Oxygen or Nitrogen - Get to Know Your Inflation Options

Posted by: Dan on 9/04/2015

Category: General


When filling up your car tyres, you probably think that you have only one distinct option. Yes, when going to the petrol station or the mechanic, you probably put air in your tyres and move on with your life. However, you have another option that you may want to consider. Putting nitrogen in your car tyres can help you get more out of them, making it a good idea to sit down and weigh your options.

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Now, if you’re going to put oxygen in your tyres, you know what you’re getting, as people have been using this gas consistently for a long time. With oxygen, you can stop at any gas station, many convenience stores and any mechanic to inflate your tyres. Not only that, if you have a garage in your home, you can easily put in a cheap and effective air pump. In fact, drivers who often go to remote areas will carry a pump that they can plug into their cigarette lighter adapter, enabling them to fill their tyres quickly while on the go. On the other hand, if you want to fill your tyres with nitrogen, you’re going to spend a lot more time finding a place that carries the gas.


The Benefits of Nitrogen Tyre Inflation


While you may have to work harder to get nitrogen into your tyres, you’ll enjoy tyre pressure that remains constant over the long haul once they’re filled. If you put your car through a lot of work and drive hard for long distances, you can probably watch as your tyre pressure falls. Other times, if you’re busy and don’t pay attention; you may be able to see the air levels in your tyres fall.


Nitrogen, on the other hand, is less likely to migrate through the rubber, helping to keep your tyres fuller, longer.  In the long run, this will keep you on the road more and can save you some serious cash, as you won’t have to spend as much money on petrol as you will when your tyres are low. If you value convenience and cost-savings, you may want to consider nitrogen in your tyres.


The next reason you should consider nitrogen is a little more complicated, and it requires that you know a little more about tyres and cars. Simply put, when you fill your car tyres with oxygen, you’re putting some small amount of water in your car tyres due to the molecular composition of water (especially if you go to a mechanics shop where the workers are reckless or simply don’t care). If the person putting air in your tyres hasn’t done a good job of keeping humidity out of the system, you’re going to run into problems.


For starters, with water in your tyres, you will hurt your petrol efficiency. At the same time, you’ll see your steel or aluminium rims corrode more quickly. You can avoid this by putting nitrogen in your tyres. This is because, when you put nitrogen in your car tyres, you’re also putting dry nitrogen in your car. This helps remove excess oxygen in your tyres, and helps remove the water at the same time. Then, when you get on the road, your tyres will be free of water, causing them to run more efficiently and last longer.


The Cost of Nitrogen Inflation


As with any auto-related purchase, your costs are an important consideration as well. If you put oxygen in your car, you can do so without spending any money - most places will give it to you for free. Not only that, you can easily buy an inexpensive pump and throw one in your car and/or garage. On the other hand, you’ll have to spend a good amount of cash to put nitrogen in your car tyres. Doing so can cost anywhere from 3-10 dollars to fill each tyre, which can really add up quickly. That said, with nitrogen, you’re going to recoup some of that savings, as you will get better fuel economy and your tyres will last longer.


In the end, as you consider your different inflation options, you must think of your own situation and how you drive. If you drive long distances in hot, humid weather, consider nitrogen. Or, if you’re out on the road for long periods of time and you tend to put your car through a lot, you’ll want to consider nitrogen. Remember, there’s a reason race car drives and other professionals put nitrogen in their cars.


That said, if all you do is drive your standard commute to and from work, you can probably stick with oxygen as, as it’s free and easy to put in your car. By considering your options, as well as how you drive, what you want, and how much you’re willing to pay, you can easily determine if nitrogen or oxygen is right for your situation.  


Image: Wikimedia Commons