Monday, June 13, 2011

Why Pay to Have Nitrogen Put in Your Car Tires?

When the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen anyway?

Just askin'.



Anonymous said...

There are two problems with using compressed air in tires.

Compressed air contains moisture. Moisture inside the tires promotes breakdown and decay.

Secondly, compressed air contains oxygen. Oxygen causes oxidation. Rubber "corrodes" much like metal does and the oxygen in the air causes the rubber to oxidize and deteriorate.

This is especially dangerous because the tire is rotting from the inside out and the first sign of it is often the tire blowing out on the road.

That's why nitrogen is used in Aircraft Tires (remember I was in Aviation Maintenance for 21 years).

For car tires, on a normal car that is driven regularly and gets the average number of miles per year (10 to 12k), it's not going to be a problem and paying for nitrogen wouldn't be worth it. You'll wear the tread out before the tire deteriorates from rot or oxidation.

On vehicles that don't get used as much (recreational vehicles, trailers, collectible "show" cars, farm equipment, etc.) The tires may be on them for many years. The tires will also have to be protected from UV light with covers or by keeping them garaged, because UV also causes rubber breakdown and decay, but in that case, it would be beneficial to keep the tires inflated with dry nitrogen rather than compressed air to maximize their life and reduce the chances of the tires rotting from the inside out and causing a big surprise while driving down the road.

Rustmeister said...


That's the first answer I've heard that made sense. Thanks.

Moogie P said...

Quite an answer indeed. Whew!

I need to make a note to tell the husband about this for the boat trailer.