Why Are People Filling Their Tires With Nitrogen And Should You Do It Too?

One of the main arguments for nitrogen-filled tires is its ability to withstand a slower rate of pressure loss. As nitrogen molecules are bigger than oxygen, they don’t risk of escaping your tires quite as easily.

I hate all the science jargon just as much as the next guy but simply put: purely nitrogen-filled tires are theoretically built to stay inflated longer than your average tire.

Also, this type of tire would be less prone to corrosion. Let me explain this in the simplest way possible. (Bear with me here.)

All you need to know is that corrosion tends to occur in air-filled tires mainly since moisture is contained in the air.  Moisture is one of the key catalysts for corrosion, and it is not available in pure nitrogen.

Essentially, what you are getting with nitrogen tires is a smoother ride (fuller tires), and tires that are built to last longer (less corrosion). Sounds like a pretty good deal to convert to pure nitrogen and all of its glory right?

Well, we’ll let you be the judge of that.

Should You Be A Pure Nitrogen Believer?

Sure the tires might have a slower rate of pressure loss, but if they don’t improve your experience in any way, shape or form, then what’s the point?

When tested and applied in the real world of driving, there didn’t seem to be much difference in the performance of a car with air-filled tires as opposed to purely-nitrogen filled ones. The guys at the ‘Fifth Gear’ television series went on to test the theory of the so-called ‘amazing purely nitrogen-filled tires’, but simply could not find any tangible benefits when applied on the road.

From the speed of the car to the actual driver’s experience, there did not seem to be any difference between the effectiveness of nitrogen-filled tires and air-filled ones.

Sure, in theory, there could be a thousand and one benefits listed on paper, but all those benefits are blown out of the water if they can’t deliver concrete results to whom it matters most – you, the driver.

If you want to watch the full Fifth Gear video in action, click here.

(If you’re pressed for time, skip to 4:39 of the video for the results after their test.)


To sum it up, purely nitrogen-filled tires do have benefits, but these benefits may not be as great as you thought it was after all.

It really does depend on the individual and their preferences – some are hell-bent on defending the notion of pure nitrogen, swearing on all its wonderful attributes (they are being used by the elite racers of the world after all.) While some might feel that they are simply overrated.

And that’s the catch: you have to test them out for yourselves to figure out if they add anything to your driving experience, as experience is one of those things that are purely subjective.

The only way to truly find out if they’re right for you is to try them out for yourselves and see if they’re really worth all the hype. Maybe for you, the couple of bucks you spend on nitrogen gas the next time around turns out to be the best driving investment you’ll make in your life. Or perhaps you’ve just wasted hard-earned money on something that didn’t pan out the way you wanted it to.

Either way, you’ll be able to impress your clueless family members on how you have the latest F1 technology in your tires.

Whatever makes you happy.

About Chad Ina

Chad Ina


  1. Avatar

    Air is 79% Nitrogen, about 20% Oxygen. IF the Oxygen diffuses through the tire when you top up, you put in more 80 20, and eventually reach 100% N, plus, of course, some moisture. I personally think it is a marketing ploy.
    One must do what one must do to make more money whether it benefits the Consumer or does not
    Similar to selling aluminum siding for brick houses.


  2. Avatar

    Been driving for 45 years….the driving conditions in Northern Canada are certainly not for the thin blooded. When temperatures vary from 30C in the summer to -40C in the Winter, anything that will prevent square tires is a plus. Southerners who barely have a winter to think about can criticize the idea of Nitrogen filled tires. For me where and when I drive, it works. I have noticed longer thread life, as I said no Winter square tires. Last week, -30C to +2C within a day…nitrogen filed tires works

    • Avatar

      @Denis, that is great to hear your real-world experience and positive outcome with nitrogen filled tires. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Avatar

    If you fill tyres with dry air( with the moisture taken out) then there is no advantage to using Nitrogen, afterall Air is mostly Nitrogen.

    • Jean-Claude Landry

      In fact, that is not entirely right… Nitrogen also has bigger molecules than Oxygen, which makes it a little less volatile, and yes, the air is mostly Nitrogen. However, even if you had correctly sealed tires, it’s the Oxygen contained in the air that would escape from the tires first because of it’s smaller molecules. The main problem here is that, even when inflating tires with Nitrogen, there’s already air contained in the tires.
      Even when tires are at 0psi, they aren’t really at 0 pressure. 0psi is, in fact, relative zero. At 0psi, the tires are already inflated at atmospheric pressure, which is 14.7psi. So, to really benefit from Nitrogen in car tires, a vacuum would have to be created inside the tires before inflating them, to completely remove the air first.

      That is why most tires inflated with NItrogen still deflate after a while: they aren’t 100% inflated with Nitrogen. Even if there’s 32psi of Nitrogen in the tire, there’s still about 14.7psi of Oxygen. And since there about 78% of Nitrogen in the air, there’s still 22% of 14.7psi that isn’t Nitrogen…

      For a tire inflated at 32 psi, there is still about 6.98% of other gas than Nitrogen inside of it…

  4. Avatar

    Aircraft tyres are filled with nitrogen and the hubs are made from magnesium with a fusible plug. After landing, the brakes are extremely hot and take about 20 minutes to cool.
    Nitrogen is used to also reduce the risk of fire if the the brakes overheat with the potential o initiating a fire.
    Maybe, racing cars operate on the same principle

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