Ni­tro­gen de­liv­ers no great ben­e­fit

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

EV­ERY so of­ten we get asked about the ben­e­fits of in­flat­ing tyres with pure ni­tro­gen in­stead of good old air avail­able at our lo­cal ser­vice sta­tions.

Gen­er­ally we’ve ar­gued against its use, say­ing that the ben­e­fits for the nor­mal mo­torist are min­i­mal and can’t be jus­ti­fied when you con­sider the cost and avail­abil­ity of the gas.

Air is mostly made up of ni­tro­gen and oxy­gen, which is fine for nor­mal use, but oxy­gen does per­me­ate through the rub­ber side­wall of the tyre, caus­ing a slight loss of pres­sure over time.

Ni­tro­gen also per­me­ates through the side­wall, but at a 30 per cent slower rate. The pres­sure loss is less with ni­tro­gen, but reg­u­lar pres­sure checks are still re­quired. When you do need to re­in­flate your tyres to ad­just for the pres­sure loss, you have to find an out­let with ni­tro­gen.

The pro­po­nents of ni­tro­gen also ar­gue that it’s a more sta­ble gas and de­liv­ers more pre­dictable tyre per­for­mance.

While that’s true, it’s re­ally only ben­e­fi­cial in ex­treme con­di­tions like mo­tor rac­ing where higher tyre tem­per­a­tures are gen­er­ated. There’s vir­tu­ally no ben­e­fit for the or­di­nary mo­torist.

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