nRT. It acts like an ideal gas. They relationship of volumem, temperature and pressure is the same.
    Nitrogen leaks less but the differance after a year wil be that the nitrogen tire lost 2 PSI and the air tire 3 PSI. During that time you would normally have changed tires from witere to summer and back and you would have gone in for car maintenance.

  9. #9
    Pimpin' ain't easy...
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Si ton auto est équipée de TPMS il est recommandé de gonfler tes pneus avec de l'azote, pcq l'azote ne contient pas d'humidité comme l'air, qui pourrait faire rouiller tes capteurs TPMS dans les roues. Sinon a toi de juger si ca vaut la peine de payer pou ne pas a avoir a vérifier la pression de tes pneus régulierement
    Last edited by Bucky; 11-05-2010 at 10:45 PM.
    You know "that look" women get when they want sex? Me neither. - Steve Martin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hey all!
    that $40 , 2 times a year!
    1x for summer
    1x for winter = $80?
    you used your tires for about 4 years
    $80x4=$320 ??????

    the Nitrogen is good for those that do not change tires twice a year!
    (like in california or texa's)

    here it's a joke!
    $$$ maker for tire shop's

    don't bother with this crap!!!!!

    Moby dick

  11. #11
    Another way for someone to make money of from suckers.
    The only difference is that normal compressed air is not dried and has the moisture content of the day the air was compressed. Normal methodes for Nitrogen separation from air will also dry it. If this compressed air was dried there would be no difference in normal applications. I.E. if the Nitrogen had moisture in it you would loose that benefit and you would see no difference.
    I know the expansion rate of Nitrogen and Oxygen are the same. Basic law of physics would be violated otherwise.
    Gas diffusion rate through the rubber would be nearly identical between the two but since Oxygen O2 is a larger molecule its diffusion rate would be less. However in either case it would be extremely low. Pressure losses are most likely from the seals and valves and not subject to gas differences (or from the tires being old and getting cracked, which would be pure leak and not diffusion with no gas difference).
    Overall I can see there may be a slight benefit for having the air or nitrogen dry, and as nitrogen is most likely dry and most compressed air is not, perhaps that is the difference you are seeing. But for $40 per fill you could quickly get ROI on a compressed air system with an air drier, or maybe go out and buy a bottle of compressed nitrogen, less the bottle and gauge deposite a large cyclinder of Nitrogen of commercal purity will be about the same as one fillup of your tires.
    However spend your money as you wish I am sure these people are happy to charge $40 for something that just costs pennies to them.

  12. #12
    Veteran of Misadventures EagerBeaver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
    Although there are conflicting reports in the press, one benefit is the tire pressure does not change regardless of hot/cold temperatures.
    This is important because with regular air in the tires, when it gets colder the air pressure monitor will set off the tire pressure warning light as it detects a change in the tire air pressure caused by colder temperatures. It is a real bug in newer models of Honda, and you cannot get that light off unless you take it in to their service department. Adding air will not necessarily work from what I understand.

  13. #13
    The problem with using Nitrogen is the false sense of security that pressure will not fluctuate. If you have a nail stuck in your tire the Nitrogen isn't going to stop an underinflated tire. I bought one of the new digital, lighted guages which is much easier than the old style to use, and I don't mind checking my air pressure often.

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