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tire care tipsTires are a crucial part of vehicle maintenance, but often get the least attention. Everyone focuses on the engine while simply ensuring that the tires are inflated, or checking to see if they need to be rotated or changed entirely because the tread wear it too low. However, tires need much more attention than that. They can’t be treated like other parts of the car where you can simply replace them when they wear out. How should you treat your tires? Our article roundup regarding tire care and maintenance has everything you ought to know about giving your tires the care they need.

How Maximum Tire Pressure and Saving Gas are Related – Your tire pressure affects your gas mileage, and an over-inflated tire hurts your fuel efficiency (and your tire’s tread wear) as much as an under-inflated tire. Some have recommended that maximum tire pressure is what you need to have the best fuel efficiency and the safest ride, but this isn’t exactly the case. Proper tire pressure is not the same as maximum tire pressure.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying New Tires – When purchasing a set a new tires for your car or managed fleet vehicles, there are three factors you need to consider: size, performance, and weight. Size is of particular importance, as a tire’s fit can be off by a few millimeters, and those few millimeters can mean that yours will lose its pressure much more quickly. Obviously, the tires needed for a tractor trailer aren’t the same as those needed for a two-door, but determining the right size for your car is much more complicated than that.

How Water Harms Your Tires – Water isn’t good for your tires. You don’t want to be driving with it sloshing around inside, which can happen if the air you use to inflate your tires has water vapor (which happens more often than not). Water can deteriorate the rubber of your tire, rust the axel, and cause your tire pressure to fluctuate more often as the water heats and cools as you drive. Removing the water vapor from the air when you inflate your tire, even if you do it yourself, is much harder than it sounds.

The Cost of Under-inflated Tires – Under-inflated tires hurt your fuel economy, your tires, and even your safety. Under-inflated tires also hurt because it can be hard to tell when your tires are under-inflated. You can’t always tell by looking at them, and if you’re using regular air, then your tire pressure is likely to go up or down, depending on when you measure it because the heat from driving will increase the pressure.

Guess What? Air Isn’t Free Anymore. Nitrogen Tires are a Better Deal – One of the arguments against nitrogen tire inflation is that air is free, so why pay the money? But, not everyone offers the service for free anymore, where it can cost up to $2 to use an air compressor. With this in mind, comparing nitrogen tire inflation and air tire inflation becomes a product/service comparison instead of a straight price comparison. Does a $2 charge mean you’re only getting $2 worth of tire inflation?

Prep Your Tires for Summer Travel Season – Winter may not be over yet for a few more weeks, but summer travel season (especially Memorial Day Weekend) is the weekend with the highest incidences of tire troubles. This includes blowouts, flat tires, and other scenarios that require the help of AAA. Stay safe as you use your long weekend for a quick vacation by prepping your tires for the road trip ahead.

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How Water Harms Your Tires

On November 29, 2012, in Nitrogen Tire Inflation, Tire Care, by allisonmreilly
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water in your tiresMany of those who are against nitrogen tire inflation will tell you that keeping an eye on your tire pressure and even using an air compressor at home to do it yourself will achieve the same results of nitrogen, but at a fraction of the cost. Although nitrogen tire inflation isn’t a replacement for checking your tire pressure regularly, many DIY options aren’t the best because they give you air that still has moisture in it. Here’s why that moisture is so bad, and why most air compressors and other tire-filling tools don’t do a good job of getting rid of all that air.

There is Never Zero Humidity in the Air

Even if you live in a particularly dry or cold climate, there is still some level of moisture in the air. There’s always water in the environment, and as long as there is water in the environment, there is always some level of moisture in the air. Using an air compressor to fill your tires on a dry day or a really cold one may help to an extent, but it doesn’t mean that the air you’re putting in your tires is dry.

Most Air Compressors Don’t Have an Air Dryer

Many of them come with an air filter, which does help in getting rid of moisture as well as dirt and grime, but it’s not the same as an air dryer. Air dryers are not only sold separately, but most of them are industrial-sized and several thousand dollars, something that the typical driver can’t afford and that most gas stations and auto shops don’t have. An efficient air dryer can get rid of the moisture so that you fill your tires with dry air, but this simply isn’t the case most of the time. The best someone can do with air compressors is to drain water from the air lines, but all that indicates is that the air you are putting into your tires has moisture in it.

Air Compressors Don’t Eliminate Water from the Air

Air compressors actually concentrate the water that’s in the air instead of removing it. This means that air compressors at the gas station also contain water and aren’t a better solution than using your own compressor in the garage. In fact, the air compressors at the gas station are probably worse if the gas station or the auto shop doesn’t do anything about the moisture problems, like drain water from the lines. The water vapor from air compressors accelerates rust and corrosion inside your tire and on the axle.

Umm… There’s Water in Your Tire

That moisture can accumulate over time, and then you’re driving with water in your tire. Not just water vapor, since when your tires cool the vapor turns back into the liquid. A variety of things can happen here. If it’s cold enough overnight, that water is freezing in your tire. In the first few minutes of the drive, that water is sloshing around, which can’t be good for handling or tread wear. Granted, liquid water in your tires doesn’t stay that way for long, but that doesn’t mean the harm goes away.

Water vapor also absorbs and holds heat, which only increases as you drive and as temperatures heat up outside. Tires inflated with air tend to run hotter and to fluctuate in pressure more, increasing the chances of a blowout and the chances of an inaccurate reading when checking tire pressure. Also, when it changes from liquid to vapor, water expands tremendously in volume, decreasing its handling, tire life, and fuel efficiency.

Overall, this argument that you can fill your tires at home with an air compressor and achieve the same result as nitrogen tire inflation is just nonsense. The technology that exists for air doesn’t provide dry air, while a nitrogen tire inflation machine does provide dry, inert nitrogen. Please still check your tire pressure regularly, but filling you tires on your own doesn’t compare to nitrogen tire inflation.

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