Over the last few years, you may have heard the buzz surrounding the idea of inflating your vehicle’s tires with pure nitrogen and how this will improve tire reliability and performance. The concept comes to us, as many new auto concepts and technologies do, from Formula One. In Formula One, tires on all vehicles are inflated with pure nitrogen, and for good reason.
However, is it worth the extra expense to inflate your tires with pure nitrogen?
The answer is no. For Formula One, it’s necessary and the science backs that up. However, for those of us who aren’t Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, in other words, regular road users, it really isn’t worth the extra expense.
Allow us to explain…
The content of the air around us is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% various other gases such as carbon dioxide etc. and water vapour.
As you can see, even with classic compressed air, there’s already quite a bit of nitrogen in your tires. However, the issue is the water vapour. Exposed to heat, whether that’s from high speed or a hot summer afternoon, the water vapour content in your tires will lead to increased pressure, which means increased unpredictability as to how your tires will perform.
Now, that sounds scary, but it really isn’t. The degree of increased pressure and unpredictability that this leads to is minimal, and has virtually no impact on your handling. Of course, for Formula One, these minimal fluctuations are important as engineers endeavour to predict the performance of tires with precision.
For you and I, this exact level of precision is unnecessary and inflating your tires with pure nitrogen is a waste of money. Our advice? Don’t do it.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this great video from Fifth Gear:
If you have any question about your vehicle’s tires, please contact us.