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Air vs Nitrogen Which One Is Best For Your Car Tyres?

When it comes to car tyres, many car owners have questions like - when is the right time to do a tyre rotation? Do I need to do a wheel alignment? Another important question that pops up is, should I fill my car tyres with Nitrogen or Air? In recent times, filling Nitrogen in tyres has become a common practice amongst many car owners.  But, if you ask them the logic behind it many of them don’t have an answer. This blog compares both Air and Nitrogen to see whether Nitrogen is really worth the hype or the humble good old air still makes sense.

Air

Let’s start with some elementary science, air consists of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and 1% being a combination of water vapour, CO2 and other gases. All the gases expand when heated and contract when cooled. For decades, Air has been the preferred choice for motorists.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Pressure changes with a change in temperature leading to a loss in tyre pressure.
  • Oxygen in the air may oxidize the tyre polymer causing tyre wear.

Nitrogen

On the other hand, Nitrogen in its purest form is a non-reactive, non-combustible gas with larger molecules. It doesn’t support moisture or combustion. This enables the tyre to maintain a stable pressure for a longer duration. Nitrogen is generally used in aircraft, race cars and other heavy-duty vehicles where the tyre pressure variations affect the performance and handling of the application.

Advantages

  • Tyre pressure remains stable for a long period of time.
  • Due to no moisture, Nitrogen won’t cause damage to the tyre
  • Nitrogen will run cooler than air

Disadvantages

  • Although popular, Nitrogen is not available everywhere.
  • May not be free.

Tyre Pressure Retention

Just that you have filled nitrogen doesn’t mean you don’t have to refill it again. For Example, let’s take two tyres, one filled with Nitrogen and the other filled with Air. With the same pound per square inch (PSI), the nitrogen-filled tyre would lose 2.2 PSI and the air-filled tyre would lose 3.5 PSI. Irrespective of Air or Nitrogen you are bound to lose tyre pressure over a period of time.

Fuel Efficiency

A properly inflated tyre always helps in delivering better fuel efficiency. As Nitrogen tends to lose at a slower rate than air, it marginally improves the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. However, if you are using air and maintaining the right pressure at all times it becomes a leveller.

Metal Deterioration

Car racers who constantly drive at high speeds use Nitrogen instead of Air. Air contains vapour in small amounts when condensed in colder temperature turns into water and deteriorates the rim and tyres. Nitrogen is completely dry, prevents the metal from corrosion and increases the life of the rim and tyres. But most of the modern-day vehicles are treated with anti-corrosive paints. So, filling your car tyre with air won’t affect your tyres.

What’s The Verdict?

Even though Nitrogen has some advantages in terms of pressure retention you won’t notice a significant difference. It all boils down to maintaining the ideal tyre pressure at all times. We know you consider only the best option for your car, likewise protect your car with comprehensive car insurance from Cholamandalam car insurance.

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