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Thread: Nitrogen Tire Inflation
11-21-2010, 07:45 PM #1
Nitrogen Tire Inflation
I bought my BFG T/A KO's at Costco and they fill all their tires with nitrogen.
Apparently the nitrogen molecule is of a larger size and this reduces air loss through the pores of the tire.
Are there any other benefits?
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11-21-2010, 09:37 PM #2
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From what I read on the web and I would tend to agree.
Most tires are filled with compressed air, which when dry consists of about 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other gases by volume. Water vapor (humidity) can make up as much as 5 percent of the volume of air under worst-case conditions. Filling your tires with nitrogen mainly does two things: it eliminates moisture, and it replaces skinny oxygen molecules with fat nitrogen molecules, reducing the rate at which compressed gas diffuses through porous tire walls. That means, theoretically at least, that a tire filled with nitrogen retains optimal pressure longer, leading to more uniform tire wear and better gas mileage. The commonly quoted figure is that tires inflated to 32 psi get 3 percent better mileage than at 24 psi.
Does nitrogen make any practical difference? You couldn't prove it by me. I found no scientific tests showing that nitrogen-filled tires stayed inflated longer than average under normal conditions. A car-buff buddy was sure it worked but conceded he had only anecdotal evidence that it did.
11-21-2010, 10:00 PM #3
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Nitrogen is an inert gas that slows the formation of corrosion inside the wheels.
The bit about it being a fat molecule isnt really accurate, I ran a cryogenic gasseous spectra analyzer testing different types of gasses that we produced with cryogenic pumps (mostly Aviators Breathing Oxygen and Nitrogen) for the Navy at one of my duty stations for a few years and I can tell you from experience and the tech manuals that oxygen and nitrogen molecules are the same size (roughly since every molecule differs in size).
A benefit of nitrogen due to its low moisture and oxygen content is it isnt affected by temperatures and remains more stable than pressurized air when used in tires.
Aircraft have been using nitrogen vice air for years due to the rapid heating and cooling on tires during take-offs and landings.
I've yet to see any factual data that it increases fuel mileage though.
11-22-2010, 03:13 PM #4
I've seen trade publications on this. The real benefit is to long haul truckers who re-tread their tires a few times. The lack of moisture is the key issue as it limits wheel corrosion and that helps keep the wheels inflated. Also truckers usually check tire pressure during regular PM inspections and use other technology to keep tire pressure where it belongs to limit heat induced 'zipper' failures caused by the imbalance of dual tires causing extra sidewall flex and fatigue of the tire with greater pressure.
Several studies have shown that it doesn't help gas mileage. Your best key to mileage is a tire pressure gauge used on a regular basis.
On the other hand; this is becoming the latest item displayed at the new car stealerships giving them another reason to reach deeper into the average person's pocket.Still Loyal to GM after all these years...:shocked:
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11-22-2010, 06:10 PM #5
Here's some info from tirerack on nitrogen tire inflation.
Since it is available to me from costco at no cost I will stick with it and maybe I'll maintain better consistent tire inflation as the temperatures drop and less often having to fill them/top them off and less tire wear.
I have chrome wheels so the nitrogen may have some benefits against corrosion of the inner wheels.
Last edited by 1flyfisher; 11-22-2010 at 06:13 PM.
11-22-2010, 06:43 PM #6
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11-22-2010, 06:58 PM #7
I will continue to use compressed air. It's done its job for many years, with minimal if any increase in gas mileage and no real hard evidence that it is proven to be better. I won't switch to nitrogen, until my local gas station offers it and I can buy my own nitrogen filling compressor for my own garage. I have no need to spend any money to fill my tires with.
11-23-2010, 06:57 AM #8[/SIGPIC]2009 Chevy Silverado LT 1500 EXT CAB 4X4 Vortec 4.8L SFI,K&N air filter,Weathertech Floor Liners ,Weathertech Stone/Bug Deflector, Line X Spray On Bedliner, TruXport Rollup Tonneau Cover, Molded Mudguards, Viper 5701 LE 2 way Security Alarm/Remote Starter, Xm Satelite Radio,BILSTEIN 5100 rear shocks,BILSTEIN 5100 front levelling shocks,READYLIFT 2" rear lift blocks,Goodyear Wrangler Territorys -265/70R 17"
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