Nitrogen in tires is becoming a popular replacement for standard air because of the amazing benefits it provides. Tires inflated with nitrogen can last up to 50% longer than those inflated with regular air. Vehicles riding on nitrogen inflated tires can enjoy fuel economy increases of up to 10% and a reduction in the likelihood of a tire failure of up to 75%…all while reducing the owner's carbon footprint.
What makes nitrogen so special? Well, it's not. In fact, it is exactly what nitrogen "isn't" that makes it such a beneficial inflation medium. Nitrogen is an inert gas, so by definition, it is "nothing," and that is exactly what you want in your tires: nothing, except proper pressure.
The air we breathe is about 79% nitrogen. The reason it is such a poor inflation product is that it also contains about 20% oxygen. While oxygen is essential for human survival, it is harmful to just about everything that is not a living organism.
Oxygen is a component of water (H2O) and the catalyst of oxidation (rust, corrosion and rot). Without the presence of oxygen, there is no opportunity for rust or corrosion to occur, or condensation to form. Additionally, and more importantly, oxygen has a very small molecular structure. So small in fact, that it is normal for air filled tires to lose 1-3 psi per month from permeation (the process through which the oxygen molecules in compressed air seep through the carcass of a tire). Nitrogen, on the other hand, has a very large molecular structure and the use of nitrogen can virtually eliminate pressure loss from permeation.
And, while air is bad for tires, compressed air is even worse. Running air through a compressor typically adds trace amounts of oil and particulate, as well as water vapor…none of which are good for a tire.
So, simply put, nitrogen is air that has been cleaned and stripped of all particulate, oil, water and oxygen, leaving an inflation medium that is pure…and stays put