Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
You may have heard the spiel that filling your tires with nitrogen will reduce roll resistance and air loss, boost fuel economy, and improve safety. Car dealers and mechanics might sell you the idea for about $5 a tire and finish by putting a green cap on your valve stem.
But does switching nitrogen for air actually do what they say it does? And if so, how much of a difference does it actually make? Thankfully, Consumer Reports ran a study to answer the question once and for all.
Over a 12-month period, the consumer watchdog tested 31 new all-season tire models. Each model was used for 16,000-miles. The result? The difference between air and nitrogen was minimal at best.
What difference does nitrogen make for your tires?
People selling you the idea that you should fill your tires with nitrogen offer a long list of reasons for doing so. But a second look at this list exposes the truth: that switching to nitrogen only improves one thing—how quickly tires deflate.
Consumer Reports’ study showed that tires filled with nitrogen maintained better pressure than tires filled with air but only by an average of 1.3 psi over 16,000 miles, not nearly enough to make a substantial difference for performance, fuel economy, or safety.
The product tester compared their study to one conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They also found that “inflating with nitrogen in place of air had little or no direct effect on tire rolling resistance performance.”
If nitrogen doesn’t work, how do I take care of my tires?
Increasing your tires’ lifespan is actually pretty simple. You don’t need a magical cure from a dealer or mechanic. All you need to do is pay attention to two things.
The most important thing to keep an eye on is tire pressure. Consumer Reports suggests checking tire pressure once a month. You can find the right psi for your vehicle on your vehicle’s door jamb, inside its glove compartment, or on your fuel-filler door.
Another thing you want to keep track of is the tread wear on your tires. Uneven wear on the edges will indicate underinflation; uneven wear in the middle will indicate overinflation. The longer you go with the wrong pressure in your tires, the more miles you lose from their lifespan.
If worse comes to worse, are my tires covered by insurance?
Liability, collision, and comprehensive car insurance can protect you in a wide array of circumstances, but they don’t cover you from regular wear and tear. Your tires would only be covered if they were damaged in an accident or vandalized in some way.
If you’re unsure about whether you’re covered in a particular situation, you can always contact Jerry to get a little help. Jerry’s friendly agents are here to answer your questions and provide advice on the best coverage options.
As your life changes, your insurance changes, and Jerry is ready to make those adjustments for you. A licensed broker that offers end-to-end support, the Jerry app gathers affordable quotes, helps you switch plans, and will even help you cancel your old policy.