What do NASCAR, Indy racers, commercial airlines, the U.S. government and a few cowboys and cowgirls have in common? It's nitrogen-filled tires. It may sound sci-fi and futuristic, but they're here. Many over-the-road horse people have already discoveredWhat do NASCAR, Indy racers, commercial airlines, the U.S. government and a few cowboys and cowgirls have in common? It's nitrogen-filled tires. It may sound sci-fi and futuristic, but they're here. Many over-the-road horse people have already discovered
What do NASCAR, Indy racers, commercial airlines, the U.S. government and a few cowboys and cowgirls have in common? It’s nitrogen-filled tires.
It may sound sci-fi and futuristic, but they’re here. Many over-the-road horse people have already discovered and tried them, with impressive results. Truckers, airlines and racecar drivers have used them for quite a few years and have long recognized the benefits. Although they’ve been in use for a while, nitrogen-filled tires are just now getting recognition within the rodeo community. That’s great news, considering this sport may benefit more than the rest due to constant travel, cost of fuel and the standard hazards of pulling a horse trailer.
What is nitrogen?
Formally defined, nitrogen is "an element essential for the growth of plants and animals; a gas constituting 79 percent of the atmosphere." The rest of the atmosphere consists of 21 percent oxygen, about 1 percent water vapor and trace amounts of other gases.
Informally explained, it doesn’t expand and contract with heat and cold like air, which is always changing, and a nitrogen molecule is larger than an air, or more specifically, oxygen, molecule. These characteristics yield consistent tire pressure and nearly eliminates slow leaks you see with standard air-filled tires.
What are the benefits?
According to the Get Nitrogen Institute, based in Denver, Colo., nitrogen is "safer, cheaper and greener" [more environmentally friendly] than "plain old air."
Recognized benefits include consistent tire pressure and safety, both of which create secondary benefits, such as reduced tire wear and increased fuel which saves money, and better handling, cooler running temperatures and reduced risk of blowout (typically caused by under-inflated tires), which enhances safety.
For example, according to GNI, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that proper tire inflation could have saved 50 to 80 lives and prevented from 6,000 to 10,000 highway injuries in 2001. In addition to reducing blowouts, nitrogen "ensures that the vehicle’s contact patch is on the road," improving handling and allowing the driver to make quicker and more decisive reactions.
Environmentally, the GNI says nitrogen will help consumers "use less fuel, toss fewer tires, and emit fewer toxins."
Andrew Lyons of Transwest Truck and Trailer in Firestone, Colo., (www.transwest.com) said another major perk is that once you fill up Ð that’s it. No more searching for quarters to put in the gas station air machine; short of something major like a flat tire, you shouldn’t lose any nitrogen.
"We still recommend you check your tire pressure, but when you do, you won’t see the variance that you will with air," he explained. "This is basically in its infancy, and people that are trying it usually travel a lot of miles."
Although nitrogen can be put in car tires, there isn’t much demand yet as most cars don’t log significant over-the-road miles, so they don’t see as much benefit. But as nitrogen becomes more readily available,… Read more… here!