If you’d like to save money at the gas pump and extend tire life by 25 percent, look no further than the air that fills your tires.
And then say hello to nitrogen. For years, race car owners, the military and airlines have filled tires with nitrogen to improve their performance and increase their lifespan.
Now this technology is available to you at C&M Auto Service.And on vehicles equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, nitrogen helps protect against false alarms—a.k.a. dashboard warning lights—due
to extreme temperature changes. Effective in September, all new cars are required by law to be equipped with a TPMS.
While the pressurized air filling your tires is already 80% nitrogen, the problem lies with the gas making up the other 20%—oxygen. Consider these facts:
Because we see the costly effects of under-inflated tires every day, we recognize the benefits Nitrogen has to offer. And now, we have the equipment it takes to create a vacuum on each tire and exchange the ambient air with 99% nitrogen. The cost of this fuel-, tire- and money-saving effort is $44.45 for a set of four tires.
- Nitrogen leaks from your tires four times more slowly than oxygen—2.7 psi per month versus 0.7 psi. This helps prevent underinflated tires, which increase fuel consumption and lead to premature tire wear.
- Nitrogen is not sensitive to air temperature extremes like oxygen. For every 10 degrees the ambient air temperature changes, your tire pressure will fluctuate more than half a pound. Consider how Chicago temps of 98 degrees can plummet to a seasonably cool 68 degrees within a few hours or how a winter daytime high of 50 degrees can drop to 20 degrees by evening. A tire that started out at 32 psi has now dropped to less than 29 psi.
- The amount of tread contracting the road changes as a tire expands and contracts with temperature. Because Nitrogen is more stable, these changes are minimized.
- Nitrogen helps prevent oxidation of the rim and wheel. Oxygen reacts with minute amounts of hydrogen in the tires to create water vapor that leaks through sidewalls and reduces air pressure or that causes rust to form on the rim. (Ever had a persistent slow leak because of a problematic rim?)
Investing in nitrogen doesn’t mean you can ignore tire maintenance. You’ll still want to have your tires inspected periodically for wear. But in the meantime, nitrogen will be there to lend a stabilizing hand.
The Rising Costs of Inflation
As fuel prices continue to climb, so do the costs of driving with under-inflated tires.
Consider these statistics collected from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA):
- If you drive with just one tire 20% under-inflated, you’ll use about two weeks of gas per year and will wear your tire tread 6 to 9 months faster.
- If you’re like most motorists, you could improve gas mileage nearly 3 percent simply by keeping your tires at the recommended psi. The government estimates that Americans
lose more than 2 million gallons of gas every day due to under-inflated tires.
- Nearly 30 percent of cars, vans, pickups and SUVs on the road have at least one tire that is substantially under-inflated—at least 8 psi below the recommended minimum pressure.
- At least 90% of blowouts are caused by under-inflated tires.