You’ve probably heard your friends or friends-of-friends talking about putting nitrogenin your tires as a way to enhance performance. But you probably have questions like everyone else, but it is a fairly uncommon thing to do — for most drivers on the roads of Northern Virginia. Rather than wonder and stew, here is some basic information on what you should know about nitrogen in your tiresand how you can benefit from its use.
According to recent reports, inflating tires with nitrogen can add up to 50 percent to the tires’ life when compared to those simply filled with traditional air. As a recent article in Popular Mechanics explains “nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tire rubber than is oxygen, which means that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term.” Also, tires filled with nitrogen tend to show fewer signs of temperature-related pressure swings, again leading to proper tire inflation. We all learned as young drivers the importance of appropriate tire inflation and tire pressure. When tires lose air pressure they become “flat” and can wear unevenly, meaning the tire will not last as long. So, yes based on that idea alone, tires filled with nitrogen are more likely to last longer than tires filled with air.
So what about reducing the amount of gas used while driving your nitrogen-filled tires? Well, again, this goes back to tire pressure. Manufacturers recommend a certain tire pressure, for a variety of reasons, one of which is fuel efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy reports “you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.”
So, invest a little money, give nitrogen-filled tires a try and see if it makes a difference in your fuel economy. You may be see a difference in the handling or braking of your vehicle, but maybe you will see a difference at the pump.