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mixing air and nitrogenThis is the most common question we get in the nitrogen tire industry, and what we’ve seen in many online forums and websites is that many people answer this question by saying  you cannot put regular air into tires that have nitrogen.

This is not true.

It is FALSE that air cannot be used to top off a tire filled with nitrogen. It is simply not true that air and nitrogen cannot coexist inside a tire. There is no harm in topping off a nitrogen-filled tire with regular air.

Air Doesn’t Take Away All the Benefits of Nitrogen Tire Inflation

The main reason why people say air and nitrogen can’t be mixed is that air negates all of the benefits of the nitrogen inflation. This isn’t entirely true because a tire that’s 100 percent inflated with regular air isn’t the same thing as a tire that’s 80 percent inflated with nitrogen, 20 percent with regular air. Although neither tire has all the benefits of a 100 percent nitrogen tire, the 80/20 tires still retains some of the benefits and has fewer of the consequences of the 100 percent air tire. The 80/20 tire has less water vapor, so it is still less susceptible to the temperature changes that happen throughout the day (this doesn’t include the temperature changes that happen between driving and parking the car for a few hours). The 80/20 tire will also retain proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, giving you an improved fuel efficiency and better traction with the road.

It’s Tough to Find Nitrogen Tire Inflation Services

We understand that topping off nitrogen tires with more nitrogen gas is difficult because nitrogen isn’t as accessible as regular air. Many auto repair shops sell nitrogen inflation as an add-on, and won’t offer it or advertise it as a stand-alone service. Also, some places that sell nitrogen tires do not sell nitrogen tire inflation services. For example, Costco inflates all new tires with nitrogen. It’s not an add-on, but a service that anyone who purchases a set of new tires receives. However, Costco doesn’t offer new or existing tire customers to option to convert or to top off their ties with nitrogen. But, don’t worry about topping off your nitrogen tires with air from time to time. With the nitrogen, you shouldn’t have to top them off as often as you would with a tire that 100 percent inflated with air.

No, Your Tires Won’t Explode

One of the most common myths about mixing air and nitrogen in your tires is that it’s dangerous and may lead to an explosion. Part of this crazy misconception is the myth that tires filled with regular air are an additional hazard in a fiery crash because the oxygen is fuel for the fire. We don’t know where this myth came from, but it’s not a “benefit” that’s touted by the nitrogen tire industry, and it’s certainly not a “benefit” we support here at Nitronomics.

NO ONE IN THE NITROGEN TIRE INFLATION INDUSTRY SUPPORTS THE IDEA THAT NITROGEN TIRES WILL HELP YOU IN A FIERY CRASH

Anyway, mixing air and nitrogen in  your tires isn’t dangerous. It doesn’t increase your chances for an explosion or a fiery crash.

You also don’t need to replace the green cap on your tires. The green cap comes with tires that are inflated with nitrogen when you purchase them, such as the tires you may get from Costco like we previously mentioned. It’s been suggested that the green cap needs to be replaced with a black cap because the tire is no longer 100 percent nitrogen, but it doesn’t have to be replace if you don’t want to change it or if you don’t have a black cap. The green cap is more for the seller than the consumer, so there’s nothing wrong with keeping the green cap.

photo credit: gever tulley via photopin cc

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Can You Mix Air and Nitrogen in Tires?

On August 23, 2012, in Nitrogen Tire Inflation, Tire Care, by allisonmreilly
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nitrogen-filled tiresThis is a question that comes up a lot in the forums and on other blogs, and we’ve decided finally to answer it. Since nitrogen tires are the alternative to tires filled with air, is it okay to mix them? Would mixing them diminish the benefit of nitrogen, or not make any difference since air is still in the tires?

It IS okay to mix air and nitrogen, such as when you’re topping off your air-filled tires with nitrogen, or want to fill them with nitrogen without purging them of the air. The benefit isn’t as great as nitrogen-filled tires, but there is still benefit with a mix. The reason is that a mix still has less water vapor and oxygen than tires that are entirely filled with air, so the some of the downside of that type of tire is removed. The benefit of the mix would apply to all types of tires: motorcycle, bicycle, managed fleets etc.

The only way to retain that benefit, however, is to fill your tires with nitrogen from that point forward. You can’t have a mixture every now and then, but primarily use regular air. The retain that benefit, you must top off your tires with nitrogen every single time you do so, or eventually purge your tires of the air. Nitrogen tire inflation needs to be become a habit in order to see the benefit of them. Doing it one or two times, or topping them off that way every once in a while just won’t cut it.

So, the answer is, yes! You can mix air and nitrogen in tires. It’s fine to start out that way if you’re just getting into nitrogen tire inflation, but you’re really wasting the benefit behind nitrogen tires if you always have a mix and don’t eventually have nitrogen-filled tires.

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