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Tyre inflation with Nitrogen


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#1 RallySimon

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:50

While applying the stone chip protection film to the rear doors of my Yeti on Friday afternoon I discovered a screw through the tread of the passenger side rear wheel :doh:

At this point I was glad I'd spent the money on a full size spare (matching alloy wheel and tyre carried upside down in the boot) as it was too late to go anywhere to get it sorted and I had plans on the Saturday visiting parents that didn't include chasing around getting it sorted.

Anyway to get onto my question - I called into a tyre place near my parents on the way home and they were able to repair it which was good news - just threw it back in the boot for now as I was in a rush, when I got home just fileing the receipt away and noticed it says its been inflated with Nitrogen... why? I presume theres supposed to be some kind of benefit as I was charged £1.75 for this, but its new to me.

Can I still check the pressure correctly with a tyre pressure gauge it its not full of air, and if it needs pumping up, thats just going to be normal air I'm adding, so again, what was the point?

I'm hoping one of the knowledgeable people can explain this please?

Cheers,

#2 Lady Elanore

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:54

I had this done to a set of tyres last year and it made absolutely no difference at all in either wear or economy (I should add it was done for free as I knew the fitter). I am told trucks notice a difference in wear rates, but as Nitrogen is roughly 80% of the air anyway, I reckon that mother nature gives me a pretty good deal to start with :D

#3 robmawer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:55

I'm hoping one of the knowledgeable people can explain this please?

While I wouldn't claim to be particularly knowledgable about it, the reasons given are usually less variance in tyre pressure with temperature changes, and a slower rate of "air escape" from the tyre.
Of course, normal air is ~78% nitrogen anyway, so I'd suspect you wouldn't notice the difference in a normal road car...

#4 dieseldogg

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:59

I have seen photos of trucks in Nth America ( or Australia) with a externally plumbed central tyre inflation system "running" on Nitrogen.
Seems yes less varience with temps, and for the umpteen thousand mile per year usuage, a significent saving, incl less downtime (I presume)

#5 Hedge

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:01

The clowns at Costco made a big deal when they fitted my tyres.
Shame they under inflated them so badly that by the time I had them at the correct pressures it was pointless, as well as damaging 2 of my wheels but that's another story. :swear:

#6 alberg

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:36

Had that done a few years back on my tires.
More confortable, less road noise
The tires looked good when they were changed ( they just had tread wear)
Puting nitrogen, airplanes and Formula 1 use this, the air inside the tire losses alot % of humidity, meaning long lasting tire and no downgrade on the rubber like the sidewalls becoming cut and lossing bits.
Also heat exchange control.

#7 eccleshill

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 13:59

Nitrogen in tyres for road cars is snake oil!

Reason it is used is because it is cheaply available at high pressure in cylinders so you don't need the hassle of an air compressor with the associated noise, maintenance and water removal.

It is good for aircraft tyres as it is moisture free so it doesn't condense and freeze inside the tyre at high altitudes - I know our winters can be cold but...

Useful for consistency of heat/pressure characteristics where minute changes in tyre pressure will transform the handling of an F1 car - not really a must for road cars!

Slower deflation? - No! Rate of deflation depends on size of gas molecule. That is why kids' baloons filled with hydrogen deflate so quickly. Nitrogen is the smallest of the molecules of the main constitiuents of air so draw your own conclusion.

Reduced degradation cos no oxygen in the tyre? Ermm... the tiny bit inside the tyre is as nothing compared to the amount outside.

It is a marketing ploy! A money making scheme! Don't be suckered in!

#8 allena

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 14:17

RallySimon - any chance of your description of fitting those protection foils? Easy / Difficult et cetera?

#9 robmawer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 14:57

Slower deflation? - No! Rate of deflation depends on size of gas molecule.

No it doesn't. Despite oxygen and nitrogen being roughly the same size and density, oxygen permeates through rubber much quicker (approximately twice as fast).

#10 Keith Lard

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:14

Yes, if you choice was O2 vs N2 for tyres you'd go with N2 of course, I cant imagine anyone using O2 for their tyres though!

Regarding air vs N2 then the difference isnt as big, hence N2 isnt much more use in a road car. You'd never notice the difference unless its a racing (F1) car etc.

#11 robmawer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:27

Regarding air vs N2 then the difference isnt as big, hence N2 isnt much more use in a road car.

Indeed, it'd probably be better to check the air pressure every week or two with a normal airline than to rely on pure-nitrogen filling to maintain the pressure (after all, if you've got a dodgy valve you'll lose any gas that's in there!).

#12 eccleshill

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:30

No it doesn't. Despite oxygen and nitrogen being roughly the same size and density, oxygen permeates through rubber much quicker (approximately twice as fast).

If that is true then even more reason not to fill with nitrogen. If the oxygen leaks faster than the nitrogen then the nitrogen content will increase over time as oxygen leaks out preferentially.
However in the real world 3/5 of bu66er all escapes anyway. In 3yrs with my last Octavia the only time I added any air to the tyres was in winter as the temperature fall caused the pressure to drop, then let a bit out in summer as it went the other way. I think you loose more air checking the pressure than you lose through leakage.

#13 robmawer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:33

If that is true then even more reason not to fill with nitrogen. If the oxygen leaks faster than the nitrogen then the nitrogen content will increase over time as oxygen leaks out preferentially.

This is probably going to take a lot more time to achieve than just filling with nitrogen in the first place though.


I think you loose more air checking the pressure than you lose through leakage.

Most likely, yes...

#14 Fluffy destroyer of worlds

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:36

The Nissan GTR famously has its round bits filled with Nitrogen as standard. You could knock me over with a feather if anyone but a driving god on the 'Ring' would be able to tell the difference. On a Yeti - excellent though the handling is, total overkill.

#15 eccleshill

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:40

Here is wha the AA have to say on the matter

http://www.theaa.com...h-nitrogen.html

#16 loadswine

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:49

I've only heard of Nitrogen fills being used for track work, certainly would never bother with a road car.

#17 rossmoffat

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 17:00

That is why kids' baloons filled with hydrogen deflate so quickly.


I believe you mean Helium.

Hydrogen would be interesting inside party balloons though, particularly near birthday cake candles. Lots of little Hindenburg disasters :rofl:

#18 Lady Elanore

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 17:04

the fitter who did mine said that the oxygen leaked out of the tyre much faster than the nitrogen. I pointed out that if I kept topping up my tyres with air and only the oxygen kept leaking out, I would effectively end up with tyres that where almost entirely filled with nitrogen anyway. He wasn't impressed :D

#19 Fred_Bristol

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 17:06

At this point I was glad I'd spent the money on a full size spare (matching alloy wheel and tyre carried upside down in the boot)


Hi
How well did the alloy wheel and tyre fit into the spare wheel well?
I'm under the impression it won't because its wider than the standard spare, i.e. 225 rather than 195 and raises the boot floor by about 30 mm.

Fred

#20 bahnstormer vrs

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 18:03

Here is wha the AA have to say on the matter

http://www.theaa.com...h-nitrogen.html


My local garages uses 'Uniflate', as do Demon Tweeks. Here is their info as to the whys and wherefores - http://www.uniflate.com/

Personally I have had my tyres filled with nitrogen for quite a few years and experience the benefits of more stable pressures under all conditions.

#21 rockhopper

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 19:31

So, if you keep your tyres at the correct pressure, there is not much point in going down the nitrogen route, by checking them on a regular basis, at least weekly.

Mike

#22 RallySimon

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 19:52

Thanks for all the replies. Nothing to get excited about then, I'll just check it the same as all my other air filled wheels and pump it up as and when needed. Glad it didn't cost much extra!


RallySimon - any chance of your description of fitting those protection foils? Easy / Difficult et cetera?


I didn't find them difficult to fit but then I've done that sort of thing quite a few times before as its the same as applying vinal vehicle graphics, which I've had plenty of on former rally cars and sunstrips on the top of the windscreen of most of my recent cars, including this one.

Make sure its spotlessly clean, then apply slightly soapy water to bodywork, peel it off the backing, lay it on the now wet area, more wet soapy water on top, slide it around until you're happy its in the correct place, then use the supplied rubber squeegee to smoothly and carefully force all the water and air out from behind it, and then leave to dry/set overnight (in the garage in my case). They did come with an instruction sheet which basically said the same thing.


Hi
How well did the alloy wheel and tyre fit into the spare wheel well?
I'm under the impression it won't because its wider than the standard spare, i.e. 225 rather than 195 and raises the boot floor by about 30 mm.

Fred


You're right, the full size 225 doesn't fit properly into the wheel well as it won't go fully under the plastic lip behind where the latch fastening point is. I have left the normal floor in and just put it upside down on top of the carpet to one side of the boot. I have a large plastic bowl trimmed to fit perfectly inside it which is full of all sorts of nik-naks like foot pump, torch, few tools etc, and then an old towel is laid over the top of it all which is about level with the edge of the boot. Theres plenty of room to put stuff to the side of it or on top of it, certainly more than enough boot space for me, but with the peace of mind of the full size matching spare when needed (like it was this weekend!).

I did actually buy the alternative floor kit as you get the jack and wheel brace with it too, but having tried it out with this full size wheel, I decided to go without the raised floor as it took up far more boot space than the above described layout.

Cheers,

#23 eccleshill

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:57

My local garages uses 'Uniflate', as do Demon Tweeks. Here is their info as to the whys and wherefores - http://www.uniflate.com/



http://www.uniflate....-tyre-inflation
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Well we all believe that don't we. What a splendidly scientific demonstration of the benefits of nitrogen. Just look how quickly my air-filled tyres will deflate. Better stop every 100 feet or so to check the pressures then.
Case for the advertising standards methinks!!!

#24 Keith Lard

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:25

http://www.uniflate.com/benefits-of-nitrogen-tyre-inflation
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Well we all believe that don't we. What a splendidly scientific demonstration of the benefits of nitrogen. Just look how quickly my air-filled tyres will deflate. Better stop every 100 feet or so to check the pressures then.
Case for the advertising standards methinks!!!


That's a quality webiste, made me chuckle!

1. Better handling and road holding
2. Reduces tread wear and increases tyre life by up to 25%
3. Correct inflation pressures reduce puncture risk by up to 33%
4. Reduced rolling resistance improves miles per gallon by 2%
5. Improved pressure retention

I notice a distinct lack of any technical reference for these quotes! 25% increase in tyre life?! What a load of ar5e.

Good old air (78% N2!) will do me just fine.

Edited by Keith Lard, 02 November 2010 - 11:26.


#25 robmawer

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:30

25% increase in tyre life?! What a load of ar5e.

Up to 25%. Which includes any values from 0-25, so they're not lying... :D

#26 Keith Lard

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:28

Up to 25%. Which includes any values from 0-25, so they're not lying... :D


Yes, but that then implies on at least one vehicle it has resulted in a 25% increase, even if others were lower. Shame the website shows no evidence of anything of the sort!

#27 Lady Elanore

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:33

http://www.uniflate....-tyre-inflation
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Well we all believe that don't we. What a splendidly scientific demonstration of the benefits of nitrogen. Just look how quickly my air-filled tyres will deflate. Better stop every 100 feet or so to check the pressures then.
Case for the advertising standards methinks!!!


Posted Image
If you apply my above theory you will see this shouldn’t be able to happen. After the first ‘deflation as all the oxygen has leaked out you will be left with aboth80% of the original gas (the nitrogen). I am sure some clever chap can work out the resultant tyre pressure using Boyles laws or something like that. Anyhoo, you will then once again fill your tyre up with air. But this time, only adding approx 20% of the original amount to replace the lost oxygen. So very roughly speaking you will have 20% of 20% oxygen in your tyre, ie only 4% of you tyre will have oxygen in it, the remainder will be almost 96% nitrogen and so on. I doubt losing 4% of the gas in your tyre will cause it to run at half the pressure, but even if it did a couple of refill will give you pretty much 100% nitrogen tyres anyway Posted Image

Obviously there are a few other gases in small amounts in our atmosphere and different gases will compress at different rates depending on temp etc, but the rough figures surely show that the whole premise is a little out of proportion.

Edited by Lady Elanore, 02 November 2010 - 12:33.


#28 bahnstormer vrs

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:51

Posted Image
If you apply my above theory you will see this shouldn’t be able to happen. After the first ‘deflation as all the oxygen has leaked out you will be left with aboth80% of the original gas (the nitrogen). I am sure some clever chap can work out the resultant tyre pressure using Boyles laws or something like that. Anyhoo, you will then once again fill your tyre up with air. But this time, only adding approx 20% of the original amount to replace the lost oxygen. So very roughly speaking you will have 20% of 20% oxygen in your tyre, ie only 4% of you tyre will have oxygen in it, the remainder will be almost 96% nitrogen and so on. I doubt losing 4% of the gas in your tyre will cause it to run at half the pressure, but even if it did a couple of refill will give you pretty much 100% nitrogen tyres anyway Posted Image

Obviously there are a few other gases in small amounts in our atmosphere and different gases will compress at different rates depending on temp etc, but the rough figures surely show that the whole premise is a little out of proportion.


I really like this explanation! Well explained and entirely logical.

Speaking from practical experience on this subject, I took over one of our Company cars a few weeks ago that had been in use for four months from new and the pressures were 0.5bar lower than they should have been; I doubt the pressures had been checked in this time.

Running my cars as I do with nitro in the tyres and checking them every 2 - 3 weeks I find that I virtually never have to add any air.

OK; one has to take some of Uniflate's claims with a pinch of salt but from my experience I know/believe nitro in my tyres works; so I'll stick with it.

PS> Phew; I never believed this would be such an emotive subject.

Edited by bahnstormer vrs, 02 November 2010 - 12:52.


#29 eccleshill

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 13:01

ie only 4% of you tyre will have oxygen in it, the remainder will be almost 96% nitrogen and so on.


Only 4% of the tyre has oxygen! That explains why the tyre only goes flat at the bottom :rofl: :rofl:

#30 EdmundBlackadder

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 13:06

Bahnstormer, emotive but still not as disputed as using fog lights at night which still must hold the title for "guaranteed to bring about wild rants". I also can't believe that we have got this far into the thread and no one has thrown a helium gag into the mix. I have been trying to think of a witty helium comment, squeaky voice or tyres lifting off, for two days now but have had to admit defeat.




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