Facts On Nitrogen

Facts on Why Tires Should Be Filled With Nitrogen (N2)

Nitrogen has been used in race car tires for years.

Air is about one-fifth oxygen and oxygen, especially at high temperatures and pressures, is a very reactive element. When oxygen reacts with other materials, the process is called oxidization. When oxidization is extremely rapid the process is called burning.Tires can run so hot they can actually catch on fire. And Nitrogen helps prevent slower forms of oxidization too.

Oxygen corrodes aluminum and steel wheels. And oxygen reacts with rubber, in a sense corroding it too. Rust and dust from wheels can clog valve stems, causing them to leak. And rough surfaces on wheel flanges and tire beads may not seal properly, causing additional leaks. Oxygen also ages the inner liner, that thin layer of rubber inside the tire whose function is keeping air away from the carcass. As the inner liner ages, more and more air molecules can pass through it, causing more pressure losses. Air migrates through rubber. Truck tires can lose 2 psi per month as a result of air passing through their sidewalls. That’s why regular inflation pressure checks are a must. Even if there’s nothing “wrong” you can still be losing pressure. And when oxygen passes through rubber, it can come into contact with steel cords, causing them to rust too. Between aging rubber and corroding steel cords, oxygen reduces retread-ability.

Nitrogen permeates through rubber more slowly. It might take six months to lose 2 psi with Nitrogen, compared to a month with air. And nitrogen is far less reactive. It doesn’t cause rust and corrosion on steel and aluminum and it doesn’t degrade rubber.

Air is full of water vapor called “humidity”. And compressed air concentrates the water in it. Water vapor in compressed air acts as a catalyst, accelerating rust and corrosion. Water vapor also absorbs and holds heat. And, when it changes from liquid to vapor, water expands tremendously in volume. So tires inflated with air tend to run hotter and fluctuate in pressure more. That’s why racing tires, where psi can radically change handling, are inflated with dry nitrogen.

To sum up, your tires are going to last up to 30% longer and your aluminum and steel wheels won’t be subjected to the corrosive effects of oxygen and humidity.