Are you planning to fill your tires with nitrogen and you are looking at where to fill tires with nitrogen? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover when it comes to filling your tires with nitrogen.
Technology advances with each day and so does the tire industry. Some scientists have come to the idea of filling a tire with nitrogen and concluded, hey this stuff works, let’s popularize it and improve the driving experience and help people enjoy their cars more.
And that’s what happened. Most of the tire shops these days are using nitrogen to fill up tires. Even though it is not so popular as the classic air. It is still a good option for many who want something really good and do not want to bother with filling their tires every couple of days.
Personally, I have tried it once and it works. More expensive though, but still it is a better option than regular compressed air. It depends much on you and your budget when it comes to spending. But how expensive is it? More on that and where to fill tires with nitrogen later in the article.
First, we will learn what is nitrogen and why is it used to fill tires. Then we will learn the advantages of using nitrogen gas and the myths and facts behind it. Later we will cover where to fill tires with nitrogen and the cost. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is Nitrogen?
Nitrogen is a chemical element. This element has the symbol N that makes it distinguishable as well as the atomic number 7.
This element was first discovered back in 1772 by a physician from Scotland named Daniel Rutherford. Even though there was work on nitrogen by a lot of scientists at the time, he got the credit since his work was published first.
Nitrogen is a non-metal element which means that it doesn’t carry any metallic characteristics like other elements on the periodic table do. And because of this, it is also one of the lightest elements in the periodic table. That’s why you will see tires filled with nitrogen.
It has a similar density to oxygen or carbon that can also be found in nature. What is good though is the abundance of nitrogen. Nitrogen is considered to be the 7th most common element in the universe.
But how does the nitrogen form? It forms by combining two atoms, these atoms form the N2 also known as nitrogen gas. The nitrogen gas is light, odorless, and also colorless. The atmosphere is full of nitrogen, and in addition to this, the nitrogen can also be found in humans, about 3% to be more exact.
Nitrogen can be found in both liquid and gas states. It has many applications throughout the industry and it is used in a lot of technologies, like filling tires with nitrogen.
The nitrogen in great amounts is dangerous to us the people and can damage our health. That’s why handling it with care is essential. But where to fill tires with nitrogen? More on that a bit later after we cover why the nitrogen is used to fill up tires.
Nitrogen Applications In Industry, And Why Fill Tires?
As we said, nitrogen is mostly found in gas form as well as in a liquid form. About 2/3 of the nitrogen used in industry is found in gas form. While 1/3 is in liquid. And thanks to its use, nitrogen finds its way in many different industries worldwide.
It is widely used as a food preserving gas. Its characteristics act as a modified atmosphere and prevent oxidation. Then when injected into the packaging it preserves the food from oxidative damage and the food doesn’t become rancid. If you purchase packaging in the European Union and it has the E941 code on the label, you know that this is nitrogen additive.
Other industries where nitrogen is used are in manufacturing old-style light bulbs, and fire suppression. But it is used also in the metallurgic industry for manufacturing stainless steel. But in addition to all these different usages, nitrogen found its way into the aircraft industry. More precisely, it is used to inflate aircraft tires.
And from the aircraft industry, nitrogen slowly shifted into the automotive industry as well. Many people who worked in the aircraft industry saw the benefits of inflating tires with nitrogen and decided to implement it into the automotive industry as well.
That’s why many people are asking the question of where to fill tires with nitrogen? But more on that, we are going to elaborate later. What is important though is that nitrogen is a very good replacement for compressed air in your tires and inflating your tires with nitrogen makes them much better when it comes to tackling the road and the ability to hold the air for longer. But in detail, we are going to discuss the advantages in the following chapters.
Advantages Of Filling Tires With Nitrogen
When it comes to the advantages of filling your tires with nitrogen, it is worth noting that there are a few of them. Filling your tires with nitrogen is far more beneficial than you think and by doing this, you can expect your tires to behave differently than with compressed air.
When it comes to science, science is also on the side of nitrogen. So, how science is proving its point when it comes to filling your tires with nitrogen instead of filling them with compressed air?
It’s very simple, but to understand this, we need to go deep to a molecular level. The molecules of nitrogen are larger and denser than those of compressed air. Making a tire leak almost impossible in comparison to the regular tire filled with compressed air.
The compressed air goes through many heat cycles in which this gas reacts and compresses and expands. You lose tire pressure over time and on average, you lose up to 2 psi per month. And that you will not see in tires filled with nitrogen.
Tires filled with nitrogen do not lose the pressure that quickly but pressure loss is still noted.
Another benefit of running your tires with the correct tire pressure is the increased tire life. The tires will not wear off prematurely like they do when the tire pressure is low.
This will also make your fuel economy much better. You could get up to around 3 mpg more from your car if you always follow the correct tire pressure norm for your car. It’s almost impossible to do by running the tires with compressed air. But where to fill tires with nitrogen? More on that in a bit.
Downsides Of Filling Tires With Nitrogen
There are still some downsides of running your tires with nitrogen and in this chapter, we are going to elaborate on the most important ones for you to have a better idea of what you can expect when it comes to this nitrogen gas and the overall benefits of using nitrogen. Then we are going to discuss where to fill tires with nitrogen. So, let’s begin.
The biggest downside of filling your tires with nitrogen is that it is really expensive. And I mean really expensive in comparison to compressed air. You can expect to pay at least $30 per single tire. Refills are a bit less expensive but still, they cost quite a bit more in comparison to compressed air which is free in most cases and you don’t have to pay anything to fill your tires at the gas station.
This is the case because nitrogen costs money to produce and also store. You cannot keep nitrogen in regular gas bottles but in special ones. This also costs a lot of money to do. So, the end cost adds up pretty quickly. That’s why compressed air might be a better option.
Another downside is that the tires will never be 100% nitrogen. Most likely is that you will have about 78% of nitrogen and 22% compressed air. So, this means that you will still lose some of the psi of pressure inside of the tire.
You will lose a third of psi per month to be more exact. This isn’t much, but still is quite a bit when it comes to the price you pay to fill up the tires with nitrogen. But where to fill tires with nitrogen? More on that in a bit.
NHTSA Findings On Filling Tires With Nitrogen
To be more credible when it comes to our claims that nitrogen has a good effect on improving tire pressure, we would also share some of the NHTSA findings on this topic.
As you know the NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and they are doing a bunch of tests when it comes to the safety of cars and safety in general. So, when it comes to this aspect they are the most credible source. So, what did NHTSA find in their research on this field?
According to the NHTSA and their research, their conclusion on the nitrogen in tires is that the nitrogen does a really good job.
Nitrogen has a good effect primarily on tire degradation. Tires filled with nitrogen degrade at a much smaller pace than tires filled with compressed air. This is the case because the tire is not exposed to oxidation.
Oxidation is the process when a certain object is exposed to oxygen found in the air that we breathe. The nitrogen keeps the internals of the tire nice and safe from this process of oxidation. Although tires oxidate from the outside, the internal degradation is far smaller.
When it comes to the rolling effect of the nitrogen, they have decided that there is no difference between tires inflated with compressed air and nitrogen. They both do the same job. But nitrogen escapes at a much slower pace than compressed air. Making the tire deflate far slower. Over time, you will see some benefits of using nitrogen and you will have a better fuel economy.
Overall, that’s it when it comes to nitrogen and the truth about it. But still, there are some myths about it that we are going to debunk in the following chapter.
Myths And Facts Behind Filling Tires With Nitrogen
Before we jump into answering the question of where to fill tires with nitrogen, let’s first take a look at some of the myths and legends when it comes to running nitrogen in your tires. Knowing this will aid you in making your decision of whether you should run your tires with nitrogen or maybe not. Later we will answer the question of where to fill tires with nitrogen. So, if you want to learn the myths and facts, follow along.
Myths & Facts Of Nitrogen
Myth: Nitrogen doesn’t leak at all and you will not have to inflate them until you replace them.
Fact: The truth is that nitrogen also leaks, not like compressed air but it still leaks. More precisely about a third or a psi will leak every month out of your tire. So, at the end of the year of use, you will lose a couple of psi of pressure if you don’t refill them with nitrogen or compressed air.
Myth: Tires that are inflated with nitrogen will last for more miles than tires filled with compressed air.
Fact: This is somewhat true, while the inside of the tire will be kept in good health because there will be no oxidation. The outside will still have to deal with oxidation. Meaning that the outside of the tires will wear at the same pace as regular tires inflated with compressed air. What will in reality make the tires with nitrogen last more miles is the correct tire pressure that is inserted into them and their ability to hold this pressure in check with the help of the nitrogen gas.
But where to fill tires with nitrogen? More on that in a bit after we cover all of the myths and facts concerning nitrogen gas in cars.
Myth: Tires inflated with nitrogen are maintenance-free, fill up and forget as they would say.
Fact: This is so untrue because even though the tires filled with nitrogen are losing the pressure at a smaller pace. They would still need to be checked if you don’t want to end up with deflated tires. Checking them every 2 months is essential to be sure that you always have the right pressure. You never know, you may have a slow puncture on your tires.
Where To Fill Tires With Nitrogen?
So the important question is where to fill tires with nitrogen? Although might sound simple, it is rather tricky since not all tire shops have the option of nitrogen refills. As we mentioned, nitrogen is quite expensive and is not the cheapest thing to get and use. Especially if you are a small tire shop that doesn’t have that clientele that wants to spend more on tire inflating.
So, your best bet would be to go to a larger place that sells tires nationwide. Your best bet would be Firestone Auto Care or Mr. Tire, or any other large tire supplier.
In addition to this, you might also want to check your local dealerships. Most of the dealerships across the country have nitrogen in stock and they will gladly refill your tires with nitrogen. Even though they are quite more expensive than your regular nitrogen fill-ups. You can expect these places to pay quite a bit more than your regular Firestone shop.
There are also places opened by some discount superstores like Walmart and Costco. More precisely if you are a member of Costco and you have purchased their membership, you can do a nitrogen refill for free.. Which is rather insane considering that you have to pay a ton of money at other places for this practice. But that’s how things go. More on this in the following chapters where we will elaborate on the costs of filling the tires with nitrogen.
Overall, these are the places where to fill tires with nitrogen. Nitrogen isn’t a luxury anymore and could be found across the whole country. It depends on you how persistent you are and how much do you want to spend.
Cost To Fill Tires With Nitrogen?
We learned where to fill tires with nitrogen, now let’s discuss the costs that are involved in this job. As we noted above, nitrogen isn’t cheap and has to be handled for injuries and other unwanted situations to happen. As well as the production of nitrogen which isn’t cheap as well.
All these factors attribute to the increase in the price of this gas. This gas costs quite a bit and that’s why you can expect to pay more money than your compressed air fill-ups. Compressed air is only regular air that was compressed by an air compressor and is dirt cheap, in most cases even free.
But we are here to discuss the cost to fill tires with nitrogen. How much can you expect to pay?
As our sources say on average you can pay up to $30 per tire if you are filling nitrogen for the first time. But if you are doing a refill you can expect to pay between $3.5 to $7 per tire. Refills are quite cheaper since they do not require a lot of gas to be inserted into the tire.
As we noted, the tire loses 1/3 of a psi of nitrogen per month, which is rather an insignificant amount and you will not feel an increased loss of pressure in the first couple of months to need to perform a refill.
Also, if you have a Costco membership, you can do nitrogen refills for free. Yes, that’s right. Costco will inflate your tires if you are installing the tires at their shops and you have a membership. So, get your Costco membership if you want to enjoy these privileges and not worry about where to fill tires with nitrogen anytime soon.
Is Nitrogen Fill Up Really Worth It?
The answer to this question depends much on you and your budget. Some people are not that into spending money on things like filling up tires with nitrogen. They want to spend this money on something let’s say more useful, like an oil change for example.
Some people on the other hand have more money to spend and they don’t mind if they spend top dollar on their cars.
If you are asking me if your budget doesn’t allow you to inflate your tires with nitrogen. Don’t look for where to fill tires with nitrogen because you can fill them up with regular compressed air and you will be completely fine.
The main difference would be that you will need to do this more often than when using nitrogen but that’s how things go. Everything is about making compromises in life and this is probably one of the things that you need to make a compromise on as well.
But if you want to fill your tires with nitrogen on the cheap, you can do that at Costco. Get their membership which isn’t that expensive considering the perks that you get and enjoy your nitrogen refills for cheap. That’s my 2 cents on this topic.
Nitrogen-Filled Tires: Do They Improve Fuel Economy?
- Nitrogen-filled tires have been marketed to reduce air loss, boost fuel economy, reduce rolling resistance, and improve safety.
- The nitrogen used to fill tires is processed to remove impurities in regular air, but retailers need to remove all original air to ensure the tire is truly filled with nitrogen.
- Consumer Reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the benefits are more theoretical than practical, and maintaining proper tire pressure is the key selling point for nitrogen (you can learn more in our guide on the tire pressure for Honda CRV).
- Consumer Reports conducted a 12-month study using 31 tire models and found that nitrogen does reduce pressure loss, but the reduction is only minimal at a 1.3 psi difference over an entire year.
- The NHTSA study found that regular air escapes tires at a higher rate than pure nitrogen, which limits oxidation and tire degradation but is not a practical concern for most consumers because they replace tires before degradation is a problem.
- Tires are designed to be used with air, and degradation is not a problem for regular tires used and maintained properly.
- Nitrogen may aid in fuel economy because it seeps out at a slower rate, but with either gas, the tire’s rolling resistance would be the same when maintained at the proper tire pressure.
- Woody Rogers, director of tire information at Tire Rack, recommends using air because it works fine and is essentially free, and consumers would be better served and save money by just using air in their tires and checking them monthly.
- There is a stronger case to be made for nitrogen for high-tire-pressure, heavy-duty applications, but for passenger cars and trucks, it is not necessary.
- Nitrogen users should be diligent about topping off only with nitrogen to ensure they are getting the intended benefits, but routine maintenance is critical to long tire life and good health.
In this article, we covered a lot when it comes to nitrogen. We learned what nitrogen is, it is one of the most common gases found on the earth besides carbon and oxygen. Then we learned the applications of nitrogen in the industry.
It is mostly used as a food preservative as well as for inflating airplane tires. From where it gets the popularity and gets to be used in the automotive industry as well.
Then we focused on the advantages and disadvantages of using nitrogen in automobiles. With nitrogen, you get tires that don’t lose pressure and perform very well. But you lose more money since inflating them costs more money than your regular compressed air.
After we focused on where to fill tires with nitrogen and also the costs involved in this. As we noted, Costco offers the cheapest price. So, if you are planning on filling your tires with nitrogen, you should get a membership and enjoy this perk of free refills.