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Old 12-17-2014, 05:24 PM   #1
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Nitrogen in Tires

Hello All

Our new TT has Nitrogen filled tires, how are you suppose to top off the pressure ? Before every trip i always check and top of the tire pressure. Should i just go back to good old air ????
Jim
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:03 PM   #2
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New vehicles have gone to nitrogen filled tires to prevent corrosion. It also will cause less tire pressure fluctuation due to temperature. This is because it is "dry". (no moisture in your tire).
All new cars have tire pressure monitoring systems, and that sensor is sensitive to corrosion. They cost $35 to $150 per sensor. Have you ever put air in a tire and noticed a little water leak out of the hose? Sure death for a TPMS sensor.
So back to your question, yes you can put regular air in it. You should always try to be sure there is no moisture in the line (regularly drain air tank or have a separator in the line). At my shop I have both, as well as a nitrogen tank.
John
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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Our atmosphere is +78% nitrogen, so regular air is fine in the tires. Yes, it's best to use air at low humidity, but unless you're driving 150 mph or more, having pure nitrogen in your tires isn't that big a factor.
Nitrogen was first used by race cars because of it's characteristics of less expansion with dramatic heat increase and the fact that the nitrogen molecule is larger than an oxygen molecule and migrates through the sidewalls of rubber tires slower than regular air.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:51 PM   #4
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What BF said.
Our air is 80% nitrogen! My trailer came with it, too. Have only used compressed air.
When they mount the tires on the rim and seal the bead, it already has plain air in it before they fill it.
It's a gimmick in my opinion because no tire contains ONLY nitrogen and air is mostly nitrogen, so the actual difference is tiny.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:58 PM   #5
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What I like about nitrogen-filled tires is the pressure doesn't change with altitude or temperature changes. And with nitrogen molecules being larger than oxygien molecules, there will be less seepage. As far as topping them off - where? Oh, and pure nitrogen tires DO work, just ask the aviation industry.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:16 PM   #6
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Search. Many existing and exhaustive posts regarding nitrogen.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:19 PM   #7
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To reiterate the above responses, you can just top off with regular air. Air is already around 80% nitrogen, so 'nitrogen' filled tires is just a marketing ploy.

Plus, I can almost guarantee your tires aren't filled with 100% nitrogen. They had regular air in them to begin with when the tire was mounted, and then pure nitrogen was used to set the bead and top it off. The only way to get close to 100% is if your wheels have TWO valve stems: one would be used to add nitrogen and the second to evacuate the old air. I highly doubt your wheels have two valve stems.

Nitrogen filled tires is marketing BS.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:33 PM   #8
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The use of nitrogen is not pure BS. There are some advantages but they are minimal under normal circumstances. Nitrogen is inert so there is less reaction with other gases so less corrosion. It also expands less with temp changes so less pressure variations. Many new vehicles use it because of the constant calls from customers who want to know why their TP light came on when the temps dropped to 10 degrees. It's similar to the MIL coming on because of a loose gas cap. Slowly but slowly the public is learning what to do.

If you have nitrogen in the tires just top off with regular air and don't worry about it.

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Old 12-17-2014, 10:52 PM   #9
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I have pondered the question.

If the atomosphere is 80% nitrogen and has larger molecules, will only the oxygen and CO2 molecules leak out leaving the nitrogen? If you have a slow leak and top up the tire once in a while, will the concentration of nitrogen increase until it is almost pure?
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:59 PM   #10
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I still say it's BS because

- 'Nitrogen' filled tires aren't 100% nitrogen. Not even close to possible unless you have two valve stems on the rim, which is pretty rare.

- Even assuming the tire is filled with 100% nitrogen, which I'm very skeptical of, the benefits are nominal. The difference in thermal expansion between pure nitrogen and air (80% nitrogen) is pretty small.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:10 PM   #11
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What drewtk said. We were on a coast to coast "bucket list" trip a few years ago and I wanted to have the tires rotated and readjusted (I run 65# front and 75# rear on my TV) and the service manager refused to add air since I had N2 filled tires. It's a pain to find nitrogen on the road and most places will charge you for it. I don't use nitrogen anymore and have never had any issues. Makes sense in airplanes but not RVs.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
is the pressure doesn't change with altitude or temperature changes
Nitrogen obeys the gas law as does dry normal air as does normal air with a bit of water vapour in it so assertions that some gases behave according to another law (conveniently never stated) are just wrong.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Lee View Post
Nitrogen obeys the gas law as does dry normal air as does normal air with a bit of water vapour in it so assertions that some gases behave according to another law (conveniently never stated) are just wrong.
Robert Boyle stated the 'law' in 1662. Also, using a shop compressor, with probably a decent air dryer and filter makes much of the advantages of Nitrogen little more than a advertising gimmick.

Nitrogen could be dangerous in some situations. If you were trapped in your trunk in a submerged car, you couldn't breathe in the air from the spare because you'd get no oxygen!
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Old 12-18-2014, 04:38 AM   #14
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Many thanks guys, i will just get an water separator for my compressor and go with that. You would think they would market a compress nitrogen bottle for home use, like we are talking about !!!

Jim
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