3 Ways Nitrogen-filled Tires Benefit Your Car
If you’ve ever gone in for your regular car maintenance service and noticed someone else had green valve caps on their tires, that means they have nitrogen instead of air. After figuring out that mystery, you are probably wondering “why?” Because, nitrogen actually provides benefits for your tires, and your car, that air-filled tires can’t. Nitrogen retains tire pressure longer, doesn’t come with water, and leads to better fuel economy thanks to the long-term pressure retention. These aren’t only beneficial, but make maintaining your tires much easier.
Even if it’s slightly more expensive to fill your tires with nitrogen, and it’s harder to find nitrogen pumps as opposed to air pumps, the benefits it provides can’t be ignored.
Long-Term Tire-Pressure Retention
Over time, a tire will slowly lose pressure. This is a very well-known fact if you’ve owned a car for any extended period of time. Changes in temperature accelerate this annoying factor, and your tires will lose most of their pressure in the winter. This is because the cold causes the air to seep through the tire walls, but a 10 degree fluctuation will also result in a loss of 1 psi; whether it’s cold-to-hot, or hot-to-cold.
Nitrogen has more stable pressure than oxygen, because the molecules are larger. Therefore, it won’t seep through the tire walls as easily.
Pure, Dry Nitrogen
Another reason for this long-term tire-pressure retention is because nitrogen is a dry substance. The air pumps that you use to fill up your tires can actually have water in them, thanks to the humidity that collects inside of them. If the pump isn’t properly maintained, that water and humidity also gets into your tire when you fill it up. Not only do you have water sitting in your tires, which results in rot if it sits there long enough, it will turn into gas when the tire heats up; which results in an increase in pressure. As you know, a fluctuation in pressure results in a loss of psi; which reduces the fuel economy of the vehicle.
However, nitrogen is a dry substance. That means when you fill your tires up, that’s all you are getting. no humidity and no water means no chance of pressure change; resulting in better fuel economy.
Leads to Better Fuel Economy
According to the EPA, tires that are under-inflated reduce fuel economy. More specifically, a car will suffer a 0.3 percent hit to gas mileage for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Over time, and if neglected, that adds up to a noticeable loss in fuel-efficiency. Since nitrogen tires have a longer retention rate, and the pressure doesn’t fluctuate as much, that means your car will experience maintained fuel economy over an extended period of time.
While it has a longer retention rate, the nitrogen-filled tires will still lose pressure eventually; it just takes longer. Plus, if you are diligent about checking your tires once a month, you can off-set the loss in fuel-efficiency. Even so, the fact there won’t be water inside your tires, and your vehicle will experience increased fuel economy, are still great benefits.