Pneumatic tyres were a breakthrough. You can grasp its significance by the fact that even after this many years, with so much of progress in science and technology; it remains the standard form of tyres across the globe.
For the past 140 odd years, compressed air is being used to inflate tyres. In recent years, however, there has been a shift in consumer preference. More and more people are using nitrogen over the compressed air in their car tyres.
However, does this premise hold any water? Or is it just an elaborate sham? The debate over this issue has been raging for some time now. There seems to be no consensus among automobile experts. However, most concede that nitrogen does have some advantages over air.
Let’s find out for ourselves.
A little about Nitrogen first
If you paid attention in your chemistry class, you might remember that nitrogen is an inert gas. You don’t have to be Walter White to understand that it is neither volatile nor combustible. It is present abundantly in the air itself.
The use of nitrogen for tyre inflation is not a new phenomenon either. Aircraft tyres have been using it for the past five decades. Some high octane racing cars and even Formula One cars use it.
However, it is only now trickling down to the passenger car market. Should you go for it? Read on and decide for yourself.
Advantages of nitrogen over air
The most glaring benefit of using nitrogen for your car tyres in Nottingham and elsewhere is that it retains pressure much better than other gases. The molecular structure of oxygen (which is about 21% of the air composition) is such that it permeates through the carcass of the tyre ever so slowly. On an average, that results in the loss of 2-4 psi of air pressure every month.
Nitrogen is different. Its molecules are larger than oxygen. Even nitrogen will seep through the tyre carcass but at a much slower rate, thereby reducing the rate of depletion.
The second upside of using nitrogen is that, unlike air, which carries moisture, it will not corrode the metallic part of the wheel. This will result in longer service-life from the entire wheel and tyre assembly.
Should you go for the switch?
Now that we have established that nitrogen provides some technical advantages over the compressed air, is it worth switching over to? Well, that depends on what you drive and how you drive it.
Under normal circumstances, an average user won’t notice the minor difference that nitrogen makes.
While nitrogen is suitable for high-performance, aircraft and load bearer tyres, its practical usage in standard passenger vehicles are limited. The higher cost makes it unfeasible for an average car owner. The minor advantages are not worth the extra price.
Additionally, the infrastructure for nitrogen vending is not developed enough. Barring a few garages, it’s not available at large.
However, if you visit the race tracks often or have to store your car for a prolonged period, you should opt for nitrogen. A wide range of Your Tyres & Auto Care tyres are nitrogen compatible, and you may check them out at your leisure. Some models of Continental tyres, in particular, are ideal for it.