Filling the inside of the tire with nitrogen is intended to increase rubber durability and reduce pressure surges due to temperature changes. Larger nitrogen particles should diffuse more slowly through the rubber structure, which should translate into longer maintenance of proper pressure. Are tires worth pumping with nitrogen?
At the beginning it is worth recalling that the wheels of each car contain a large amount of nitrogen. Air is a mixture of gases, and its most important component is nitrogen, whose share exceeds 78%. Oxygen (nearly 21%) is the other main component of air. Unfortunately, life-giving gas is also … a destroyer. Oxidation processes not only harm living organisms. They also imprint on metals, plastics and rubber. What does an old tire look like? It is dull, cracked and fragile. It is the effect of temperature, sunlight and oxygen.
Oxygen has direct contact with the outer and inner parts of the tire. Proponents of experiments and new solutions pointed out that the air-filled interior of the tires is well sealed, so displacing oxygen from them should not be difficult. The idea of inflating tires with nitrogen was born in the 1960s. It comes from aviation, the transport of flammable goods and Formula 1. By filling tires with non-flammable and non-reactive gas, the problem of a wheel being a tank of compressed air that could explode in a moment of collision or just after it could effectively sustain fire.
What other arguments speak for pumping wheels with nitrogen? A nitrogen-filled tire should maintain the correct pressure up to three times longer than an air-filled tire. The websites offering the nitrogen tire inflation service also refer to the results of other tests. They claim that reducing oxygen by 6% extends tire life by up to 22%.
The injection of gas from the cylinder or nitrogen generator through the valve eliminates the presence of water vapor and microscopic impurities that can penetrate inside the wheel when pumping with compressed atmospheric air. If the compressor is heavily depleted, it can contaminate the compressed air with oil drops, the presence of which accelerates the rubber aging process. In turn, eliminating water should reduce the corrosion of internal parts of rims – especially steel.
The wheels can be pumped with nitrogen from a cylinder or nitrogen generator. A higher concentration guarantees the second of these. If a cylinder is used for inflation, the nitrogen concentration inside the tire is around 92%.
Is it worth pumping wheels with nitrogen? How many people, so many opinions. We recommend … work at the base, i.e. the purchase of a blood pressure monitor. We will pay PLN 20 for inflating the wheel set with nitrogen. The amount is also sufficient for a medium-class pressure gauge. It is this device, not the nitrogen in the tires, that should be a must for every car.
Statistics are ruthless. Nearly 61% of vehicles tested during the Michelin Good Pressure Week campaign had incorrect tire pressure. In 29% of checked cars, the deficiencies were large enough to pose a serious threat to driving safety. If we get into the habit of regularly checking the air pressure in the wheels, we can go a step further and fill their interior with nitrogen.