TYRE INFLATION-Is Using Nitrogen A Good Thing?do we really need it

What are the benefits of using Nitrogen gas for tyre inflation ?

This is one of those things that I have been thinking about for a couple of years now? TYRE INFLATION. I had heard that nitrogen was been used in F1 car wheels and tyres and at first I thought it was a bit of a gimmick.

filling racing tyres with nitrogen gas


I also found out that the aircraft industry also used nitrogen gas for their tyre inflation to inflate their tyres, so I decided to look into the possibility of us using the gas to offer a better service to our customers. We are always trying to keep ahead by using the latest technology to make the job of fitting tyres much easier, as tyre development is heading at a fast pace, for example the  “run flat tyre” , without the latest tyre fitting machines it would be impossible to fit run flat tyres because of their very tough side walls.

My thought was that we already inflate tyres with 78% nitrogen, so what difference will it make ?.(the air that we breath consists of 78% nitrogen with 21% oxygen and 1% other gases) so why bother using 100% nitrogen for tyre inflation ?.

In car tyres the air will slowly escape through the inner lining of the tyre, it will also escape from the valve and the seal between the tyres bead and the wheel rim this happens even if the wheel is an alloy wheel or a steel wheel. The pure nitrogen will leak at a much slower rate, but it is important that the motorist still check the tyre inflation pressures at regular intervals.

One of the main benefits is that when normal compressed air is used for tyre inflation, then this leads to condensation forming inside the tyre, which then leads to corrosion of the bead area resulting in more air loss, this is a common problem and we have to clean most wheels with a wire brush and paste the bead area of the wheel with special paste to prevent further corrosion, when we fit a new tyre. When using nitrogen this problem is eliminated as the oxygen, which is the main problem is removed. This is why aircraft use nitrogen because at high altitude where the temperature is very cold, there is no water vapor inside the tyres to freeze thus eliminating any problems with ice in a frozen tyre on landing.

In motor racing F1 cars use nitrogen to eliminate any variation in the tyres temperature which could affect the cars performance ,by using nitrogen gas for tyre inflation this problem is not a problem because the tyres temperature remains more stable.

To use nitrogen for tyre inflation or not ?tyre inflation

This is the thing that is in my mind. Some tyre companies charge extra for the service, but the customer has to return to re-inflate there tyres with nitrogen and in a busy tyre bay you could have cars queuing up down the road just inflate their tyres with nitrogen. I am not yet 100% sure that this is a good thing, I am thinking that perhaps I should offer this as part of the service , such as wheel balancing then leave it up to the customer if they want to keep calling back for their tyres inflating with nitrogen.

For more reading…

“You might be aware that purified nitrogen has been used to inflate tyres on aircraft and racing cars for many years but does it really make sense for ordinary car and van tyres?”… http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/safety/filling-tyres-with-nitrogen.html

More reading…

“A recent study found that 93.5 percent of cars in Europe have under-inflated tires, wasting some 2.14 billion gallons of high-priced, polluting fuel every year. Analysts believe the situation is no less severe in North America. But filling tires with costly nitrogen instead of air would likely make little difference — best to just keep an eye on your tires and keep them properly inflated.”… http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nitrogen-filled-tires-fuel-efficiency

This post was compiled by Eric Roberts…www.pellonautocentre.com/our-blog/