Simple way to get longer tyre life?

18th Sep 2014 by Admin

Use Nitrogen to pump up your tyres. Nitrogen is a safe, colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic gas that forms about 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

For some time now, Nitrogen inflation of tyres has been used in trucks, aircraft, race cars and industrial applications, but it is only relatively recently that it has come into use in normal passenger vehicles.

An interesting article on the RACQ website outlined the pros and cons of using nitrogen.

The benefits are:

  • Reduces the tyre’s running temperature, through the reduction in moisture levels.
  • Increases tyre life by keeping tyre pressures more constant – Tyre liners and tubes are to some degree porous, and as a result air will eventually leach out. Nitrogen, due to its chemical structure, is slower to leak out than compressed air. Therefore the pressure loss is slower by up to 3 or 4 times.
  • The flow on effect is that tyres inflated to the correct pressure roll with less friction, therefore suffer less tyre wear.
  • Nitrogen doesn’t react with the tyre and rim materials – because it is drier, it reduces other gases and water vapour which can cause corrosion of the rim and oxidation of the tyre casing.

Other considerations:

  • Cost - The typical charge for nitrogen is between $5 and $10 per tyre for a passenger car.
  • Maintenance - Once your tyres are filled with nitrogen it’s important that only nitrogen is used for top up purposes. Adding normal compressed air will negate any benefits of the nitrogen.
  • Availability - Nitrogen isn’t as readily available as compressed air.

To identify tyres filled with nitrogen our industry has adopted the use of coloured valve caps that inform the user and service personnel that your tyres are inflated with nitrogen instead of air.

NOTE: Using nitrogen does not remove the need to check tyre pressures as the risk of a puncture or slow leak is not altered. Regardless of what inflation gas is used, maximum tyre life will only be achieved if the vehicle and tyres are properly maintained. That means regular checking of tyre pressures, wheel balance and alignment.

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