Nitrogen vs Air-filled Tyres: The Pros and Cons

Published on: 12 November 2015

Nitrogen vs Air-filled Tyres: The Pros and Cons

As car owners, we do all that we can in order to care for and preserve our precious vehicles - whether we do so by investing in a magnificent car polish that leaves our ride looking shiny and new, or by implementing a new car maintenance trend such as run-flat tyres, the aim is always to ensure increased vehicle longevity, as well as improved cost-efficiency.

Introducing nitrogen-filled tyres – a worldwide trend that has been around for ages, but is something that South Africans have only recently started to embrace.

We take a look at the pros and cons below.

The Pros:

Consistent Tyre Pressure

Did you know that the air in your tyres can turn into water vapour at certain extreme temperatures, resulting in a drastic change in tyre pressure? This change in tyre pressure can, in turn, cause a dangerous blow-out or roll-over. Thankfully, nitrogen is much drier than regular air, making it impossible for water to form within the tyre, thus helping to maintain consistent tyre pressure and ensuring enhanced safety when on the roads of South Africa.

Fuel Economy

When tyre pressure is maintained as a result of using nitrogen as opposed to regular air, your vehicle utilises less fuel. While this boost in fuel economy is small (approximately 5%), it will make a considerable difference to your bank balance in the long run.

No Rust

Rust within your tyres is caused by oxidation, and is inevitable in air-filled tyres. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is an inert gas that is free of oxygen, thus making it impossible for rust to form and, in turn, lengthening the lifespan of your tyres by up to 20%. 

Increased Safety

If you ever land up in a nasty accident, air-filled tyres can pose a serious danger. The oxygen within them can exacerbate the situation and cause the vehicle to go up in flames. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is not combustible and is therefore a much safer alternative.

The Cons:

More Expensive

Generally, it doesn’t cost a thing to re-inflate your tyres with air when visiting the petrol station, whereas nitrogen can cost you a small fortune. While nitrogen is indeed more expensive, you will need to re-fill your tyres a lot less frequently, thus making the added cost slightly more manageable. Some suppliers of nitrogen allow you to top up for free!

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Unfortunately, many petrol stations and garages that you visit are may no have nitrogen on hand. As a result, it is essential that you plan in advance when you know that your tyres need to be re-filled.

Ultimately, deciding whether to opt for nitrogen or air-filled tyres depends on your unique preference and vehicle. However, if you do decide to make the change and utilise nitrogen from here on out, ensure that you go about it the right way. It is important for a professional to completely empty your tyres of any air before filling them up with nitrogen!

If you would like to further safeguard your vehicle while on the roads, don’t hesitate to get in touch with MiWay for a hassle-free, no-obligations car insurance quote.

Watch our video to learn how to properly inflate your tyres (with air!)