Which One is Better For Tires: Nitrogen or Standard Air?

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Tires are designed and built to provide you an excellent service and driving comfort. So considering the fact that tires are always bearing some sort of load, be it your vehicle’s kerb weight or luggage, you can’t drive your car without inflated tires, and that’s where this topic comes in.

There are many brands of tires available in our local market including General Tyre, Yokohama, Michelin, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Continental, etc. Every tire has different quality, some are soft, and some are hard, some promise you road grip while others will offer the comfort of the drive. Considering the year and date of manufacturing an average shelf life of a tire lasts somewhere 4 to 5 years, and in terms of mileage, a tire lasts for 50,000 km’ to 70,000 km’, but this life depends upon many other factors as well:

  • Driving Style and usage i.e. Used on rough roads or smooth.
  • Timely Wheel alignment and balancing.
  • Interchange of all tires after every 10,000 km’ for wear and tear.
  • Proper Air/Nitrogen Pressure.

Tire manufacturer doesn’t recommend you any tire pressure; it’s the car mechanics or the pseudo auto-experts. Nonetheless, you can find this information in your car’ user manual. Uneven tire pressure can lead to quick wear and tear of a tire and can end up before time.

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Standard air is used for maintaining tire pressure. It’s easily available at every Petrol pump, tire shop, a service station, in fact, you can also use a portable air compressor for this purpose. Technology doesn’t stay at one place, every day we come to know about something new in the Automobile industry, the same thing happened with standard air in tires as well. Tires filled with compressed air start to loose it after a couple of days’ worth of use, which is primarily of the movement molecule mass from a high pressured region (Tires) towards a low pressured area, which results in the decrease of tire pressure.

Nowadays substitute of Standard Air is available in Pakistan, and that’s Nitrogen. Although it’s not easily available as standard air, it has its fair share of customers. Before moving towards Nitrogen, I would like to mention advantages and disadvantages of Standard Air usage in Tires.

ADVANTAGES

  • Easily available at every petrol station and roadside tire shop.
  • Affordable price

DISADVANTAGES

  • Air leaks quicker than Nitrogen
  • Air contains moisture
  • Air is flammable
  • Reduces tire life

Air Leakage- Air molecule is smaller than Nitrogen and with the passage of time, it skips through small pores of Tire’s rubber and thus results in low air pressure in tires. This results in Low fuel economy and gives you unstable drive due to unequal tires pressure.

Moisture in Air- We all know air contains humidity and when it’s filled in tires that moisture comes along with air and when it’s pressurized that water vapors liquefy and accommodates itself in tires, which is not good for tires. This accumulated water reduces tire lift and corrodes rims whether it’s made of Aluminium or Steel. More importantly, when the wheel spins at high speed, this moisture heats up and vaporizes creating an increased pressure inside the tires.

Air Is Flammable- Almost everyone knows air is one of the main components of Fire Triangle and it supports combustion reaction. If a car goes through an accident air in tires will have increased chance of catching fire.

Tire Life- Seepage of air through tire’s microscopic pores & moisture in the air will lead to wear and tear of tires and will end up causing harm to Steel and Aluminium alloys. An unequal pressure in tires contributes in decreasing Tire’s Life as well.

Without any further delay let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Nitrogen.

ADVANTAGES OF NITROGEN

  • Low Escape Rate From Tires.
  • Moisture Free Gas
  • Non-Flammable

Low Escape Rate- As discussed earlier Nitrogen’s molecule is bigger and because of its characteristics it has a low tendency of escaping through rubber than normal air. As a result, Nitrogen inflated tires require fewer refills than normal air inflated tires. It reduces the frequency of your visits to a tire shop.

More Stable Drive- Nitrogen is a water-free gas. The absence of water content in Nitrogen gives you very stable tire pressure which gives you stable drive. Secondly, the absence of water content in Nitrogen adds extra life to tire’ as well as rim’s life.

Non-Flammable- Nitrogen is an inert gas. It does not take part in the combustion reaction. In fact, it has characteristics of extinguishing the fire, so if your vehicle goes through an accident Nitrogen won’t take part in combustion so, it’s good from safety’ point of view as well.

Some other advantages of Inflating Tires with Nitrogen are:

 

DISADVANTAGES OF NITROGEN

  • Not Available Easily
  • Heavy On Budget
  • Purity Issues

Availability Issues-  Like normal air Nitrogen is not easily available every where. For filling up tires with nitrogen one has to specially find out filling facility. As this is a new thing in Pakistani market and everyone is not aware of this, so you will find very few shops where you can find this facility.

 

Heavy On Pocket- Inflating vehicle’s tires with Nitrogen requires 93% to 95% Pure Nitrogen. As Nitrogen is not easily available in Pakistan so it will obviously be an expensive endeavor. A complete conversion towards nitrogen by parting ways with conventional air is expensive because air filled tires require several inflating and deflating with nitrogen to completely purge air out of it.

Other Factors- Keep it in mind that once tires are filled up with Nitrogen you are bound to fill up with Nitrogen only you cannot mix normal air with it.

I hope advantages and disadvantages of Nitrogen and Standard Air would have highlighted a clear picture. You can use Nitrogen if you fall in one or more categories below:

  1. You have a performance car, and you like to test its limits sometimes
  2. If you drive sparingly and your car sits unused for long intervals
  3. If you frequently use your car for long journeys

As this is a new thing in market i would suggest you to try it once for new experience, if you feel your vehicle is performing better than before you can stick to it and if not then obviously you can switch back to conventional air, which we all have been using successfully in our vehicles for years.

 

 

Muhammad Awais

An intellectual mind, Currently associated with Engro Corp, who intends to bring a positive change in Automobile industry with his opinions and favorable criticism.

Notable Replies

  1. Great Article. I was unaware that Nitrogen is an option (in Pakistan) for inflation of tyres. However, It doesn't look practical to me to use it as you have stated that you can't mix air with Nitrogen. If you are on a long journey (with or without family) and get two tyres punctured, what are you gonna do then? You'll have to refill all tyres with air.
    Do you know any shops in Lahore offering Nitrogen for tyres inflation?

  2. Isn't air already a mixture containing 78% Nitrogen?

  3. Funny to read su h a misleading article.
    Air already contains almost 80% nitrogen and tire manufacturers have no preference stated anywhere that use of nitrogen will enhance anything.... Its just another way to fleece some people.

  4. What would happen if we fill it with helium gas?

  5. Nitrogen is available from this tire shop: Autoexpress

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