John Deere Maintenance Monday: Nitrogen in tires
Radio interview source: Shane Louwerens, John Deere Ag Tech Instructor, Northwest Mississippi Community College
Andy in Kentucky says his tractor dealer has started offering nitrogen for tires. Andy wants to know more about it before switching from standard air.
Shane Louwerens is a John Deere Ag Tech Instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He says nitrogen has some advantages over air. There's no risk of developing rust on the tire rims from water vapor suspended in the air. Nitrogen maintains tire pressure better because it has fatter molecules than oxygen. This reduces the rate of seepage out of the tire.
"You're probably looking at in an average 6-month span, a regular air tire may lose a pound or two, whereas a nitrogen would probably lose maybe half-a-pound air pressure. They're all going to lose some, there's no perfect world," says Louwerens. "Then when you start looking at air pressure, you also look at the fact of tire wear because improperly inflated tires have uneven wear, which means you don't get the life out of your tire that you could if the pressure was maintained."
Louwerens says a tire shop will probably charge you $5-$10 per tire for a nitrogen fill. However, because it's excellent at maintaining pressure, you may only have to do this once or twice per year. New tires can be filled right away with nitrogen, but your dealer or tire shop can also put it into tires already filled with standard air.
"They'll take the valve stems out, let all the air out of the tire, and then they'll refill it with nitrogen," says Louwerens. "Sometimes they will actually do that three times. They'll fill it up with nitrogen, let it all out, fill it up with nitrogen again, let it out, and then the third time they'll go ahead and fill it up and leave it."
This purges all of the regular air, and moisture out of your tire.
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