Nitrogen in tires...worth it?

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havasu

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I recently purchased new tires for my car. The tire shop manager is a friend of mine, and he advised he would fill the tires with Nitrogen rather than plain old air. Some folks are telling me it is a good idea, others believe it is a rip off.

What do you think?
 

Floorist

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"Is Filling Nitrogen in Tires Good or Bad?

I was aware of the fact that pure nitrogen is used for inflating aircraft tires and those of race cars. However, I was in the dark regarding its uses in normal passenger cars and personal vehicles. Within a few minutes of conversing with my friend, I was aware of the advantages of nitrogen filled tires as well the associated drawbacks. Well, first comes the good part.

Pros
The following are the advantages of inflating car tires with pure nitrogen, instead of regular air.
A tire that has been inflated with nitrogen will maintain 'air pressure' much better and for a slightly longer period of time, as compared to a tire that has been inflated with regular air. This is because nitrogen molecules are larger in size than oxygen molecules and therefore, are less likely to leak or escape through the tire valve.
This indirectly helps in bettering the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. This is because, insufficient air pressure in the car tire can have an adverse effect on its fuel consumption and resultant fuel efficiency. Nitrogen filled tires have better and more consistent 'air pressure' which consequently, aid the vehicle's fuel efficiency (even if it is by a small margin).
Pure nitrogen is much drier than regular air (which contains water vapor). Depending on tire temperatures, the water vapor in the air undergoes changes in pressure, which results in varying tire pressures. This is not an issue in case of tires that are filled with nitrogen.
Oxygen and water vapor react with the insides of the car tire, i.e., with the rubber as well as the metal rims, and gradually lead to development and deposition of rust. This has an adverse effect on the longevity of the car tire. Nitrogen does not react with the car tire insides or with the rim, thereby enhancing the life of the car tire.
Nitrogen is a gas that does not support combustion, therefore in case of an extremely overheated tire catching fire, nitrogen makes for much better safety than regular air (which contains oxygen that supports combustion).
Filling nitrogen in tires also helps in keeping the insides of the tire cool, even at high speeds.
Cons
Now for the bad news (or should I say, the not-so-good news).
There is only one drawback of substituting air with nitrogen. Nitrogen costs money, unlike air, which is free. Inflating tires with pure nitrogen can cost anywhere between USD 4 to USD 12 per tire. That makes for nearly USD 15 to USD 50 for all four tires. Not many people are interested in spending that kind of money on a weekly basis, particularly if they are not wholly convinced about the benefits or if the benefits are marginal."
 

Ernesto

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Costco does it for free when you buy tires there. And if you need a tire check or nitrogen simply pull up to the tire dept and one of the guys will be directly over.
 
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