My friend’s car needed alignment so we decided to try a new tire shop near his place. We went to the shop and after admiring the new alignment rig there, the next thing I saw was a dispenser saying ‘Nitrogen’. I have already heard and read on the online forums about the use of nitrogen in car tires, especially for use in motor racing.
This got me thinking if we here in Pakistan, as an ordinary car users, would benefit from something like this.
Well first, let’s talk about the benefits of pure nitrogen over your everyday air. The thing is air itself is a little less than 80% nitrogen, rest is oxygen and other gases. So it’s not like there are no traces of the gas when you get it filled from a roadside tire shop.
But the good thing about pure nitrogen is that it is less likely to escape the rubber of your car tire, compared to air mixed with all sorts of gases and impurities. It is also said pure nitrogen prevents the tire rot. And tires filled with nitrogen show less signs of changes to temperature, hence its use in auto racing, considering tires get all sorts of beating throughout the race.
If you have kept your eyes open when getting tires replaced, you might have seen signs of some light rust on the inside of the wheel when the tires are off. It is there because of the trapped water inside the tire, water that gets inside in the form of vapors when you get your tires inflated with regular air. Water inside your tire causes more drastic changes to temperature and tire inflation than a normal dry air would do. So if it’s pure nitrogen inside the tire, and no moisture, it means less corrosion.
So yes, in short nitrogen does have its benefits. But the thing is, if it is worth paying extra for nitrogen. Well it all depends on what you drive and where you drive it. You driving conditions will dictate a lot in this regards. If you have a relatively new car with fancy alloys and expansive rubber, and you drive a lot on high speeds, you should definitely consider getting nitrogen for your car. But if you still have your regular steel wheels and air escape through them every now and then, or you end get up getting punctures because of where you drive, frequently, maybe you should stick with good ol’ air.
Nitrogen definitely has its merits, but you are the best judge, if you will benefit from it or not.