Major concern for drivers, making sure tires are inflated enough, avoiding an automobile accident. Aerospace vehicles, commercial and military aircraft, NASCAR race cars, Space Shuttle, Tour de France bikes, and off-road equipment for many years, inflated tires with nitrogen. Tires inflated with nitrogen are better than tires inflated with air for many reasons, including better gas mileage, and longer tread life.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers can improve gas mileage nearly three percent, by keeping their vehicle tires within the recommended pressure range. Also, estimated United States loses more than two million gallons of gas every day, due to under-inflated tires. Nitrogen inflated tires is a growing trend in the transportation industry.
When tires are inflated with air, over time the pressurized air inside a tire, will slowly escape. On average, tires compressed air will lose 2.7 pounds of pressure monthly, compared to nitrogen tire losing 0.7 pounds. The air inside tires expands when exposed to heat and contracts when cooled. Tires lose more air when exposed to hot weather, compared tires filled with nitrogen remains twenty percent cooler. Scientifically, nitrogen molecules are bigger than air molecules, thus nitrogen escapes a tire more slowly.
According to Ingersol-Rand Company, makes nitrogen inflation systems, nitrogen leaks out of tires about 30 to 40 percent slower, compared to air-filled tires. Compressed air contains moisture and oxygen, which can cause oxidation, corrosion, leakage, and accelerated wear in tires. Tires containing nitrogen do not cause any these corrosive problems.
Problems associated having low air pressure in tires, when air escapes. Decreased air pressure on a tire, causes more of the surface of the tire to be exposed to the road, which reduces tread on a tire. Eventually, if the driver is unaware or does not periodically check the tread on a tire, will cause a blowout on the road and may lead to a serious car accident. Also, the friction of low tire pressure makes a car engine work harder. The basic rule to follow, when tires operate below twenty percent of optimum safety, will reduce the tire life by up to 50 percent, and tire rolling resistance can add ten percent or more to fuel consumption. Regardless whether air or nitrogen used to inflate tires, tire pressure should be checked once a month and tires rotated every 5,000 miles.
Nitrogen filled tires will not fluctuate as much or be susceptible, by temperature changes. Tires filled with nitrogen will cause treads on tires to degrade much slower, ride longer, and cost less replacing tires, not as often. When fewer tires need to be replaced, this contributes to helping the environment by minimizing the number of tires for waste disposal and less number of tires, being manufactured, which conserve natural resources. Also, less number of times, need to retread tires, will conserve millions of gallons of oil every day.
The Earth’s atmosphere contains about 78 percent nitrogen, which is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Approximately $10 to fill a tire with nitrogen, over the long term saves money driving longer on a tire, saving money at the gas station having properly inflated tires, and priceless lives saved, driving a safer vehicle. Michelin tire officials recommend nitrogen only for tire used “in a high – risk environment and/or when the user wants to reduce the consequences of a potential abnormal overheating of the tire-wheel assembly,” according to the сompany statement. The availability of nitrogen on highway transportation is slowly getting recognized and more manufacturers have entered the marketplace.
Tire efficiency becomes less effective, when nitrogen and air are combined together. A driver may have to refill the vehicle tires with air, when nitrogen is unavailable for purchase. Recommend by manufacturers of nitrogen inflation system, existing nitrogen and air in a tire should be purged, before the proper amount of nitrogen can be added, as soon as possible. Also, drivers will notice if one of the front tires contains both nitrogen and air, will encounter some steering problems, whereby the vehicle may pull to one side, while driving. However, if both front tires are filled with equal amounts of nitrogen and air, shouldn’t be any steering problems. Green valve caps are used for nitrogen – filled tires, to distinguish them from oxygen – filled tires.