Does Nitrogen in Car Tires make sense?
I have been getting questions about nitrogen in car tires a lot lately so I’ll talk about it here.
First the pros:
Nitrogen has been used for years on aircraft and race car tires. Nitrogen is a larger molecule than just plain old air and therefore it does not pass through the rubber as easily. This allows for much more stabile air pressure and less fluctuation in air pressure due to ambient air temperature or local air pressure. What this means to you is you will not have to worry about the air pressure in your tires nearly as much (if you do) and you can finally shut that TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) up.
Nitrogen is also what they call dry. There can be a bunch of moisture in ambient air and when that is in the tire it tends to rot the rubber from the inside out. Nitrogen will not do that.
In short, what they claim is true. Installing nitrogen in your tires will cause the tires to require less maintenance and hassle.
Now the cons:
Often folks want money to install nitrogen in your tires.
Also it makes it hard to adjust the tire pressures because you can only do it with more nitrogen.
Do the pros outweigh the cons?
In my humble opinion, only if you get the nitrogen installed and maintenanced for free. The benefits you get from having it do not, again in my opinion, justify the cost. Since we at The Car Care Place check and adjust your tire pressures for free every time we see your vehicle I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would actually pay for nitrogen.
On aircraft tires that deal with severe temperature and pressure variables it is critical. On a passenger vehicle, I believe, it is way, way overkill. The folks that created the machines for the race track and aircraft are simply following the old rule in marketing. Create a market and fill it.
If your supplier will fill your tires and maintain the pressures with nitrogen for free by all means go for it. Some will just want to have you continue to visit their store so they can sell you other stuff. That machine costs between $9000 and $14000 depending on the quality. Imagine what they have to sell in order to pay for that.
If your supplier wants to charge you for this wonderful stuff, walk away.
Your hard earned cash can be much better spent on you.
Just my $.02