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Discussion Starter #1
Have been reading some posts on the best tires and when discussing this with mechanic friend, he asked me if I filled my tires with Nitrogen. I assume not since he also told me that when you fill with Nitrogen, most will use a green stem cap to indicate this and I just have the standard caps that came with the car when new.

He wasn't sure if it was hype, but Nitrogen is supposed to be better than air in that:

1) no moisture therefore less corrosion of rims and therefore less air leak from where tire seals to rim. (don't air compressors have dryers / filters for removing moisture?)

2) Nitrogen stays in tire longer than atmoshpheric air therefore more stable pressure.

If Nitrogen makes sense, then can you fill a standard "air pig" with nitrogen so you can top off at home once you paid to have tires filled initially, or do you need special tank?

Fact or fiction?
 

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Nitrogen....

Formula 1 teams all use Nitrogen in their tires except for Ferrari and the gas they use in their tires is a secret known only to them and McLaren.... : - )

Seriously, airplanes have been using Nitrogen in their tires for years... My dad had nitrogen in his airplane tires back in WWII, C47's and C54's in Papua New Guinea, etc.. Nitrogen runs cooler, makes the tire last longer, keeps out moisture, is lighter than ambient air, is less prone to pressure change with heat, etc. I don't know about keeping a bottle around the house for topping off your tires once in a while but I do know a lot of shops are now offering Nitrogen in tires for their customers...

Ad from Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson:

What is Nitrogen?
Nitrogen is a DRY light gas that does not burn. The air we breathe is 78% Nitrogen.

How much does Nitrogen cost?
The Cost to inflate your tires with Nitrogen is $5 per tire. We will purge the compressed air (oxygen) out of you tire and re-inflate the tire with Dry Nitrogen.

What if I need to add air at some point and don't have access to Nitrogen?
Not a problem. Just top off with air from any compressor. You may lose a little of the benefit of the nitrogen but once you get back home just stop by and we will re-purge your tires for you.

Do I have to pay every time I get Nitrogen added?
No. The only time you have to pay again is when you have a new tire or tube installed.

I have heard that Nitrogen actually helps maintain my tires pressure longer. Is that true?
Yes. A Nitrogen molecule is much bigger than Oxygen. The reason tires loose pressure is because the oxygen molecules actually seep through the rubber and out into the air. Because Nitrogen molecules are bigger they can penetrate the rubber as quickly. On average tire pressures maintain about 3-4 times longer with Nitrogen the regular air.
 

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Can't hurt

Being a chemist doesn't necessarily make me an expert on this (or any other subject) but I do happen to know a bit about Nitrogen. N2 is a larger molecule than O2 so since air is around 78% Nitrogen you'll get a bit of reduction of seepage through the tire walls by going to 100% Nitrogen. Oxygen is a relatively corrosive element and replacing it will certainly help eliminate that problem. When you fill your tires with Nitrogen you do not introduce any moisture with the gas as you would with most compressed sources. Without moisture tire pressure will be more constant and you'll also lower the risk of rust from steel wheels if by some strange reason you're running them on your Maserati. A tire full of Nitrogen will weight slightly less (< 1oz) than one filled with compressed air.

Not having done any serious research on the subject - there's probably several other factors that I haven't mentioned. They'll all be minor as are the ones I did mention. Bottom line if it's free or nearly so then go for it 'cause it can't hurt. If it costs any appreciable amount then make sure you get the pretty green valve stems. :)
 

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Does anyone know of a shop in the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area that can purge the existing air and replace with nitrogen? The shops I have called said they either do not have nitrogen, or if they have nitrogen, they only fill new tires with nitrogen (cannot purge).

Thanks,
RP
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tire pressure and temperature

Fortuitously, our local paper ran an article on tire pressue and requirement for pressure monitors on new cars.

"Underinflation can lead to catastrophic failure through overheating, increased hydroplaning, loss of grip or control therefore skid or spin.

Also it costs money: premature wear and decreased fuel efficiency. A decrease of 1% fuel economy for every 3 pounds of decreased pressure. This becomes critical when temperature drops as pressure is directly related to ambient temperature: at the rate of one pound of pressure for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in outside temperature."

I am certain this is either intuitive or common knowledge, but still, I found it a useful reminder! Maybe not a concern for you lucky Californians, but maybe one more reason for Nitrogen for us less fortunate sods?
 

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Nitrogen is waste of $

Before spending $10,000 on a Nitrogen system for my company, I did quite a bit of reasearch:

1.The only reason Nitrogen(N2) is used in airplane tires because it is not an aide to flash combustion during a landing as oxygen(O2) would be.- CARS DON'T LAND !
(FAA/GULFSTREAM JETS INC.)

2. Compressed air is 78% N2. Commercialy avaliable N2 tire systems are 90% N2 at best. The process by which they empty and refill the tire gives a post fill N2 reading of 85%. (I TRIED THOSE 10% BIGGER PILLS FROM THE INTERNET, SHE WAS NOT IMPRESSED) (WENT TO A TRADE SHOW WITH MY OWN PURITY METER-THE N2 COMPANIES WERE NOT HAPPY TO SEE ME).

3.Automobile rims are mostly coated aluminium, and are not effected by the small amount of O2. (BBS NORTH AMERICA) They Import the GranSport Rims.

4. N2/O2%78 and N2/O2%85 are equally effected by temperature rates of 1psi +- for every 10 degrees +-. (NO MEASURABLE EFFECT)

5.N2 molecule is larger and therefore you tires will static leakdown less.
(THE DIFFERNCE IS NOMINAL AND YOU SHOULD BE CHECKING YOUR TIRES PRESSURE EVERY M0NTH ANYWAY FOR NAIL LEAKS)

6.N2 makes tires last longer because it is less corossive to the tire rubber.
(TIRES DONT ROT FROM THE INSIDE, THEY ROT FROM UV EXPOSURE FROM THE OUTSIDE. THAT TAKES YEARS TO HAPPEN WHEN THE CAR IS PARKED OUTDOORS ALL YEAR ROUND)

P.S. I did buy and would reccomend and air drier. Water in your compressed air system, and you tires will have a detrimental effect on your tires ballance and the newley mandated TPMS(TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEMS. Most shops do not have them ask if yours does !!

P.S.S. Those green valve caps are ugly !!!!!

DrEvil
 

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Nitrogen is better

The post by GrndLkNatv is very accurate. I use Nitrogen in my tires and have been for some time. There is a reason why racing teams use it in their tires. I track my cars and for that purpose, it is invaluable. Regular air heats up tremendously when driving under heavy pressure and your tire pressure can fluctuate up to 10 pounds. With Nitrogen, it's more like 2-3 pounds.

If you buy any standard air tank at the Auto Parts store, the shop that puts the nitrogen in your tires and fill the tank and you can use it to adjust pressure when you need more. Nitrogen is a great safe alternative to air and will certainly maintain the pressure in your tires to a much safer range when driving long distances (especially in warm climates), or driving aggressively on a track or autocross event.

It's not expensive and if you have a dealer nearby that provides it, I recommend it. I had heard Costco offers it and the following link provides a great TV video on the benefits and a link to find a dealer near you that offers it.

http://www.nitrogenfill.com/
 

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Helium (He) is the best choice as it reduces the total weight of your car. Many F1 cars use helium; this is why so many go airborne :D
 

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Helium (He) is the best choice as it reduces the total weight of your car. Many F1 cars use helium; this is why so many go airborne :D
:D

Only thing is to find someone to give you a Helium fill, which will cost $$$ by the way.

There are no distinctive advantages of using Nitrogen, TBH. Too much blah-blah but not a real deal.
 

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:D

Only thing is to find someone to give you a Helium fill, which will cost $$$ by the way.

There are no distinctive advantages of using Nitrogen, TBH. Too much blah-blah but not a real deal.
LOL! I tried to run helium instead of nitrous. I ended up with a high pitched exhaust note :cool:
 

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3.Automobile rims are mostly coated aluminium, and are not effected by the small amount of O2. (BBS NORTH AMERICA) They Import the GranSport Rims.

DrEvil
Correct, all BBS wheels have a coating over the entire finished product (one of the reasons the multi-piece can't be disassembled), the insides of the OE and aftermarket ARE coated inside (motorsports products have no coating for maximum weight savings)...MOST other wheels however are NOT coated on the inside, this is one of the biggest advantages to using a dryer/nitrogen (preventing corrosion inside).

Nitrogen is easier to keep pressure more consistent in your tires. It's inexpensive (relatively speaking) and is a huge trend with higher end dealerships at the moment to offer (most Porsche dealers now offer it to all customers).

-Ron
(nitrogen filled BBS LM's w/49,940 miles of testing)
 

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:D

Only thing is to find someone to give you a Helium fill, which will cost $$$ by the way.

There are no distinctive advantages of using Nitrogen, TBH. Too much blah-blah but not a real deal.
Is this an "expert opinion" or your personal opinion, do you have something to back the statement up?

I'm not trying to start and arguement, it's just that there are plenty of outrageous claims in the automotive world, and ways they fake results to push their product (all those magical oil's...), but my expert opinion (15 yrs amateur motorsports, 2 years running Grand Am Pro team with podium finish at Rolex24Hr, former BBS Manuf. Rep and expert guest lecturer at multiple PCA, BMCCA and Audi club events, active SEMA member) is that Nitrogen filled tires is worth the slight hassle of finding a station as well as the additional cost (btw, some porsche dealers are charging up to $20/wheel to fill, it's turning into the new standard upsell)
 

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OK, here is a little fact to muddy this debate. Water to steam, at a constant pressure, is a 1:1602 expansion. This means that even small amounts of moisture can have a huge impact on tire pressure as the tire heats.
 

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more info

The non-profit trade organization for the nitrogen filling industry is http://www.getnitrogen.org, there's some great info on their site.
 

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The non-profit trade organization for the nitrogen filling industry is http://www.getnitrogen.org, there's some great info on their site.
Reader beware - There's really no such thing as a "not for profit" trade organization - it exists to drum up business for it's members.
Anyway, I have looked at the site. Most of the claims for "better gas mileage, cooler tire temps, better handling etc." have absolutely nothing to do with nitrogen itself - they simply describe the benefit of maintaining proper tire inflation pressures.
I have many years of experience working with compressed gasses, including nitrogen and air. For routine automotive use, nitrogen has no advantage over air with regard to diffusion thorugh rubber or tire pressure/temperature relationships. The sole consideration would be that compressed nitrogen is moisture free, and compressed air always contains some trace of water vapor. Over a long period of time, or in super-critical applications, the moisture could accelerate corrosion of metal wheel or tire valve components.
Having said that, if you want to put nitrogen in your tires, you have nothing to lose, but don't be deceived into expecting better performance or efficiency.
 

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Reader beware - There's really no such thing as a "not for profit" trade organization - it exists to drum up business for it's members.
Anyway, I have looked at the site. Most of the claims for "better gas mileage, cooler tire temps, better handling etc." have absolutely nothing to do with nitrogen itself - they simply describe the benefit of maintaining proper tire inflation pressures.
I have many years of experience working with compressed gasses, including nitrogen and air. For routine automotive use, nitrogen has no advantage over air with regard to diffusion thorugh rubber or tire pressure/temperature relationships. The sole consideration would be that compressed nitrogen is moisture free, and compressed air always contains some trace of water vapor. Over a long period of time, or in super-critical applications, the moisture could accelerate corrosion of metal wheel or tire valve components.
Having said that, if you want to put nitrogen in your tires, you have nothing to lose, but don't be deceived into expecting better performance or efficiency.
In reply to Mille above (and my post was not a reflection from an expert, but a personal opinion backed by some knowledge...) Bluestreak has stolen my words :D

Let me add, in addition, that within the lifespan of any set of rims the probability of corrosion from compressed air moisture is virtually nil. By the time that could set, your car would be most likely in the graveyard, or the rims been replaced anyway... there is a much higher probability of damaging the rims in the course of normal use than any damage from corrosion as a restult of inflating your tires with compressed air... ;)

But true, there is nothing to loose in using nitrogen. Your choice.
 
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