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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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winter benefits of ntirogen in your tiresWinter is in full swing! Over 20% of the U.S population was affected by last week’s storm, making driving difficult for many people (and driving still might be difficult in some places). One of the last things people are thinking about in these road conditions is the condition of their tires, but tires with right pressure are what you need to navigate winter roads. The best way to ensure that your tires have proper tire pressure is with nitrogen tire inflation. Here are the winter benefits of putting nitrogen in your tires:

Proper Tire Pressure Ensures Better Handling

When driving on icy and slippery winter roads, you need tires that can handle those conditions. This means that tires that are underpressure, or have uneven wear, are going to give you as much trouble as the road conditions themselves. Proper tire pressure solves the first, and it solves the second since its typically a tire that’s below pressure that will wear unevenly. To solve for proper tire pressure, nitrogen tire inflation does the trick. Nitrogen tires maintain proper tire pressure for longer periods of time, which is one comforting thing to have when traveling through severe weather.

Nitrogen Tire Inflation Improves Fuel Efficiency

With winter road conditions, commute times are longer because you have to be more careful on the roads. You might also have to take different routes to avoid accidents and traffic. All that means you’re burning more fuel and increasing how much you spend on gas. To keep that to a minimum, (besides avoiding the roads all together) you can fill your tires with nitrogen. Because of the proper tire pressure benefit, nitrogen tire inflation increases your fuel efficiency by three percent, which can make a big difference as gas prices and the amount of gas we’re using goes up. Of course, one of the last things you want to happen when driving in this weather is to run of gas and to be stranded. Get the most out of every drop of fuel with nitrogen tire inflation.

Nitrogen Tires Better Withstand Extreme Temperatures

Air-filled tires are much more sensitive to temperature changes than nitrogen tires, so with air-filled tires you run the risk of driving on tires that are below pressure. It also means that while you’re driving, your tire pressure will also fluctuate with larger swings. These sorts of changes do not represent the safety that you want when you are driving on icy roads, or at the beginning of snow fall when the road surface changes. Since nitrogen tires better withstand the extreme temperatures of winter, they are much safer for driving than air-filled tires.

Driving when the roads aren’t safe may seem like a gamble, but you can increase your chances of arriving safely with tires that are ready for these conditions. Even with snow tires, you want your wheels to be reliable and to be able to withstand the unpredictability of winter roads. Winter may already be halfway over, but the driving never is, and nitrogen tire inflation is still beneficial once the snow stops. So, it’s not too late to fill your tires with nitrogen, and you don’t have to wait until next winter to do it.

Related Links:

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Nitrogen Tire Inflation

4 Ways to Winterize Your Tires Before February

Prepping Your Tires for the Winter Season

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nitrogen tire inflationWe’ve done out best to bust nitrogen tire inflation myths and other arguments against the practice. Some of these arguments are understandable and logical, but others are just plain wacky. These wacky arguments skew the discussion because some people may believe them, leading them to thinking nitrogen tire inflation is a scam because nitrogen tire dealers and providers are making wild claims about the practice. Not only are dealers and providers not making these claims (we can’t speak for the mechanic or the salesperson, but we assure that those who sell the equipment aren’t making these claims), but these claims are just wrong. Here are a few them that we found and would like to bust right now:

As for moisture, changes in humidity affect tire performance two ways. First, the density of humid air fluctuates more with temperature than that of dry air, so removing humidity can keep your tire pressure more consistent, especially when the temperature climbs over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That may be a legitimate concern in Formula One racing, but it’s not much of an issue if you’re just tooling around town. – The Straight Dope

The density of humid air has nothing to do with tire performance. Humid air is bad for your tires because it is humid, because the water vapor is very susceptible to temperature changes and causes the tire pressure to fluctuate. This also happens at temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit because as you drive, you heat up the tires, no matter what the temperature is on the outside. They’re moving, there’s friction, and all that creates heat. All this is a concern if you’re just tooling around town, because tooling around town creates heat as well, and the water vapor in your tires is still reacting.

Another claim I’ve seen is that since nitrogen is slightly lighter than air, you’ll save weight and get better performance. However, we’re talking about a weight difference of less than 4 percent of the gas in the tire – in other words, a difference of less than an ounce for most vehicles. – Also The Straight Dope

We have no idea who said this, but the better performance from nitrogen doesn’t come from saving weight. It comes from the fact that nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, and its the proper tire pressure that creates better performance and handling.

The argument for using Nitrogen in your car tires is this: Air and Nitrogen would compress at different rates depending on temperature, with air being more squishy than Nitrogen, and that would cause your tires’ pressure to vary more with air than with Nitrogen. – Scienceblogs.com

More squishy? What does that even mean? Just because this argument is coming from a science blog doesn’t meant that it’s scientifically sound.

Proper inflation is the real issue. Under-inflated tires reduce gas mileage. They flatten out, creating more surface area and thus adding friction, which makes the engine work harder. The extra friction, and resulting heat, also increases the chance of a blowout. A properly inflated tire is always safer and more efficient than under-inflated shoes (unless you’re driving across a sand dune). – The Truth about Cars

If only it were this simple. Since air-filled tires are much more susceptible to temperature changes, there are chances for an inaccurate reading when checking the tire pressure of an air-filled tire. For example, if a consumer stops at a gas station after spending some time running errands and driving around, and decides to check their tire pressure, it’s likely that they’ll get a reading that is higher than what the tire pressure really is. The reason is the tires have been heated up from the previous driving,

This could mean that the consumer gets a reading that says their tire pressure is fine, or is too high, and will do nothing about a tire that’s really low or will make it low by releasing pressure to compensate for the high reading. This is why it’s recommended to check tire pressure when the tires a cool, such as before starting the car or after being parked for a few hours. Since tire pressure ought to be checked when the tires are cool, this means that tires would need to be refilled at home with an at-home air compressor (since most people would have to drive to the gas station to get to their air compressor, heating up the tires and ruining the reading).

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prepping tires for winter

Keep your tires winter-friendly with these few tips.

Sure, fall just got here, but let’s not wait until the snow falls before we start to prepare our tires for the winter months. Especially if you live in a part of the country where the switch from summer to winter can be quick, there’s not a whole lot of time before winter is upon is. Here are a few things to do to prepare your tires for the upcoming cold and harsh weather:

  • Check Them for Cracks, Damage, and Other Tread Wear – This should apply for both your summer tires and your winter tires. You wouldn’t want to switch to damaged tires on your vehicle, or have damaged tires on your car in case of a sudden snowstorm. A great way to see if your tires need replaced is to use the penny trick. Stick a penny in between your tire treads. If you still see Lincoln’s head in its entirety, then your tires legally need to be replaced.
  • Get Them Properly Inflated – This would include your spare tire as well as your winter tires. Make sure to go by the owner’s manual and not by the sidewall to find the recommended tire pressure for your tires. To keep your tires at the proper pressure for a longer period time, and to have them resist the colder temperatures better, than use nitrogen tire inflation. While regular air will cause tire pressure to  fluctuate as temperatures begin to change over the next few months, pure nitrogen will keep them at the proper pressure longer and more consistently.
  • Have Emergency Gear on Hand – Emergency gear would include the tools necessary to change a tire, as well as extra clothing to keep yourself warm, just in case you have to make a change when it’s 10 degrees outside. By extra clothing, we mean gloves, a warm jacket, a blanket, and some snow shoes. It would also be smart to have an ice scraper, a snow shovel and a flashlight on hand to make it easier for you to navigate around your car.
  • Know What to Do In Case of an Emergency – This means knowing to do more than to hit the OnStar button or to call roadside assistance. This means knowing how to set up emergency flares or hazard triangles so other drivers can see you. It also means knowing how to use a first aid kit in case someone gets hurt and rescue workers are delayed for whatever reason.
Overall, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Although the weather is nice now and many of us are still safe, we shouldn’t wait until driving condition become dangerous before we start prepare ourselves and our tires for the conditions.
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proper tire care

This tire was made in 2007, in the 51st week of the year.

Industry suggests getting new tires once they are between six and 10 years of age. The reason why is that air migrates through the tire, making it brittle and reducing its strength. The only way to prevent the air from migrating and reducing the strength of your tire is to remove the air from you tire all together. Then, replace it with pure nitrogen with nitrogen tire inflation. That way, you extend the life of your tire, giving it more of those golden years on the road instead of in the dump.

Just like how you can find the maximum tire pressure allowed for your tire, you can figure out how old your tire is looking on the outside. If the tire was made after the year 2000, it has four digits. The first two indicate the week, the last two the year. If the tire has only three digits, it was made prior to 2000, with the first two indicating the week, and the last digit indicating the year of the decade. Tires that are older than 10 years old are considered unsafe for driving. Perhaps it’s because by then, they’ve become brittle and have suffered from the old tire disease of oxidation. Give your tires the fountain of youth with nitrogen tire inflation.

Nitrogen tire inflation has been proven to extend the life of your tires.  Many tires companies, including Michelin and Goodyear, support the practice of nitrogen tire inflation. It’s a practice that’s already being used by the airline industry and NASCAR. It’s about time that it’s used in the consumer market as well.

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