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Nitrogen ?

Discussion in 'Model X: Driving Dynamics' started by LS.., Aug 21, 2018.

  1. LS..

    LS.. Member

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    Anyone have experience using tires filled with nitrogen to help stabilize pressures?

    Recommended or not?

    Thanks.
     
  2. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    I wouldn’t pay extra for it. I don’t find it makes a difference in my driving.
     
  3. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

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    I found that with a nitrogen fill, tire pressure does not change significantly while driving (I have Michelins). Air is already 78% nitrogen, but I suppose the extra 22% helps with not just the pressure but possibly heat generation. There should also be less humidity in nitrogen fills, which might help lengthen the life of your tires / wheels as well.

    More here:
    Nitrogen vs Air In Tires - Why Nitrogen in Tires
     
    • Like x 1
  4. Derek Kessler

    Derek Kessler Member

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    When I had my old car re-tired they filled with nitrogen. Didn't notice a single difference. It's a gimmick.
     
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  5. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Active Member

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    I always fill with 78% nitrogen. I do find that it helps the checkbook.

    I believe that I've heard that a lot of locations charging for nitrogen have also been found to be using 78% nitrogen.

    Me, I don't like the green valve caps.
     
    • Funny x 4
  6. Krazaak

    Krazaak Member

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    I used nitrogen for a few years. It saved me from the occasional low tire pressure warning on the coldest of days. Without it though, on those cold days, the TPMS warning will go away after a few minutes of driving, since the tires don't stay that cold for long.

    I wouldn't call it a gimmick, because it does actually make a positive difference, but I wouldn't consider it a valuable difference.

    If it's free (or very cheap), then sure, but I don't bother with it now since the nearby Discount Tire doesn't do nitrogen. Green valve caps would be a gimmick... there's certainly no danger in putting normal air (78% nitrogen) in a nitrogen filled tire in a pinch.
     
  7. TexasRat

    TexasRat Member

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    I think nitrogen works well. It will keep your tire pressure fairly consistent through temperature swings. The downside to me is that I always use an air compressor at home to top off my tires as they change. You can't do that with nitrogen tires, so you're now forced to take your car elsewhere to have it topped off. If you take it someplace anyway, it might be worth it if they're not gouging you on price.
     
  8. Krazaak

    Krazaak Member

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    The shop I used charged $20 for nitrogen at install time and offered free fills. In the years I used it, I rarely needed to top off the tires.

    Issue is though, even with regular air losing a couple PSI on really cold days, they're back to full pressure within a few miles and adding air means you might end up over pressure at full temp on the highway.

    In retrospect though, nitrogen might be more valuable on an EV since tire pressure has a significant impact on range and we're a lot more range conscious than an ICE.

    I found it convenient for $20, especially since a full set of tires was costing me in excess of $1,600 anyway, it was a drop in the bucket and it definitely works.
     
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  9. TexasRat

    TexasRat Member

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    Sometimes when a cold front comes in, our tires can lose upwards of 10 PSI. It definitely doesn't come back after driving just a few miles. I know that I've definitely had to adjust for some of it and that the tires weren't getting over-inflated, but I see your point if it was only a 1 - 2 PSI drop.
     
  10. SSedan

    SSedan Member

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    On the humidity argument, that is why you really should not use the cigarette lighter compressors, a compressor with a tank let's the water fall out of suspension especially if you have a compressor that shuts off at 90+psi.

    Even a cheap 120 volt pancake compressor is better than a 12volt and it can be used for so much else, and the tank means water has somewhere to go other than your tire.
    I do keep a 12volt in the car but couldn't guess when last used.
     
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  11. Krazaak

    Krazaak Member

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    Yeah, that's pretty dramatic, since a 10 PSI difference would typically be associated with a 100 degree fluctuation in tire temp. I didn't start using nitrogen until I moved here and it just doesn't get that cold.
     
  12. TexasRat

    TexasRat Member

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    Yeah it didn't happen often, but it went from like 80+ to below freezing when a cold front moved in. Normally I'd say it's a moot point though.
     
  13. Beardco

    Beardco Member

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    Costco uses nitrogen and doesn't charge for it. Tesla does not use nitrogen. I asked Tesla why when replacing a tire last week. The service adviser could not remember why, was going to get back with me, then went home early.

    Costco says nitrogen is a larger molecule so it does not dissipate out of the tire as quickly. They don't charge for it so, there's nothing to sell.
     
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  14. Peteski

    Peteski Active Member

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    Nitrogen provides a small advantage (i.e. less pressure fluctuation with temperature) but in the real world it makes no practical difference to your tyre wear or handling. It's really not that hard to keep pressures within spec by checking them weekly or if the ambient temperature suddenly changes dramatically.

    If they are offering a free nitrogen fill then great, but it's certainly not worth paying money for. Some tyre places use it as a money spinner, but don't believe the hype!
     
    • Informative x 1
  15. RayW

    RayW Irritated

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    I also noticed installing the tires with white letters in makes them much faster
     
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  16. Boourns

    Boourns Active Member

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  17. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    I usually have used nitrogen, but mostly because I filled at FBO's where the nitrogen is used for aircraft tires. There is lots of documentation about the relative benefits. My personal view is that the major benefit for normal car tires is that the nitrogen fill is dry, while most air pumps are not dried. It is true that the molecule is bigger but air is mostly nitrogen anyway so that benefit is pretty small. Compression and expansion are reduced so there is measurably reduced temperature rise in the tires, so there will be measurably increased service life. The decreased compression does give a slight advantage in road hazard reduction too.

    All those factors are measurable, but being measurable definitely does not confer the economic benefits to justify paying for nitrogen. I'd go out of my way for an FBO or Costco or some other free nitrogen, but I'd not pay extra for it. Tesla's making an economic decisions, were it to confer distinct justifiable value they'd use nitrogen.
     
  18. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    Eventually, as one keeps topping off their tires, in theory only the larger molecules would remain.
     
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  19. SSedan

    SSedan Member

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    Just for clarity since someone will certainly make some conclusion that since airplanes use it it is better. A typical jet will see rapid(Hour or less) changes from 90+ on the ramp, maybe a good bit more with the tires in the blazing sun and then at cruise altitude it is almost always going to be more than 40below zero. None of us has ever put our car tires thru that. Even if you live in a climate that sees -40 at ground level you aren't heating your garage to 90+ with additional solar load.

    If cars had to play by airplane rules a Model 3 would cost more than a Model X does.
     
  20. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Actually the reason for nitrogen is that airplanes began using magnesium wheels to save weight, but the technologies to reduce flammability were immature so wheels began to catch fire. Nitrogen is inert, so it replaced air and the firs stopped, more or less. Wheels soon improved but nitrogen stayed because of its' other attractive properties. There's a source somewhere for that but i don't recall where. Iearned it while working on my ATP.
     

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