Nitrogen vs Air in RV Tires

Tires do not carry the load of the RV.  That is a pretty bold statement isn’t it.  But it is true, it is the pressure in the tires that carries the load, the tire just provides the container for the pressure.  Proper pressure in the tire ensures that the load will be carried as required along with increasing the durability of the tire and contributing to fuel economy.

Compress air has been used for decades in tires.  It is cheap or free to use and is widely available at gas stations, tire stores and repair shops.  So why would we want to change?  Compress air often comes at a price that is not related to the cost of the air we put into our tires but to the damage that the air does.

Damage you say?  What damage?  Compressed air that you get at your local service station contains varying degrees of moisture and oil depending on the compressor and relative humidity.  Air also contains Oxygen which along with the humidity causes corrosion and oxidation.  The compressor oil and other contamination that the compressor puts into the condense air causes the rubber in our tires to break down.

Nitrogen on the other hand has a lot of benefits. First it is a dry gas.  Which means it does not support moisture that contributes to corrosion.  Next it reduces the loss of tire pressure due to loss through the rubber. Third, since we have removed oxygen from the tire and the moisture we reduce the corrosion within the tire assembly.

Both Nitrogen and air filled tires will change their pressure as the temperature increases or decreases, but they are basically the same amount (1 PSI/10 degrees F.).  So both should be checked in the morning before driving any distance.

How can you tell if your tires have been filled with Nitrogen?  The caps on the valve stems will be green.  But what if you need to add pressure to nitrogen filled tires and there isn’t some place close by, what should you do?  The primary factor here is the pressure in the tires.  Remember it is the pressure that is carrying the load. So if the pressure drops below the amount required to carry the load, fill the tires to the proper pressure with air if that is the only thing available.  When you can, have the tire recharged with nitrogen to maintain the benefits.

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