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Chessmann
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I have a friend with a 6 month old car. This car's tires were inflated with Nitrogen. The dealer is closed today.

My question is this: when using a standard tire pressure gauge, if a tire's recommended pressure level - using plain air - is 32 psi, should the recommended psi be the same when using nitrogen?

We measured the tires, and they were low compared to what was listed on the edge of the door, but we didn't know if the lower reading might be correct with only Nitrogen in the tires.

Bottom line, I suppose: if the recommended psi is 32, does it matter what is inside the tires (air or nitrogen), as long as it the tire reads 32 psi?

Funny thing was that her low tire pressure warning light didn't light up until yesterday, but her tires (holding nitrogen) were WELL below 32 psi.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
leaycraft
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The gauge only measures pressure- regardless of whether its air, nitrogen or any other gas--- pressure is pressure.
"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." A. Conan Doyle," The Sign of Four"
RobertSmith
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I haven't used nitrogen fills only. But given that air is about 78% nitrogen to begin with, wouldn't think that nitrogen fills would cause any need to change the psi.

Temperature has a much bigger effect on tire pressure.

Most tires will vary in pressure about 1 psi for ever 10 degrees. That's approximate mind you. But the long and short of it is, I've not heard of any manufacture differences for nitrogen over air.
Chessmann
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Thought it could be possible that she needs to fill to 32 psi if using air, but fill to XX if using nitrogen.

The notes on the door frame only mentioned psi, and didn't mention either standard "air" or pure nitrogen, so my inclination is to think it doesn't matter - just fill it to 32 no matter what is used. I was curious though, because a low as the pressure was (in the teens) none of the tires looked low, and the low-pressure warning only came on today.

Thanks for the responses.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
Michael Baker
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See if you can find out the level at which the warning activates, and perhaps why.
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S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2013-01-01 18:25, Chessmann wrote:
Thought it could be possible that she needs to fill to 32 psi if using air, but fill to XX if using nitrogen.

Nope. Thirty-two psi is 32 psi regardless of the gas.
ClintonMagus
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Air is about 80% nitrogen anyway, I think.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
NicholasD
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There's a slower reduction in tire pressure with Nitrogen. That's probably the only reason to use it.
Something else to consider when the tire pressure light goes on, is a malfunction in one of the tire pressure sensors. The light will flash on and off for a few seconds, then stay on.
balducci
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http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how....../4302788

Q: Is there any advantage to using nitrogen instead of compressed air in tires? Will I notice improved fuel economy or a smoother ride? Will my tires last longer?

A: Sort of. From the top: Air is 78 percent nitrogen, just under 21 percent oxygen, and the rest is water vapor, CO2 and small concentrations of noble gases such as neon and argon. We can ignore the other gases.

There are several compelling reasons to use pure nitrogen in tires.

First is that nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tire rubber than is oxygen, which means that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term. Racers figured out pretty quickly that tires filled with nitrogen rather than air also exhibit less pressure change with temperature swings. That means more consistent inflation pressures during a race as the tires heat up. And when you're tweaking a race car's handling with half-psi changes, that's important.

Passenger cars can also benefit from the more stable pressures. But there's more: Humidity (water) is a Bad Thing to have inside a tire. Water, present as a vapor or even as a liquid in a tire, causes more of a pressure change with temperature swings than dry air does. It also promotes corrosion of the steel or aluminum rim.

If I ever need to top off a tire when I'm out on the road, I'll always briefly depress the tire chuck's valve with my thumbnail and vent some air. If my thumb gets wet, there's water in the line. Some gas stations don't do a very good job of keeping the humidity out of their air system. I don't even like to use a water-based tire-mounting lubricant unless I can let the tire bake in the sun for a couple of hours before I air it up and seat the bead. I've dismounted tires (not mine) that had several quarts of water inside—probably from a compressed-air hose that collected water and was never purged properly.

How is water relevant to a nitrogen discussion? Any system that delivers pure nitrogen is also going to deliver dry nitrogen. Filling tires with nitrogen involves filling and purging several times in succession, serially diluting the concentration of oxygen in the tire. This will also remove any water.

It's certainly simple, although time-consuming, for a tire technician to fill and bleed tires. But most shops use a machine that not only generates almost pure nitrogen by straining the oxygen out of shop-compressed air, but will also automatically go through several purge cycles unattended. Some shops have been charging as much as $30 per tire for this service. I think that's too much. If you're buying a new tire, it should be far less. Still, the nitrogen generator, filling system and technician's time aren't free—the dealer is entitled to some return for that.

So, to answer your specific questions: With nitrogen, your tire pressures will remain more constant, saving you a small amount in fuel and tire-maintenance costs. There will be less moisture inside your tires, meaning less corrosion on your wheels. You will not be able to feel any difference in the ride or handling or braking, unless your tire pressures were seriously out of spec and changing to nitrogen brought them back to the proper numbers.
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balducci
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And now a word from the Nitrogen lobby ...

http://www.getnitrogen.org/faq.php

In particular see the second question:

"Air is already 78% nitrogen, what’s the big deal?"

It's not about the nitrogen, it's about reducing oxygen and moisture. Oxidation can damage the tire and it's components, as well as the wheel. The rate of oxidation increases as the tire heats during use. Compressed air also contains moisture which increases oxidation and pressure fluctuation. 
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2013-01-01 21:48, balducci wrote:
Racers figured out pretty quickly that tires filled with nitrogen rather than air also exhibit less pressure change with temperature swings. That means more consistent inflation pressures during a race as the tires heat up. And when you're tweaking a race car's handling with half-psi changes, that's important.

Unless the pressure swings result from some temperature-sensitive permeability differential between air and nitrogen, this doesn't make any sense. PV = nrT, no matter what the gas is.
balducci
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I think the difference in permeability explains part of it (I do not believe it has to be temperature-sensitive, though, although it might be) along with what the two sites say about nitrogen filled tires being dryer inside than those filled with air, e.g.:

"Humidity (water) is a Bad Thing to have inside a tire. Water, present as a vapor or even as a liquid in a tire, causes more of a pressure change with temperature swings than dry air does."

"How is water relevant to a nitrogen discussion? Any system that delivers pure nitrogen is also going to deliver dry nitrogen."
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
S2000magician
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On 2013-01-01 22:24, balducci wrote:
I do not believe it has to be temperature-sensitive, though, although it might be . . . .

I mentioned temperature-sensitivity because you wrote this:

"That means more consistent inflation pressures during a race as the tires heat up."
balducci
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That's fine. Besides, Popular Mechanics wrote that, I was just quoting it for the convenience of people here. And whatever the reason for the difference in the behavior of nitrogen versus air in tires when it comes to PSI may be, there does appear to be a difference.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
S2000magician
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I suspect that the difference, whatever its cause and nature, is probably negligible in a passenger car in typical passenger-car use.
landmark
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This nitrogen in the tires thing is new to me. Now, how about helium for a smooth ride?
ropeadope
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Make sure you change your air (or nitrogen) from summer to winter during the season.
Nothing is better than more.
AllAboutMagic
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How much does a pound of air weigh? Same as a pound of gold.

Your PSI issue is not an issue. The advice here is solid (not gas......LOL)
S2000magician
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On 2013-01-03 21:14, AllAboutMagic wrote:
How much does a pound of air weigh? Same as a pound of gold.

Nope.

Air, if it is weighed at all, would be weighed using avoirdupois pounds: 16 ounces per pound (and 16 drams (437.5 grains) per ounce); a pound of air weighs 7,000 grains.

Gold (and other precious metals) would be weighed using troy pounds: 12 ounces per pound (and 480 grains per ounce); a pound of gold weighs 5,760 grains, or about 82.3% as much as a pound of air.
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2013-01-03 23:46, S2000magician wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-01-03 21:14, AllAboutMagic wrote:
How much does a pound of air weigh? Same as a pound of gold.

Nope.

Air, if it is weighed at all, would be weighed using avoirdupois pounds: 16 ounces per pound (and 16 drams (437.5 grains) per ounce); a pound of air weighs 7,000 grains.

Gold (and other precious metals) would be weighed using troy pounds: 12 ounces per pound (and 480 grains per ounce); a pound of gold weighs 5,760 grains, or about 82.3% as much as a pound of air.


LOL! Bill, you're a smarty-pants.
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