Nitrogen in tires how to refill

Your Guide to Nitrogen for Tires

Your Guide to Nitrogen for Tires

Many drivers wonder if they can replace nitrogen with regular air in their tires. While looking for a way to keep tires inflated longer, especially in changing temperatures, some consider inflating them with nitrogen instead of air, or using a combination of the two. This guide can help you decide whether to fill your tires with nitrogen, air, or both.

In general, adding nitrogen to your tires is a typical up-sell tactic at tire shops. There are some benefits in motorsport, and it sounds good in theory, but for the typical car owner, sticking with normal air is perfectly fine. As long as you keep your tire pressures at the correct spec, you're good to go.

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    What Are Nitrogen Tires?

    Nitrogen tires are filled with nitrogen instead of, or in addition to, regular air. The larger, slower-moving nitrogen molecules seep out of the tire more slowly, and some experts say this can help keep tires inflated longer. Using a combination of nitrogen and air in your tires won't harm them, but it might reduce the effectiveness of the nitrogen fill and cause your tires to deflate more quickly than if you used pure nitrogen. An accurate pressure gauge can help you maintain proper tire pressure, whether using nitrogen or air.

    Filling your tires with nitrogen might provide benefits in these areas:

    • Gas Mileage. Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage, whether they are filled with air or nitrogen. You can use nitrogen in your tires to possibly help your tires stay correctly inflated longer.
    • Tire Longevity. Maintaining proper tire pressure can help your tires last longer. You can accomplish this with nitrogen or air, although nitrogen may require fewer top-offs.
    • Better Handling. Vehicles handle better when tires are kept at the right capacity. Using nitrogen might help you keep your tires at the proper volume longer.

      Types of Nitrogen Tires

      Any tire can be filled with nitrogen instead of air. Here are some considerations when using nitrogen in some common tire types:

      Summer Tires

      Standard summer tires perform well in dry and wet conditions. They often perform best in summer weather or weather that is generally warm and dry. Using nitrogen in your summer tires might help you keep a consistent tire pressure when the temperature changes drastically, such as a cool summer night followed by a very hot day.

      Snow Tires

      Snow tires, or winter tires, use special rubber and tread and sometimes even metal studs to handle wintry conditions such as snow and ice. Nitrogen's extreme weather benefits may be useful in cold conditions, and you might find that you lose less tire pressure during weather fluctuations than if you were to use nitrogen-free air.

      All-Season Tires

      All-season tires are a safe bet in areas with relatively moderate conditions, including temperate winters. They offer modest traction and don't need to be replaced seasonally. Filling your all-season tires with nitrogen might help you retain tire pressure through seasonal temperature shifts, especially when the seasons change.

      Performance Tires

      Performance tires are often used for high-speed or luxury vehicles. They are often a low-profile, wide tire with shallow treads and increased traction in some conditions. Nitrogen offers the same benefits in performance tires as it does in other tire types, including less frequent top-offs.

      Off-Road Tires

      Off-road tires are used for vehicles that can handle rough conditions such as rocks, mud, and deep snow. They are usually durable with deep tread. Using nitrogen in your off-road tires might help you control your tire pressure specifically for the conditions you expect out on the terrain.

      Things to Think About when Considering Nitrogen for Your Tires

      When you are deciding whether to use nitrogen in your tires, keep these factors in mind:

      • Budget. Most locations charge to fill your tires with nitrogen. You might also purchase tires that come pre-filled with nitrogen. Research nitrogen tire fill costs in your area and consider the expense before purchasing your tires. Remember that you might not have to refill your tires as often when you use nitrogen compared to air.
      • Current Tire Fill. If your tires are currently filled with nitrogen, you might decide to continue filling them with nitrogen only to maintain the maximum benefits. If you decide to top off your tires with regular air, it won't harm or damage your tires in any way, and it's perfectly safe to do so. Mixing nitrogen and air might just mean you need to fill your tires more often. You can sometimes tell whether your tires are pre-filled with nitrogen based on the color of the valve-stem cap. A green cap is often used to indicate a nitrogen fill.
      • Accessibility. Consider the availability of nitrogen in your area. Ease of access might impact your decision to fill your tires with nitrogen, especially if you prefer to avoid mixing nitrogen and air to preserve the full benefits of nitrogen tires. If you plan to travel, you might consider researching nitrogen dealers in locations you plan to visit, particularly if you need to fill your tires while you are away.

        How To Replace/Install Nitrogen in Your Tires

        Your local tire dealer can help you fill your tires with nitrogen for the first time. They will usually remove the regular air from your tires and then refill them with nitrogen multiple times. This helps eliminate any remaining oxygen and moisture inside.

        To top off or refill your tires with nitrogen, visit a dealer or tire shop near you. Some retailers may only fill tires that were purchased from them and others might require a membership.

        If you find that you are in a situation that calls for a top-off or reinflation and you are away from a nitrogen dealer, use whichever source of air you can find. Maintaining proper tire pressure is more important than the composition of the air in the tire. Properly inflated tires handle better, may get better gas mileage, wear more evenly, and can help keep you safer on the road. You can always return to a dealer for a full nitrogen fill when you get to another area.

        Where To Buy Products for Nitrogen Tires

        Make sure to verify the correct tire size for your vehicle.

        Hearst Autos Gear Team The Hearst Autos Gear Team is dedicated to bringing you the very best in automotive tools, parts, and accessories, based on the expertise of the editors of Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Autoweek. 

        How to fill tires with nitrogen at home

        Do you want high-performance tires like those in race cars? Your tires probably won’t achieve the track-like performance with your car, but there is an option. Fill them with nitrogen instead of normal air.

        Can you fill your tires with nitrogen at home instead of car center refills? Yes! It’s easy to give your tires a refill by yourself by using a nitrogen-filled cylinder and following the correct steps. Remove as much air as possible from the tires, then refill them with nitrogen. A 96-percent nitrogen fill is good enough since you cannot get rid of all the air before you start filling.

        Fill your tires with nitrogen at home

        Filling your tires with nitrogen at tire centers or car dealerships will quickly pile up your car maintenance costs. So, why don’t you invest in a home nitrogen refill setup? Here’s what you will need. Also, check the table below for the analyzed numbers.

        1. Nitrogen tank or cylinder

        For your home use, you will need a nitrogen cylinder (mid-sized tank) just like the ones you use for welding gases. You can opt for a tank that holds about 300 cubic feet of nitrogen, which will be enough for about 60 refills.

        The mid-sized tank is a reasonable investment. Getting the 300 cu/ft size will cost about $400, so can opt for a small-sized one like a 125 cu/ft on Amazon. You’ll pay about $40 to refill 300 cu/ft if you run out of nitrogen.

        If you do the calculations, your 300 cubic feet of nitrogen cylinder can refill your car tires about 15 times. You will end up saving lots of money since most nitrogen refills cost between $3 and $10 per tire ($12 – $40 for all tires).

        2. Digital tire inflator

        Tire inflators let you regulate how much air fills your tires. It connects from the nitrogen tank to the tire valve.

        Connecting your digital tire inflator or gauge is a matter of plugging and screwing. You can use Teflon tape for an air-tight connection to the gas cylinder.

        Some inflator packs come with standard valve caps, which you won’t use (use the nitrogen valve caps instead).

        3. Portable nitrogen analyzer

        You don’t want all your effort in setting up a nitrogen filling system to go to waste. Get a portable nitrogen analyzer to check the nitrogen percentage in your tires after each refill.

        Besides the cylinder, an N analyzer is the other expensive part of your DIY nitrogen filling station.

        4. Nitrogen valve caps

        After your tires are rocking at least 96 percent nitrogen, you want people to know you’ve gone green.

        Have you ever seen those green tire valve stem caps labeled N2? Those are the ones you need to seal your tires.

        5. Lift jack

        As a car owner who loves DIYing, a lift jack is part of my toolset. If do not have one, it will another addition to the things you need during your tire filling procedure. I recommend getting a heavy triple lift jack (check the exact price on Amazon).

        How much does it cost to fill tires with nitrogen?

        With the breakdown of all the things you need to fill your tires at home with nitrogen, we can estimate how much you will spend.

        PartEstimate cost
        Nitrogen cylinder (300 cu/ft)$400
        Digital tire inflator$28
        Portable nitrogen analyzer$396
        Nitrogen valve caps$8
        Lift jack$250
        Initial cylinder gas fill$40
        Total (without jack and analyzer)$476
        Table 1: Home nitrogen filling system setup cost

        Here’s an interesting comparison table.

        Long term costs
         Filling at home costFilling at gas center cost
        First 15 tire fillings$0$300
        Next 15-30 tire fillings$2.67$300
        Next 30-45 tire fillings$2.67$300
        Next 45-60 tire fillings$2.67$300
        Table 2: Long term costs comparison

        Let’s break down the second table. We’re working with a 300 cubic feet cylinder that can roughly fill 60 tires. It means you can fill all the four tires of your car 15 times before buying another supply of nitrogen for your cylinder.

        As mentioned, filling your tires at a gas center costs anywhere between $3 and $10. Let’s use $5 per tire fill, which means you’ll spend $20 for all your tires.

        Procedure for filling nitrogen in your tires at home

        The purpose of filling your tires with N gas is to enjoy the benefits it offers. We’ll discuss the benefits later in this post, but first here are the correct steps you need to follow.

        • Remove the valve core to let out as much existing air as possible from the tire. If you don’t have a special tool for removing valve cores, use a pair of needle-nose pliers. Lift your car using a lift jack before removing the valve core.
        • Connect the digital tire inflator to the nitrogen cylinder and fill up the tire with about five pounds of pressure. Then, let it blow out again to eliminate the remaining oxygen.
        • Before all the air blows out, screw back the valve core.
        • Now, fill up the tire with pure nitrogen to full pressure.
        • The next step is to find out how much N is inside your refilled tire. Use the nitrogen analyzer gauge by connecting its nozzle to the tire valve. Let it analyze the air coming out of the tire for about 25 seconds.
        • Repeat the steps if the N reading is less than 96 percent.

        Can I put nitrogen in my tires myself? Where can I fill my tires with nitrogen? These are some of the questions I saw people asking online during my research.

        If you follow the steps I have listed above you can clearly fill your tires yourself, and do it at home.

        How do you check nitrogen-filled tires?

        Plug the nozzle of your N analyzer onto the tire valve. As air escapes from inside the tire, the analyzer will display the percentage of N.

        Tires filled with nitrogen will generally show a percentage higher than 92.

        You won’t have to worry much about your tires losing pressure if you go the ‘green way’. However, you can still use the digital tire inflator to check the tire pressure when it’s cold, before driving, or after 3 hours of driving. When using the inflator to check your tire psi, do not connect it to the cylinder.

        Compare the psi you’ve measured with what the car manufacturer recommends. You can find those details on the doorjamb sticker usually found on the driver’s side. Both readings should be roughly the same. The inflator has a deflation button in case of excess pressure.

        Does cold weather affect nitrogen-filled tires?

        Yes, a drop in temperature affects tires filled with nitrogen. During the cold season, a 10-degree Fahrenheit drop will cause a two percent pressure loss in N-filled tires.

        The solution for this issue is to fill your tires 10 percent higher than the manufacturer recommended psi. However, do not go beyond the tire’s recommended psi. It might blow up.

        Benefits of filling tires with nitrogen

        By nature, compressed nitrogen is more homogenous and has large molecules. Its large molecules minimize tire leak-outs. However, there are other benefits of using N to fill your car tires.

        1. Minimal tire temperature changes

        N does not heat up as quickly as compressed air does. Because of that, your tire temperature will remain consistent hence minimizing the chances of tire blowouts associated with overheated tires.

        2. Its effect on tire life

        A tire operating temperature plays a part in how it wears out. If you opt for nitrogen, your temperatures will remain almost constant even after long drives hence causing minimal wear and tire associated with heated tires.

        3. How it holds-up your tire pressure

        You’re guaranteed consistent tire pressure for the most part of using your car. Nitrogen maintains its temperature in a hot environment hence your tires won’t have an increased pressure like in air-filled tires.

        Nitrogen particles are large compared to normal air so pressure loss will be slow even in cold weather.

        4. Its reaction with your tires

        N is inert and dry. It is way less reactive compared to normal compressed air that can react with moisture and cause rust on the metal rim.

        5. Is it a real ‘green’ option?

        Nitrogen is considered a green alternative since tire pressure is constant and consistently at the right level. I turn, your car tires will run smoothly with less rolling resistance hence fuel-efficient and save on fuel expenses.

        Because N can lengthen the life of your tires there will be no need to replace them often hence help in slashing your tire maintenance costs.

        Besides the advantages I have listed, vehicles that operate in hazardous areas like mines should use nitrogen in their tires to reduce fire risk since it is an inert gas.

        Also, you can consider using nitrogen instead of normal air tire filling because of the following reasons.

        • If you drive a high-performance vehicle
        • Frequent travels to areas with cold weather (pressure loss in air-filled tires)
        • Live in cold or warm areas since extreme temperatures can affect air-filled tires
        • If you use high-quality tires and hope to extend their lifespan

        What are the disadvantages of nitrogen?

        Ditching compressed air tire filling comes at a cost.

        For instance, here is a valid question.

        1. How much does it cost to fill tires with nitrogen?

        You’ll need to think about the cost. The standard cost to fill a tire can vary from $3 to $10 per tire. The price depends on variables like tire size and pressure.

        On the other hand, standard air is mostly free or $1 at many gas centers. Some dealerships, tire centers, and service stations offer free refills on-site if you buy their tires or a car from them.

        2. Less available compared to normal gas

        Nitrogen can be challenging to find since it’s less popular as a tire refill gas and you’re more likely to find it in select service stations.

        3. Tire manufacturer warranty issues

        Some tire manufacturers have policies regarding filling up their tires with nitrogen. Not all tire brands appreciate nitrogen use and may not cover it in their warranties.

        I advise that you check with the tire manufacturer to see if a particular tire model you have will still be covered by their guarantee or not.


        Filling your tires with nitrogen at home is simple. The huddle you’ll have to cross is the initial investment cost of buying the cylinder, digital tire inflator, nitrogen analyzer (you don’t have to buy it), and the valve caps. In the long run, you’ll save money while enjoying better performing tires than when using normal compressed air in your tires.

        Filling tires with nitrogen.

        Filling tires with nitrogen.

        The benefits of using nitrogen to inflate (refill) wheels and tires are as follows:

        • when refueling a tire with nitrogen, there is no moisture, oil, dust - particles that reduce the durability of the wheel.
        • Reduced chance of tire explosion. Lack of tire heating when the wheel is filled with nitrogen - at high speeds and when the brake system is “wedged”, because there is no oxygen, which is an expansion element (this is especially important for trucks).
        • Improve tire pressure stability. It is known that tire pressure is recommended to be checked once every two weeks. The use of filling the wheel with nitrogen increases this frequency by a factor of three.
        • Improve grip. Compared to air (which is usually strongly influenced by changes in temperature and pressure), nitrogen in its pure form has increased damping properties, that is, a wheel pumped with nitrogen works as an additional shock absorber.

        In addition, it is important to elaborate on the advantages that filling a tire with nitrogen will give you compared to filling a wheel with air.

        Advantages of filling a tire with nitrogen compared to filling a wheel with air:

        • Increased smoothness and softness of the passage of uneven road surfaces
        • Improving wheel damping and reducing vehicle suspension load
        • Driveability Improvement
        • Improving stability when cornering, changing lanes and exits
        • Improve road grip and reduce stopping distance
        • Reduced wheel slip during emergency start
        • Noise and vibration reduction from tire-to-road contact
        • Significant reduction in tire pressure fluctuation regardless of vehicle speed, load and ambient temperature
        • Improving wheel performance under increased loads and temperatures
        • Tire wear reduction and uniformity
        • Reducing the likelihood of disc damage when hitting a pit, hitting a curb, etc.
        • Exclusion of oxidation processes of tire steel cord and disc material

        All these factors contribute not only to improving the performance of the tire, but also ensures the safety of the car on any road.

        As a result, each car owner must clearly understand for himself that inflation (filling) of a tire with nitrogen has a number of advantages that not only help prolong the tire's performance, but also ensure comfort and safety on the road.

        In summary, let's once again name the main advantages of pumping (filling) wheels with nitrogen:

        • reduced need for tire inflation and tire pressure control;
        • increases tire durability;
        • improves tire performance;
        • makes it easier to repair, since the inner surface of the tire and the carcass do not come into contact with oxygen, which eliminates corrosion;
        • reduces corrosion of rims and valves;
        • tire burning or bursting due to spontaneous combustion is excluded.


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        • st. Rusakovskaya, 1, tel.: +7 (495) 530-77-00;
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        Nitrogen in tires, injection of nitrogen and DRIVE-MG gas mixture into car tires in Stupino and Kashira.

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        and regular maintenance to obtain clean nitrogen, but given the high cost of filters and consumables, not everyone performs this maintenance, which leads to a decrease in gas quality. We value our reputation and try to use only high-quality materials in everything, so we decided to supply nitrogen to our tire centers in cylinders.

        The main advantages of nitrogen over air are:

        • tire pressure does not change with temperature changes, since there is no oxygen in nitrogen, which expands with increasing temperature
        • Nitrogen prevents disc oxidation and rubber aging as it is free from oil, dust and moisture
        • maintaining stable tire pressure, preventing uneven tire wear

        You can read about the importance of monitoring and maintaining the required tire pressure here.

        In this section you can get acquainted with the cost of filling tires with nitrogen.

        In our tire shops it is possible to fill tires with DRIVE-MG gas mixture, which is superior to nitrogen, as it contributes to a more comfortable ride over uneven road surfaces.

        Tire vacuum for 9 NITROGEN or DRIVE-MG 3 gas mixture 1 902: : 9020 002

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