Filling your tires is not a strange or complicated thing. It is simply adding gas from the atmosphere, the air you and I breathe, into your tires. So, can you put air in a tire with nitrogen?
Yes! It will do no harm to your tires if you have 100% nitrogen in your tires and you need to adjust the air. The atmosphere is made up of:
- 78% Nitrogen
- 21% Oxygen
- 0.9% Argon
- 0.1% Miscellaneous gases
- 0-4% water vapor in humid areas
Filling your tires with normal air from an air compressor would result in about 3/4 nitrogen and 1/4 oxygen. Adding this to 100% nitrogen would lower the level of nitrogen minimally.
Note: I type 100% nitrogen but in reality, tires are filled with around 95% nitrogen and 5% atmospheric gases. But for this article, I will argue as 100%.
If we did a quick calculation and say you want to fill your tire up from 40 PSI to 50 PSI we can do the following:
Tire pressure: 40 PSI / 50 PSI = 80% volume capacity
Regular air: 10 PSI * (78% nitrogen) = 7.8 PSI pure nitrogen
The tire at 50 PSI contains 47.8 PSI pure nitrogen
The new ratio is 95.6% nitrogen and 4.4% oxygen and other gases. This is not a large change from the 100% nitrogen-filled tires from before.
What’s The Difference Between Air And Nitrogen In Tires?
The difference between tires filled with air and nitrogen is about a 20% increase in nitrogen when filled with pure nitrogen. Tires filled with nitrogen will have marginally better duration and performance because with more nitrogen in the tires, there will be less moisture inside.
When there is less moisture the rubber will last longer. Moisture can cause the rubber to break down quicker. Also with less moisture, the tires will give a more uniform performance which will cause you to get better mileage and more control over your car. The difference between the two configurations is very marginal and they may unnoticeable to most drivers.
Some dealerships use this feature to make extra money. There was a lawsuit filed that stated one dealer charger $299 per car to “Add nitrogen to tires”. The suit further states that the nitrogen machine was broken at the time as well.
Do you think nitrogen-filled tires a gimmick? $299 for a simple and almost cost-free process can be egregious and irresponsible to some.
Is it worth putting nitrogen in your tires? For the average consumer, the evidence would show that nitrogen is not a smart purchase and can be avoided. If you demand ultimate performance then nitrogen may be one of the few improvements that may push you over the edge.
Where Can I Get My Tires Filled With Nitrogen?
- Tire stores – Name brand tire stores that sell and service tires will all offer nitrogen-filled tire service.
- Big Box Retailers – Retailers like Costco and Walmart will have tire centers where you can fill your tires with pure nitrogen for a fee. They will typically be cheaper than anywhere else.
- Dealerships – Car dealerships will off this service. Though they will typically be more expensive they offer a warranty better and will honor that warranty with less hassle than most other stores.
Can Nitrogen Go In Any Tire?
Yes. Nitrogen can be put in any tire. It can improve performance and handling for some people.
How Much Does Costco Charge To Fill Tires With Nitrogen?
Some Costcos nitrogen is free or it costs under $10 per tire. It will depend on your location as some Costos may charge depending on certain factors.
Many people swear by nitrogen in their tires. Though there is no concrete evidence people can even tell the difference between nitrogen-filled and atmospheric air-filled tires.
Thanks for reading and stay dirty