Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2015 Contents A: Air is 78 percent nitrogen, just under 21 percent oxygen, and the rest is water vapour,
CO2 and small concentrations of noble gases such as neon and argon. There are several
compelling reasons to use pure nitrogen in tyres.
Firstly, nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tyre rubber than is oxygen, which means
that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term. Racers figured out
pretty quickly that tyres 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 tyres heat up. When you are tweaking a race car's handling with half-psi
changes, that's important.
Passenger cars can also benefit from the more stable pressures. Still, humidity is a bad
component to have inside a tyre. Water, present as a vapour or even as a liquid in a tyre,
causes more of a pressure change with temperature swings than dry air does. It also pro-
motes corrosion of the steel or aluminum rim.
How is water relevant to a nitrogen discussion? Any system that delivers pure nitrogen is
also going to deliver dry nitrogen. Filling tyres with nitrogen involves filling and purging sev-
eral times in succession, serially diluting the concentration of oxygen in the tyre. This will
also remove any water.
It is simple, although time-consuming, for a tyre 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 cy-
cles unattended. Still, the nitrogen generator, filling system and technician's time does not
In conclusion to answer the specific questions:
• With nitrogen, your tyre pressures will remain more constant, saving you a small
amount in fuel and tyre-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 tyre pressures were seriously out of spec and changing to nitrogen brought them
back to the proper numbers.
• Nitrogen is Inert non-flammable.
• Avoids risks of tyre explosion in case of accident or tyre burst
• The size of molecule of Nitrogen is bigger so in case of puncture, Nitrogen leaks
slowly giving more time to drive a punctured tyre (Applicable to Tubeless Tyres).
Nitrogen inflation is becoming popular worldwide and training for staff in tyre shops is
high on most business owners agenda.
Q: Is there any advantage to using nitrogen instead of compressed air in
tyres? Will I notice improved fuel economy or a smoother ride? Will my
tyres last longer?
Rain and wet roads can mean driv-
ing trouble. On a wet road you can't
stop, accelerate or turn as well be-
cause your tyre to road traction isn't
as good as on dry roads. If your tyres
don't have much tread left, you'll get
even less traction.
It's always wise to go slower and be
cautious if it starts to rain while you
are driving. The surface may get wet
suddenly when your reflexes are tuned
for driving on dry pavement.
The heavier the rain, the harder it is
to see. Even if your windshield wiper
blades are good shape, a heavy rain can
make it harder to see road signs and
traffic signals, pavement markings, the
edge of the road, and even people walk-
ing. Road spray can often be worse for
vision than rain, especially if it comes
from a dirty road.
So it is wise to keep your wiping
equipment in good shape and keep
your windshield washer tank filled.
Keep your windows clean inside. This
will make them less likely to fog up. Re-
place your windshield wiper inserts
when they show signs of streaking or missing areas on
the windshield, or when strips of rubber start to sepa-
rate from the inserts.
Driving too fast through large water puddles, or even
going through some car washes, can cause problems too.
The water may affect your brakes. Try to avoid puddles,
but if you can't, try to slow down before you hit them.
Hydroplaning is dangerous. So much water can build
up under your tires that your vehicle can actually ride on
the water. This can happen if the road is wet enough and
you are going fast enough. When your vehicle is hy-
droplaning, it has little or no contact with the road.
You might not be aware of hydroplaning. You could
drive along for some time without realising your tyres
aren't in constant contact with the road. You could find
out the hard way; when you have to slow, turn, move out
suddenly find yourself out of control.
Hydroplaning doesn't happen often.
But it can if your tyres haven't much
tread or if the pressure in one or more is
low. It can happen if a lot of water is
standing on the road. If you can see re-
flections from trees, telephone poles, or
other vehicles and raindrops "dimple" the
water's surface, there could be hy-
Hydroplaning usually happens on
higher speed roads. There just isn't a
hard and fast rule about hydroplaning.
The best advice is to slow down when it
is raining, and be careful.
Some Other Rainy Weather Tips
Turn on your headlights -- not just your
parking lights -- to help make you more
visible to others.
Look for hard-to-see vehicles coming
from behind. What you see through the
rearview mirrors may be distorted by
raindrops on the outside mirror and rear
You may want to use your headlights
even in daytime if it's raining hard.
Besides slowing down, allow some
extra following distance. And be espe-
cially careful when you pass another vehicle. Allow your-
self more clear room ahead, and be prepared to have
your view restricted by road spray. If the road spray is so
heavy you are actually blinded, drop back. Don't pass
until conditions improve. Going more slowly is better
than having an accident.
Use your defogger if it helps.
Have good tyres with proper tread depth.
Source: GM Motors Corporation.
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