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Nitrogen filled tires? Pros and cons

Hello. I may possibly be purchasing a 2005 Altima 3.5SL. The dealers website offered the free Carfax report which I reviewed. I noticed that one of the things the previous owner did was fill the tires with nitrogen. I have heard of this before but cannot remember any specifics.

1) Is it true that you can go longer between inflations (I use good old fashioned air in my current car once a month).
2) Is it true that once you go nitrogen you cannot switch back to air (or you can but it's complicated)?
3) What are the pros and cons of nitrogen inflations vs air inflations? (I know that the price is the main thing. Air is free at the local tire shop. Also, I have seen coupons for nitrogen inflations for $19.99 which lets me know the regular price is more expensive. I mean, even if the inflations last longer, that's still expensive in my opinion).

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.


  • edited October 2011
    1) No, air is 78% nitrogen, there's very little difference
    2) No, ignore the fact that nitrogen is in the tires, fill up with air any time your pressures are low
    3) Pro - the guy selling the nitrogen makes some money. Cons - waste of your money.

    Fine if it's free, do not pay $1 for it.

    If you want more info, type in 'nitrogen' in the search box to the right.
  • It's a product with no purpose..Except to get into your wallet....
  • Pure profit motive for most shops that sell it. It is used in Nascar and some aircraft applications for conditions that your daily driver will never see. So, there is absolutely no benefit for you.
  • When they remove the oxygen and trace gases from the air, they also remove the moisture. Dry air in your tires is a good thing, particularly in cold climates. Commercial air compressors knock out most of the water, but nitrogen is dry.

    All the other claims you hear about nitrogen in tires are BS.

    Costco puts nitrogen in your tires as standard practice. I think that's nice, but if it were optional and they wanted a buck a tire to use nitrogen, I probably would not pay for it. I add air to my tires in my garage with a hand pump. Hand pumps don't remove any of the moisture from air, but I live in a dry warm climate.
  • It almost seems as though the things you have heard about nitrogen inflation are being confused with some of the things people hear about synthetic engine oil (going longer between pressure checks/oil changes, cannot switch between the two), and neither of these things should be assumed about either of these products. Nitrogen inflation is one heck of a waste of money. It literally does the exact same thing for your car as filling the tires with good old fashioned air: it keeps the tires round rather than flat. It doesn't improve gas mileage or slow down leaks, and you still need to monitor your air pressure. It's fine if it's free, but it's not something to spend money on since there are no real world benefits of using nitrogen over air.

    One other thing: there is a "selling point" that is commonly used for nitrogen inflation about slowing down the degradation of the rubber, i.e: your tires won't dry rot as quickly. This works on a lot of people unless you give it a little thought. Tires dry rot on the outside first because that is where they are subject to harsh environmental conditions. Nitrogen inflation won't help you there, either.
  • Nitrogen will help the race car guys a little bit at 180 MPH but on a daily driven street car it doesn't mean a thing. This is just a comparatively recent development to separate people from their money.
  • I actually got fairly depressed when I saw that my regular shop started advertising the nitrogen fill service. It made me think I should change shops even though I've been using them a long time. They did just recently do a large expansion - lots more bays & employees, etc. I'd bet they have plenty of big debt to pay on. So I'm hoping they won't go "corporate" style on me.

    I have to get a new set of tires soon & I buy from them. If they try to sell it to me, I'll at least get the chance to say "c'mon, you guys used to be a serious place"
  • LOL....I like your style, cigroller. I have a compressor in my basement, and when I need air in my tires I just run a hose out to the cars. I give the tire chuck a quick spritz with my thumbnail to get any water out. The only time I have to add air is when the weather gets cold. It just doesn't leak out that much!
  • Cigroller and Doubleclutch have it right. Nitrogen in the tires means no savings to you. I race the 1/4 mile in 10:43 and use Nitrogen for that car. The tires don't expand with the nitrogen which means I can run more races on those tires. But my street vehicle run air in the tires. Check-them-tires weekly for pressure, daily on looks, rotate them as you should and the tires will last a good long time. I run Low-Pros on my street vehicle and the last 4-5 years. Because I take care of them.
  • Altimagirl--I would sell you nitrogen for your tires if you think you will do a lot of night driving. However, in your other post on checking out the 2005 Altima, you've proven that you are too smart for that line. I'll have to look for another sucker.
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