Is Filling Your Tires With Nitrogen Better Than Oxygen

Is filling your tires with nitrogen better than filling them with oxygen? The short answer is: “Yes”.

Here’s the science to support that fact. You may be surprised to learn that the air we breathe is roughly 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen. That same air mixture gets pumped into your tires every time you fill up. You may be thinking, “Well, if it’s 78% already, shouldn’t that be enough? I mean, does 22% oxygen really make that much of a difference?” Again, the short answer is: “Yes”.

The key is how much oxygen gets displaced by that extra nitrogen. When the nitrogen content is increased from 78% to 99%, the oxygen content drops from 21% to less than 1%. The reason that this is good is that oxygen really isn’t that great for your tires to begin with. The problem with oxygen is that it expands when the tires get hot, this causes over-inflation and actually leaks out of the tires’ sidewalls at a much faster rate than nitrogen which is a much larger molecule. Ironically, this naturally occurring “over-inflation” directly causes “underinflation” which contributes to the degradation of the rubber. As if that isn’t enough, plain air contains water vapor which is corrosive to the metal rims as well as the tire pressure sensors.

Nitrogen has been used for many years in aircraft tires, racing cars and military vehicles, but how does it affect the average passenger car? Well, that really depends on the type and the amount of driving you do, as well as how faithfully you check your tire pressure. Not everyone has tire pressure monitors, though they are becoming standards on most new vehicles.

Your best bet is to give our service department a call and we can evaluate and advise you on whether or not nitrogen filled tires are right for you and your driving habits and circumstances.