Nitrogen vs. Oxygen as Gas in Your New Tires

Tires are designed to work best when they have the ideal inflation pressure inside. A tire having the correct inflation pressure carries the vehicle’s load, as well as enhances the tire's performance, durability and contributes to vehicle’s overall fuel economy.


Your tires are inflated with gas.  Typically this gas is “compressed air.”  You get this “compressed air” from a machine at a gas station, tire store, auto repair shop, Etc.  Usually you put a quarter in a machine (sometimes it’s free), and fill your tires with “compressed air.”  This “compressed air,” is roughly 78% nitrogen gas, 21% oxygen gas, and 1% “other” gases.  


As a matter of physics, all gasses expand when heated and contract when cooled.  The compressed gas in your tires will rise and fall with changes in temperature.  The rate of expansion and contraction is about one psi (Pound per Square Inch) for every 10 degrees in temperature change. RohrmanDiscountTire.com recommends you check your vehicles tire pressures early in the morning before the sun heats up the day, or heat is generated in your tires by driving your vehicle.


Did you know your tires are porous? The rubber compound that makes up your tires may look solid, but they have minute spaces or holes through which liquid or air may pass. It's been estimated that up to one psi of pressure may escape from a tire each month.


When you fill your tires with “compressed air” at a service location often what comes out of the machine contains varying degrees of moisture depending on relative humidity that day and the machines ability to dry the air before it goes in your tires.  This moisture can lead to corrosion & rust and that will have adverse effect on you tires as well.


So you have a lot of things working against keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated.  What can be done to help maintain more constant tire pressures?  Can we fill them with a different gas?  Pure nitrogen has been used to inflate certain types of tires for years.  Nitrogen is a non-flammable gas that’s molecules have a more difficult time escaping through the minute spaces or holes in a tires rubber compound molecules. Additionally nitrogen is a dry gas.
What are the benefits of using pure nitrogen to inflate tires?

  • Nitrogen gas molecules have a more difficult time passing through rubber compound helping maintain the vehicle's required tire pressures a little longer.
     
  • Using nitrogen gas in your vehicle’s tires may provide a more consistent tire pressure. A tire having the correct inflation pressure carries the vehicle’s load, as well as enhances the tire's performance, durability and contributes to vehicle’s overall fuel economy.
     
  • Nitrogen is non-corrosive and a dry gas.  This will promote better sealing of the tires to the wheel rims.
     
  • RohrmanDiscountTire.com recommends drivers to use compressed air if adjustments are required and nitrogen is unavailable. This reduces the benefit of running 100% nitrogen but it is better than running on under-inflated tires.
     
  • Nitrogen gas is still affected by changes in temperature, the same as “compressed air,” about one psi for every 10 degrees in temperature change. Although, nitrogen assures more consistent pressure increases compared to compressed air

So what should a vehicle owner do?


If you haven’t already guessed, RohrmanDiscountTire.com highly recommends filling your vehicles tires with nearly pure nitrogen.  All of our 13 Chicagoland locations have invested in an on-site nitrogen generator system to fill your tires. Visit our Locations Page to find a location nearest you.


Is it worth it?


RohrmanDiscountTire.com thinks so.  Each of our service centers offers nitrogen fill for your tires at a greatly discounted and reasonable price that including periodic adjustments for the life of the tire.