AutoTech Basic Maintenance Should I Invest in a Nitrogen Tyre Inflator? 

Should I Invest in a Nitrogen Tyre Inflator? 

Should I Invest in a Nitrogen Tyre Inflator?  post thumbnail image

Some aspects of car maintenance may be difficult to understand at a first glance. For example, if its tires are new and in good condition, they have no reason to let air out, right? And yet, what we see in practice is that it happens. We can notice it by the fact that the tires continuously lose pressure. 

Sadly, we have to live with that effect for the simple reason that tires are not perfect air containers. However, that does not mean the car industry has given up. The nitrogen tyre inflator is a solution which many consumers are using nowadays. Now, is it as good as everyone says? Let’s check it out!

Why do my tires lose pressure? 

First of all, the tip we use to pump air inside the tire is not a perfect seal. But the main reason is the fact that tires use porous material. Air molecules are very small, so there is always a given amount that leaves the tire through all those pores. That effect is more intense under temperature changes. 

The practical result of that effect is that we need to top up the pressure of our tires regularly. If we neglect this task, our car will ride on different conditions than it is supposed to. There will be larger contact patches between tires and ground, which leads to higher fuel consumption and faster wear. 

Why use a nitrogen tyre inflator? 

Remember what we saw about tire pores? Well, it turns out that nitrogen has larger molecules than air. It is harder for them to leak through those pores, which means that the tire loses pressure more slowly. A nitrogen tyre inflator would make your car run with good pressure for a much longer time. 

The thing is, this situation is theoretical. All those effects do happen in practice, but there are other factors we have to consider. The main one is simple: cost. Filling a new car tire with nitrogen costs from $70 to $179, which is immensely more than filling the tire with pure air. That raises questions. 

Is filling tires with nitrogen worth it? 

A typical car tire loses from 1 to 2 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air pressure per month. Nitrogen is supposed to reduce that amount and it does. However, studies show that it only reduces that by around one third. When we dig deeper, it is easy to understand why that improvement is so small. 

We have to remember that regular air is already made of nitrogen in its majority – 78{071dac3b792182b7ff354219af17b091fc048e35d91bc7c4d55e5384d5583fd1} plus oxygen and other gases. Besides that, there is no perfectly pure nitrogen gas, so we can assume that we are only getting around 95{071dac3b792182b7ff354219af17b091fc048e35d91bc7c4d55e5384d5583fd1} of it. In other words, using nitrogen brings a quite low increase of quantity. 
All things considered, we can only recommend inflating tires with nitrogen in specific situations like race car tires. For city use, this change would only delay the issue, rather than eliminating it, and it would cost a fortune. It is much more advisable to keep using air and paying attention to your tires.