Nitrogen in the tires

gunga64gunga64 Member Posts: 271
I asked the dealer if I could put air in the nitrogen filled tires that came OEM. He said no problem, has anyone else put air in nitrogen filled tires. I guess mixing air and nitrogen is ok?


  • oscar_gataoscar_gata Member Posts: 96
    Air is made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, so mixing pure nitrogen with air is fine. It's not worth paying much (or anything) for pure nitrogen, but to each his own.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I'm curious. How much of a premium did they charge for nitrogen filled tires?

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    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kdahlquistkdahlquist Member Posts: 130
    Consumer Reports recently did a test to see if filling tires with Nitrogen vs. regular air (as noted above, regular air is already mostly Nitrogen) made a difference. As I recall (don't have it in front of me right now), they concluded that over the course of 12 months, a typical tire filled with air would lose about 3-4 psi, while the same tire filled with nitrogen would lose around 2-3 psi. However, they also noted that since you're losing psi either way, you will need to periodically check and top off your tires regardless of which one you use. Therefore, there is no practical benefit to Nitrogen, and no reason to pay extra for it.
  • gunga64gunga64 Member Posts: 271
    Did not charge anything as all of their hyundais have nitrogen. Well all of the santa fes anyway. I would never pay for it.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I haven't heard an update from Pf_Flyer on his nitrogen experiment lately:

    Nitrogen: A Noble Gas?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Nitrogen experiment is going just fine. ;)

    As I expected, I'm not really seeing any improvement in mileage since I tend to take care and monitor to the pressure in my tires on a regular basis. But I have observed that my tire pressure have been more consistent and the tires have maintained pressure longer with the nitrogen.

    So for someone who sort of neglects their tire pressures, I'd imagine that they'd see less of a dropoff in mileage and handling as their tires wouldn't get as low as fast.
  • rudlyrudly Member Posts: 1
    I put nitrogen in my 06 Element ,I live in New England Area and for one it snows a LOT here well the plows stack the snow it seems right against the air checker and so no checking the tire pressure(at least 5 months out if the year)so that was the clincher for me to use nitrogen and don't pilots use it in the tires of there plane"s
  • mikebutkusmikebutkus Member Posts: 18
    Nope... just a selling (money making) feature. I remember this trick back in the 70's during the first "oil shortage". That made the rounds.. back then too.
    Yes, planes do use nitrogen. They also take a heck of a beating and big aircraft travel thousands of feet in the air where it's minus outside, then land in Florida.
    Race cars too.. at 220mph, you need it.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Sneakers says you're not really going to notice any changes running nitrogen in your tires. But he also says he thinks there's something to be said for running nitrogen in your tires.

    Jul 15, 2009 - Nitrogen Long Term Test (AlternateRoute)


    (the compressor is behind the 99+ sign).
  • m6userm6user Member Posts: 3,181
    I had new Michelins put on last Sept at Costco on a suv. They put nitrogen in your tires as part of their installation. I don't think I would have paid extra for it if it wasn't included. I've checked my pressure several times myself and they are at exactly 30lbs where they were when they filled them. I began to think my pressure gauge wasn't good so I took to a garage and had them check and 9 months later still have 30lbs pressure in each. Been driving 40 years and never had than experience before.

    Had Goodrich tires installed on a Tundra in Dec also at Costco. The same story. These same two vehicles with OEM tires had to have air added at least a couple of times a year and sometimes a single tire more than that. The Tundra with the nitrogen still has same pressure as when originally filled. Now this may have something to do with the installation and the tires themselves, but I've ran hundreds of tires in my 42 years of driving and never had this kind of luck.

    I haven't read any stories of the nitrogen filled tires not giving good results. Lots of people will say scientifically it doesn't make much difference but the proof to me is my experience. Most of them just read stuff and then tell everybody else they are crazy.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    I paid $5 per tire.The nice thing besides less loss of pressure is that I can go there any time and they will check the pressure and if needed will add nitrogen for free.I used to hate checking the tire pressure.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    the proof to me is my experience

    Thanks for your report. In my experience, ordinary air (79% N2) has always been completely reliable and I have seen no need for nitrogen. Any time I have had air pressure problems it was always due to damaged rims or faulty tires. N2 would have made no difference. And the science still holds. :)

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    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • m6userm6user Member Posts: 3,181
    Air has always been reliable for me as well but I still had to add air at least a couple of times a year. Do I need the full nitrogen? Not at all but it is very nice to have have full tires all the time and not have to check nearly as often especially when it's cold as a welldiggers a** out.

    I wonder if the nitrogen, because of it's molecule density, is less inclined to contract in cold temperatures. Usually when it's very cold tires need a little more air but mine stayed full all winter. This could all be a coincidence of new tires and a great seal/installation job but it sure is a pleasant experience.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I wonder if the nitrogen, because of it's molecule density, is less inclined to contract in cold temperatures.

    Under "normal" conditions, nitrogen and oxygen molecules both behave pretty much as ideal gases so their density variation with temperature will be substantially the same.

    The relevant factors are molecular size and molecular speed. Nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules (by about 6%) so they will be less likely to escape through a "hole" in a single encounter. On the other hand, nitrogen molecules travel a little faster than oxygen molecules for a given temperature (also about 6!) which gives them more frequent opportunities to escape. In the end, it should be pretty much a wash between the two molecules.

    On the other hand, the air that you pump into your tires has some water content which is not present when you use pure nitrogen to fill your tires. Water vapor accounts for some of the pressure in your air-filled tires and it can leak out more quickly than either nitrogen or oxygen.

    In any case, I'm glad you're happy with your new tires and your N2! :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • dago55dago55 Member Posts: 1
    I have been chasing the dealership I purchased my Nissan Versa from about getting my tires filled; since unbeknown to me the tires are filled with nitrogen. Each time I have called the dealership; plus stopped in they tell me the machine is broke. I check with Discount and Big O and they don't carry nitrogen.

    I live in AZ and my tire light is on and my tires are low...Can you add air to the nitrogen tires without damage. Any ideas, I am getting very ticked off...
  • m6userm6user Member Posts: 3,181
    You can add regular air to nitrogen filled tires. It will just dilute the nitrogen a very small percentage. Normal air is about 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. So by putting air witht the nitrogen you would have just a couple of % oxygen versus about 100 nitrogen. Over time, and without additional nitrogen you would get closer to a regular air mixture.

    I have had very good luck in Chicago area with two vehicles with nitrogen(nothing added for almost a year in both vehicles). Maybe the high temperature of AZ affect the nitrogen more. I wouldn't know about that but it is certainly ok to add regular air.
  • reubenray1reubenray1 Member Posts: 21
    I came across this looking at the 2011 Kia Sorento's today. They had an charge of $50 for having nitrogen in the tires. It sounds like a ripoff to me.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    It is. My local tire stores fills all four tires with N for $20 includes any refills.
  • rocdredrocdred Member Posts: 17
    at a wider range of temps.

    With plain old air, tires are subject to the same problems people are. Cold air will compress, and hot air will expand, but when you use nitrogen, the tires will remain at a much more even pressure as it's not nearly as temperature sensative.

    If you have a green cap on your tire stems, use Nitro, as adding air also adds moisture and can affect tire life and performance.!

    Just thought i'd toss in that info..

  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    but when you use nitrogen, the tires will remain at a much more even pressure as it's not nearly as temperature sensative

    Nitrogen and oxygen (the primary components of air) are both small nonpolar molecules and should therefore each behave very much like ideal gases. I don't see that compressibility would be affected in any significant way by replacing 80% nitrogen with 100% nitrogen.

    Any difference would possibly be more related to the water content of air versus that of nitrogen which effectively removes the moisture. In any case, the differences should be largely negligible for ordinary vehicles as opposed to race cars.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    Our new Nissan Versa had nitrogen in tires filled by dealer.
    After taking possesion of vehicle, tires were 4psi underinflated.
    There was a 50$ charge on vehicle price for that nitrogen.
    As winter settled in, had to go back three time for top up.
    This tells me you have to check tire press nitrogen or not.
    In which case, air is more convenient because if you have a compressor there is no hassle:air is easier to get than nitrogen. I see that ntrogen fill by the dealer as a cash grab.
  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    under a perfect world, dealers and tire shops would use pure dry nitrogen or have the required equipment; they dont in order to cut costs and increase profits.
    They also bank on the fact people for the most part never check their tires thinking its good enough to do it when vehicle is serviced.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    We have two cars with nitrogen in the tires and never lost any between oil changes.That is part of the service and they never had to add any.That is why I paid #25 per vehicle to have the nitro. added.The cars are : 2006.5 KIA Optima and a 2007 Prius.
  • Sandman6472Sandman6472 Member Posts: 6,620
    Had this for free when we got our M3s back in '05 & have found no difference between free air & $ nitro...just isn't worth the extra cost. Anyways, air is mostly made up of nitrogen anyways...just a profit source for the dealers & tire outlets. Will never do it again...unless it's free. I'm also a bit lucky in that my trusted friend from years ago & his staff know that I'm partially handicapped and check my tires whenever I swing by...never a long wait, they just do it for me!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife) / 2015 Golf TSI (me) / 2019 Chevrolet Cruze Premier RS (daughter #1) / 2020 Hyundai Accent SE (daughter #2) / 2023 Subaru Impreza Base (son)

  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    Thanks for confirming what is becoming apparent to me. Nitrogen in tires has no real benefits!
    I have been maintaining vehicles myself for years and either have become too fussy or aware of different aspects of auto maintenance that dealers and shops find me a thorn in the side. its bad enough trying to maintain relationship with dealers to maintain their so called warranty requirements.
  • psykoconnellpsykoconnell Member Posts: 3
    The reason aircraft, race cars and such use nitrogen is because it is pure nitrogen in a pressurized bottle, and it is dry. 0% moisture, and moisture inside your tire will do weird things with temp changes as well as cause your tires to deteriorate more quickly. That's pretty much the only benefit of using the nitrogen. I would have to say ALL air compressors in shops, even here in dry [non-permissible content removed] Las Vegas, build moisture when compressing the air in the tank and will disperse that moisture out the line and into your tire when filling up with air, hence the nitrogen bottle.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    The reason aircraft use it is because nitrogen doesn't support combustion. Even then, we're talking commercial aircraft. I flew with a guy one time after we put some Fix-a-Flat in a leaky tire. :shades:
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901
    edited November 2011
    Just an FYI on aircraft tires.

    These tires can use up to 350 psi - and the simplest and easiest way to fill a tire to those sorts of pressures is to have a cart with nitrogen bottles already hooked up. These bottles have over 2000 psi in them and when you connect them and put them in a cart with wheels, the cart can be wheeled whereever it is needed.

    And when it is time to refill the bottles, the cart goes to the shop. No muss, no fuss!
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