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Old 10-26-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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Nitrogen Tire Inflation

Yesterday I read a rather lengthy thread on Practical Machinist on the the use of nitrogen gas to inflate automobile tires. It pretty much confirmed my previous opinion of nitrogen inflation's merits, but alerted me to a seriously predatory business practice. This is definitely a "good news/bad news" situation.

The good news first - Yes, nitrogen inflation has a couple of advantages, primarily for people who aren't at all conscientous about keeping their tire pressure at the correct level, since nitrogen does leak thru a tire's rubber structure at a somewhat lower rate than does the oxygen fraction (about 20%) of normal air.
The bad news, sometimes very bad - Some tire dealers/installers are charging anywhere from $5.00 on up per tire for nitrogen inflation, while others, including Costco, routinely use nitrogen for no additional fee. Some will even do it as a good will gesture for customers who bought their tires elswhere!
Worse yet, by far, some new car dealers are automatically including a charge in the hundreds of dollars range for "equipping" new cars with nitrogen filled tires, a virtually fraudulent charge.
The bottom line - Never pay anything at all for nitrogen inflation - the value is modest and it is available for free!!!

Let the flaming begin,
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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I fill my tires with a mixture of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and 1% other gases. It has worked out fine for me for a long time.

But you are absolutely right. Unless you are driving a race car and need your tires to be the exact same pressure at all times, nitrogen in tires is the biggest scam out there.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:44 PM   #3
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i pay a buck or whatever for the same mixture as JayDeZ's air... rare to see free air at gas stations these days and i dont have a compressor...
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambleon84 View Post
i pay a buck or whatever for the same mixture as JayDeZ's air... rare to see free air at gas stations these days and i dont have a compressor...
There is usually a button on the side or recessed on the bottom. You have to hold it from anywhere from 1 to 20 seconds to turn it on.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:02 PM   #5
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I pump my own air. I use a floorstanding bicycle pump. and just enjoy the excercise.
It takes about 100 pumps to raise the pressure 10psi from 20psi to 30 psi.
About 150 pumps to do 30psi to 40 psi
Good workout for my wimpy arms.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I fill my tires with a mixture of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and 1% other gases. It has worked out fine for me for a long time.
Ha.

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Old 10-26-2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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Just a bunch of bogus. I got tired of having to remind the dealer when taking my car in for quick lane stuff (it has a green valve stem, yes these tires came with nitrogen so top me off) type stuff, I stopped "caring". Since just putting regular air back in, I haven't seen a lick of mpg difference at all, nor a substantial decrease in psi. So, pay if you want to. If you get it free, great. To each his own on this topic!
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:53 PM   #8
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One of the benefits of nitro is it is dry. For those of us that live in extreme cold areas it can make a big balance difference during the winter not having ice in a tire. Dry air is just at good tho. Of course it might be hard to find.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md11mx View Post
One of the benefits of nitro is it is dry. For those of us that live in extreme cold areas it can make a big balance difference during the winter not having ice in a tire. Dry air is just at good tho. Of course it might be hard to find.
Come on.. Ice from damp air? get real. If you have an issue with moisture in a tire, let the air out of it on a dry day, and refill. Instead of filling it in the swimming pool?
I guess Alaska has special wet air?
In Wisconsin, where it is true it does not get to be 40 below.. But once the temp is below 32F the water condenses just the same, I have NEVER, in 48 years of driving seen a tire get out of balance from condensatin in the tire just from moisture in the air in the tire. LOL.
And yeah I bother to just add a few lbs of psi for Winter temps.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #10
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Hess gas stations have free air, not sure if theyre all over US or Canada but here in Florida theyre all over and air is free at all of them :)
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