Inflating Tires with Nitrogen

While I was in Costco today, I saw a large banner advertising the fact that the Costco Tire Department uses nitrogen to inflate tires. This was news to me. After searching the Internet, I found a whole website dedicated to informing consumers about the benefits of inflating tires with nitrogen. Along with improving fuel efficiency and handling, nitrogen is touted as an alternative that will actually make your tires safer and increase their useful life. details the benefits of nitrogen inflation including:
  • Increased Fuel Efficiency – Correct tire pressure keeps the manufacturer’s recommended “contact patch” on the road. This lessens the rolling resistance and maximizes fuel efficiency;

  • Longer Tire Life – When it comes in contact with other materials, oxygen causes oxidation. Oxidation can make rubber brittle and cause it to lose tensile strength. In addition, at high temperatures and pressures, oxygen reacts and damages inner tire liners and belt packages; nitrogen does not;
  • Increased Safety – Under-inflated tires cause 90% of blowouts. Nitrogen provides more reliable pressure for reduced blowout potential;
  • Improved TPMS Performance – If you have a new car, you likely are plagued by a flashing light telling you your tire pressure is low. For example, one woman’s light was going off every four to five weeks. After inflating with nitrogen, her light didn’t reappear for 53 weeks;

  • More Predictable Pressure Fluctuation – NASCAR teams use nitrogen so they can more accurately predict tire pressure fluctuation. Regular compressed air can fluctuate considerably when water vapor is present; and
  • Longer Rim Life – Rim rust caused by condensation from water vapor and other gases can get caught in valves and create slow leaks in tires. Nitrogen is completely dry, so it eliminates the potential for condensation.
The benefits of using nitrogen as an alternative way to inflate tires appear promising. The website,, includes a lot of great information about nitrogen. This has the potential of decreasing the number of tire failures that occur and significantly increase the safety of every driver.

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