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Have you noticed nitrogen pumps popping up in your area? A growing number of dealerships and garages are offering nitrogen fill-ups to those who are interested in filling their tires with 100% nitrogen rather than the gases that are typically found at a tire pump. But, what is the purpose of using 100% nitrogen rather than the traditional air? Are there really any advantages to using this gas instead?
What is in Your Tires Anyway?
The “air” that is at the traditional air pump is already made largely of nitrogen. In fact, about 78% of that gas is nitrogen, while about 21% is oxygen and the remaining 1% is made from a variety of other gases. 100% nitrogen, on the other hand, consists solely of nitrogen gas. As a result, there is no water vapor inside your tires, whereas traditional air can potentially have a great deal of water vapor that can be affected by changes in temperature.
What are the Advantages of Using 100% Nitrogen
Proponents of 100% nitrogen claim that using nitrogen at your fill up will help reduce the tire pressure changes that typically occur when the temperature changes. By reducing tire pressure changes, the wear and tear placed on the tire is reduced and the life of your tires is expanded. Supporters of nitrogen fill ups also claim that using nitrogen helps improve the handling of the vehicle and actually improves fuel efficiency.
While it is true that nitrogen can help reduce tire pressure fluctuations, there is nothing to show that it actually increases the life of the tires, improves handling or improves fuel efficiency. So, unless you are getting your 100% nitrogen fill up for free or at a price that is comparable to the traditional air fill up, it probably isn’t worth your while to go out of your way or to pay extra for pure nitrogen gas.