Is Paying To Have My Tires Filled With Nitrogen Worth It?

You might find this sort of air pump at a gas station

Nitrogen vs oxygen. Do you really get anything out of filling your tires with nitrogen instead of oxygen? Besides a green valve cap anyway. There are arguments to both sides so we are here to break it down for everybody. We will start by saying that oxygen(air) is 78% nitrogen. So you already have (mostly) nitrogen in the tires to start. Yea, not exactly the same thing. Let’s do a round of pros vs cons:

Pros: 

  • Nitrogen molecules are slightly larger than oxygen molecules
  • Nitrogen contains no moisture
  • More consistent tire pressures

Cons:

  • Finding a nitrogen dealer is harder than you would think
  • Filling tires with nitrogen can cost anywhere from $5 – $10 PER TIRE
  • Nitrogen isn’t readily available
  • Tires with nitrogen still lose pressures just at a slower rate

Here’s a scenario: You wake up one morning and when you start your car your low tire pressure light comes on. Seeing as you have nitrogen in your tires you have ti drive with the low tire pressures to the nearest nitrogen “dealer” and pay to have them topped off. If there is a nail in your tire you’re going to have to pay to have the entire tire refilled. If you had just plain “air” in your tires you could drive to the nearest gas station with an air pump. If it’s not free we’d be willing to be it’s $1 at the most. You top the tires off and you go on your way. If you have nitrogen in your tires you can put oxygen in them but seeing as you diluted the nitrogen with too oxygen you will have to completely “drain” the mix and replace it with nitrogen again.

The only tires that should be inflated with nitrogen are vehicles where the pressures are critical. Where if 1 psi too high or low can cause a catastrophic failure of some kind. Yes the nitrogen doesn’t escape the tires AS FAST as oxygen does but, in the end, it still escapes the tire. 

Do we recommend it? No. To us, it’s not really practical or worth the extra cost. 

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