Nitrogen Fill vs. Regular Air In Tires

Regular maintenance on a vehicle can sometimes feel like a daunting flurry of questions and reminders. As drivers in the Sterling, VA, area, we might ask, “Is my oil change due?” or “Are my tires healthy?” and “How long does my battery last?” And while these are typical questions with relatively simple answers, others might not seem as transparent. One of those questions is, “Should I fill my tires with nitrogen?”

One might find filling their tires with nitrogen compelling for a few reasons. But first, we will describe what PSI means regarding a vehicle’s tires.

PSI is shorthand for “pressure per square inch.” It is the amount of air needed to support your specific make and model. Modern cars and trucks will display the PSI either within the door well, the interior of the trunk, or within the manufacturer’s handbook.

Filling tires with nitrogen has grown in popularity over recent years, given the promise of boosted fuel economy, reduced air loss and rolling resistance, and improved safety. Another reason is that it helps prevent tire rot since a lack of moisture would naturally occur inside tires.

So, is it all it’s cracked up to be? According to Consumer Reports, it’s more theoretically worth it than practical. The typical pitch will tell you that the nitrogen molecules are larger than the molecules in regular air, indicating that it is harder for nitrogen molecules to sneak out of the tire’s porous material. However, an independent study by Consumer Reports showed that while nitrogen reduces pressure loss, the reduction was only a 1.3 psi difference from regular air-filled tires over an entire year.

Considering regular air is already 78% nitrogen when the smaller molecules in typical air leak out, it will still leave the tires with that 78% nitrogen anyway. That begs the question, is spending $5.00 or more every 2-3 months in Sterling, VA, genuinely worth it? That’s a question you’d have to ask yourself. Casey’s team will tell you that unless you drive a racecar, there is no need to fill your everyday vehicle’s tires with nitrogen. Save your money!

Tire Replacements and Automotive Repairs in Sterling, Virginia 

Casey’s team would typically advise against filling your vehicle’s tires with nitrogen unless you drive a racecar. When you come in for new tires or tire repairs, we will always fill them with the proper PSI for your specific make and model. Contact us to schedule your tire quote or maintenance when you’re ready!

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