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Another testimonial - Nitrogen in tires is not a gimmick

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Old 06-18-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Another testimonial - Nitrogen in tires is not a gimmick

Until last October, I had steadfastly resisted the idea of paying to have Nitrogen put into my tires instead of normal air.

My reasons were, I thought, sound:

- Nitrogen fill costs money, while normal air is free

- Normal air is about 80% Nitrogen anyway, so how can "pure" 100% Nitrogen make a meaningful difference

- If you need a top-up in the tires, normal air is everywhere, whereas Nitrogen requires a trip to specific places that sell it

But I kept hearing from people whose opinions I respect that Nitrogen DOES make a difference, so last October I had the tires on both my motorcycle and my (then) car (Mustang GT) purged and refilled with Nitrogen, as an experiment. The local tire dealer's Nitrogen offering is about $30 to simply do the purge and fill, or $50 for purge, fill, top-up anytime you need it for as long as you have the vehicle, and free tire flat repairs for as long as you have the vehicle.

Now in the past, I checked my tire pressures about every 6 weeks, and normally found that I would need a small top-up, especially if the temperature had been changing. It was a pain, and required owning and running a compressor, since at the time I was running 4 vehicles, and didn't want the added hassle of driving or riding each of them to an air source.

The new reality has been quite different.

I traded the mustang for the C63 on April 1st, but from very early October to April 1st, it never once required a top-up, even though in that time period the outside temperature varied from highs of mid 70s F to high 20s F.

The new-to-me C63 got the Nitrogen the same day I took delivery on April 1st, and has remained rock steady at the same psi in all 4 tires since then.

The motorcycle likewise has never needed a top-up since the early October purge and fill.

I still check the tire pressure every 6 weeks or so, but now it is a 2 minute deal per vehicle and so far no need for any top-ups.

I'm not a track guy, and am a pretty conservative street driver and rider, so I wouldn't likely notice any handling improvements, but my more performance-oriented buddies tell me that the tire psi remains much more constant as the tires heat up, with Nitrogen than with normal air, and makes a difference.

For me, not needing to top up the tire pressure periodically is enough of an advantage.

Jim G
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:24 PM   #2
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Old 06-18-2017, 05:18 PM   #3
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YMMV but I never need to seem to add air to my tires on any of my cars, and yes I do check the air pressures. Over the season I think it might drop 1 psi, only because I keep checking them.

I use a special formulation of 78% Nitrogen mixed with other gases.
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:44 PM   #4
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he's saying exactly what I used to believe too, but then after trying Nitrogen myself, I did find that I don't need to top up whereas before I did.

Now it is also maybe relevant that I moved from Texas to British Columbia just before changing over to Nitrogen. Could the change in location and climate have any bearing on this? Would the much greater daily and seasonal temperature changes in Texas affect rate of tire psi loss??

All I can say for sure is that I used to have to top up my tires regularly, and now don't appear to need to do so.

Jim G
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:45 PM   #5
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. . .

I use a special formulation of 78% Nitrogen mixed with other gases.
Cute!

Jim G
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Old 06-18-2017, 07:07 PM   #6
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I'm glad mbworld is catching up with 2009.
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:55 PM   #7
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he's saying exactly what I used to believe too, but then after trying Nitrogen myself, I did find that I don't need to top up whereas before I did.

Now it is also maybe relevant that I moved from Texas to British Columbia just before changing over to Nitrogen. Could the change in location and climate have any bearing on this? Would the much greater daily and seasonal temperature changes in Texas affect rate of tire psi loss??

All I can say for sure is that I used to have to top up my tires regularly, and now don't appear to need to do so.

Jim G
He addresses that. It makes **** all of a difference. You're confusing science with feelings.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:19 PM   #8
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I put helium in mine. Improves mileage an 1/4mile trap speed...
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:57 PM   #9
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The placebo effect is strong.
There's nothing about nitrogen that an extra 20% would reduce pressure loss.
I swap the tires on each of our three cars twice a year 6 as we go from summers to winters and back. Never need to top up the air in between.
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:00 PM   #10
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Fyi - costco fills up nitrogen for free....
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:04 AM   #11
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Ya!Ya!
We ain't exactly talking about running our cars every day on track where a 1/2 psi can affect handling.
Air is 79% Nitrogen and in theory Nitrogen leaks less slowly following presumably by physical leaks through the beads or the valve stem. Who knows maybe osmosis plays a role but so what. O2 is a much smaller molecule than N2.
The more the O2 in air leaks out and you top up with air the concentration of N increases because as the O2 leaves N increases. As you add a gas that is 79% N2 the amount of N2 you are adding vs O2 is about 4 to 1 so theoretically over time if you are adding air to restore pressures, and all things being equal N2 concentration increases.
I have checked tires on cars once a month or so since my first car at 16 and that is one helluva long time ago and it is rare that I have much to do in the way of top up.
I change pressures more due to changing loads in terms of passengers and luggage on a trip than I do for leaks. Of course if you let tires run well past their Best Before Date they may tend to crack etc. but that is a different discussion.
So why bother paying for N2? With the TPMS reset if I have to top up I will know if I have a slow leak and that is just fine.
Now we all would agree that water vapour is not helpful. Air/Water seperators do work. We could not have run our industries before the digital age when so many things in control systems use pneumatics.
Here is an intersting DYI way to set up a compressor dryer at home. This guy has an Air/Water seperator in his system but as he points out it is pretty dry.

Last edited by Alex.currie44; 06-19-2017 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:30 AM   #12
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Smile

Rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees F, tire pressure will chnage by 1 psi. Temps sank from highs of mid 70s F to high 20s F, and you never saw ANY change in tire pressure?

Are you keeping your car in a heated garage?
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:59 AM   #13
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Rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees F, tire pressure will chnage by 1 psi. Temps sank from highs of mid 70s F to high 20s F, and you never saw ANY change in tire pressure?

Are you keeping your car in a heated garage?
Good point. It is not a heated garage, but an underground condo garage, which has much smaller temperature swings than an above ground single or 2-car frame garage. I don't think the dash thermometer in the car has ever shown over about 58 degrees nor less than about 45.

Jim G
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:03 AM   #14
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I put helium in mine. Improves mileage an 1/4mile trap speed...
Hope it doesn't give you a real hot foot (feet)....whatever
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by zcct04 View Post
Rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees F, tire pressure will chnage by 1 psi. Temps sank from highs of mid 70s F to high 20s F, and you never saw ANY change in tire pressure?

Are you keeping your car in a heated garage?
That applies to air or nitrogen filled tires. That is why pressure specs are set with the tires cold.
Get your car rolling slowly enough for the TPMS to register and note the pressures. Then run it down the highway for a couple of miles and see the pressure change.

http://www.getnitrogen.org/sub.php?v...eratureeffects
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:18 AM   #16
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That applies to air or nitrogen filled tires. That is why pressure specs are set with the tires cold.
Get your car rolling slowly enough for the TPMS to register and note the pressures. Then run it down the highway for a couple of miles and see the pressure change.

http://www.getnitrogen.org/sub.php?v...eratureeffects
This is also why the ONLY proper time to check the tire psi is when the vehicle has not been driven for at least a few hours. When I check my tire psi, I always do it in the early morning before the vehicles have been driven at all that day.

Jim G
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:37 AM   #17
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:28 PM   #18
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This is also why the ONLY proper time to check the tire psi is when the vehicle has not been driven for at least a few hours. When I check my tire psi, I always do it in the early morning before the vehicles have been driven at all that day.

Jim G
You mean on the street. Track driven cars reference hot pressures.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:53 PM   #19
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You mean on the street. Track driven cars reference hot pressures.
And higher too right?
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:55 PM   #20
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And higher too right?
That depends on the tire. DOT competition and street tires will tend to like hotter pressures on the track. Some slicks run lower pressures than you'd think but yes, all track pressures and tire temps are taken hot.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:59 PM   #21
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Good point. It is not a heated garage, but an underground condo garage, which has much smaller temperature swings than an above ground single or 2-car frame garage. I don't think the dash thermometer in the car has ever shown over about 58 degrees nor less than about 45.

Jim G
That kind of temperature swing would only create about one pound difference in pressure, so it's no surprise that you're not needing to make periodic adjustments.

If the adjustments you were making to air-filled tires in Texas were mostly due to seasonal temperature swings, I don't think we've got enough evidence to take nitrogen out of the gimmick bucket.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:49 PM   #22
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That kind of temperature swing would only create about one pound difference in pressure, so it's no surprise that you're not needing to make periodic adjustments.

If the adjustments you were making to air-filled tires in Texas were mostly due to seasonal temperature swings, I don't think we've got enough evidence to take nitrogen out of the gimmick bucket.
You could be right, but I honesttly don't recall every having to take air OUT of a tire, despite the temperature having risen in Springtime for example, so I'm not sure.

I suppose a good test would be to replace the nitrogen with air again, and see if the tire psi behavior remains steady or reverts to some loss every few weeks, but I really like not having to add air, so am not likely to go to all that effort!

Jim G
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:25 PM   #23
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It seems like more of an effort to drive to a special garage to pay for the Nitrogen.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:52 PM   #24
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My wheel & tire pro was offering the nitrogen as a free bonus for using him for the longest time. Sure, why not? I never really noticed a difference when using air or nitrogen. However, once they started to charge, good old air for me!
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:51 PM   #25
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It seems like more of an effort to drive to a special garage to pay for the Nitrogen.
Yeah it is, ONCE, but you only have to do it ONCE.

The local tire shop I used does it without an appointment, and takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

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