How to Fill Tires with Nitrogen at Home

23rd Feb,2024

Whenever you’re driving, you want every part of your vehicle to deliver peak performance. And that includes your tires. Filling your tires with nitrogen can deliver some benefits in terms of efficiency and performance. But can you fill tires with nitrogen at home? And how do you do it? That’s what we’ll cover in this article.

What are Nitrogen-Filled Tires?

Most road cars have tires that are filled with normal air. However, you can also fill your tires with pure nitrogen. To understand the benefits of nitrogen-filled tires, it’s important to know a little more about this gas.

When you’re driving, your tires are subjected to friction from the road surface. This causes the tire temperature to rise. Regular air expands at higher temperatures, which squeezes some of the pressure out of your tires.

However, nitrogen molecules are bigger and move more slowly than oxygen molecules. As such, nitrogen expands more slowly than air. This means that tires filled with nitrogen lose pressure less quickly than regular air-filled tires. This keeps your tires inflated for longer.

tires on the concrete floor

Pros of Nitrogen-Filled Tires

Using nitrogen-filled tires has several advantages compared to running tires filled with regular air. You can enjoy these benefits regardless of what type of car you drive. Let’s take a look at each advantage in more detail.

Reduced Tire Pressure Loss

As explained earlier, nitrogen-filled tires lose air pressure at a slower rate than tires filled with compressed air. This enables you to maintain the proper tire pressure for longer. However, it’s important to remember that using nitrogen won’t prevent tire pressure loss entirely.

That said, the difference in tire pressure leakage between the two gasses is also fairly minimal. According to some tests [1], nitrogen tires lose an average of 2.2 psi over time, compared to a 3.5 psi loss for air filled tires.

However, if you regularly rack up tens of thousands of miles, using nitrogen in your tires could make a difference in the long run especially if you have the correct wheel spacers on your car.

Better Fuel Economy

The slower pressure loss of nitrogen-filled tires can also improve your gas mileage, which also saves you money. This is all to do with the rolling resistance of your tires.

As you drive along, your tires are subjected to resistance from the road surface. The higher the rolling resistance of your tires, the more fuel your vehicle needs to burn. Rolling resistance increases as the pressures of your tires decrease.

Using nitrogen tires allows you to maintain the right tire pressures for longer periods compared to regular air tires. As such, your car maintains a lower rolling resistance, leading to better fuel efficiency.

However, maintaining proper tire pressure improves your fuel economy regardless of which gas you use. Look at the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressures for your car and perform regular pressure checks.

Less Tire Wear and Tear

In some ways, nitrogen tires suffer from less wear and tear than regular tires. If tire pressures get too high or too low, air-filled tires are more at risk of tire dry rot. This causes the tire rubber to lose its oils and dry out, making it more brittle. However, car tires filled with nitrogen deflate at a slower rate, reducing the risk of dry rot.

The air inside regular tires can also be contaminated by moisture and water vapor. As the moisture builds up in the tire, it can cause corrosion and rust on the wheel rims. Filling your tires with dry nitrogen makes moisture build-ups less likely, increasing the lifespan of each tire.

Picture of tire and rim

Increased Performance

To achieve maximum performance, Indycar and F1 racing teams exclusively use nitrogen in their tires. Racing car tires are subjected to extreme forces that generate high tire temperatures. Nitrogen tires can withstand higher temperatures than normal tires. As such, these tires are more durable and predictable at high speeds.

Using tires filled with nitrogen can also provide small performance increases on normal roads. Filling tires with nitrogen can slightly improve handling, shorten braking distances, and increase steering response. If you have a high-performance car as your daily driver or regularly enjoy track driving, nitrogen is a better choice than air. If you need a radar detector since you will be driving faster on those tires check out this article we wrote on the best radar detectors here.

Cons of Nitrogen-Filled Tires

Conversion Can Be Expensive and Time-Consuming

If you already have air-filled tires, you may want to replace them with nitrogen-filled tires. However, this process can be expensive and time-consuming. Typically, you’ll need to take your tires to a professional tire shop. They will then deflate and inflate each tire multiple times with nitrogen. This is the only way to remove any water vapor or other contaminants from the old air. This service can be fairly costly, especially if there aren’t many options available in your area.

Cost of Equipment

If you want to convert your tires yourself, you’ll need to follow the same process outlined above. However, you’ll need the right equipment.

The cheapest option is to buy a nitrogen tire inflation kit. Always choose a kit that comes with a regulator. You’ll also need a single-use nitrogen tank. Some suppliers allow you to rent these tanks, making it easier to get them refilled when needed. However, this can be more expensive than going to a tire shop.

Alternatively, you could purchase a nitrogen generator, but the cost of this can be prohibitive for some drivers. However, the advantage of buying a generator is that it won’t need refilling, unlike a single-use tank. Choose a generator with a built-in inflator to make the process easier.

Availability of Nitrogen

Unless you pay out for a nitrogen generator, you’ll need to source a nitrogen tank from somewhere. However, if there aren’t many nitrogen sellers or nitrogen filling stations nearby, this can be tricky. Alternatively, you’ll need to pay an auto shop to refill or top up your tires with nitrogen.

Must Be Topped Up Regularly

Once your tires are converted, they will be filled with up to 95% nitrogen. However, to retain the benefits of using nitrogen, you’ll need to maintain that concentration as much as possible. This means topping up each tire regularly, which can be expensive.

If you’re in a pinch, you can use top up your tires with regular air. However, you will lose some of the benefits because you’re introducing oxygen to the mix. And when you want to refill your tires completely with nitrogen, you’ll need to drain them several times. This is necessary to remove the impurities and moisture introduced by the oxygen.

How Easy is it to Fill Tires with Nitrogen Yourself?

If you’re already using nitrogen, topping up your tires is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is use a nitrogen tank or generator to fill your tires up. This is much easier than changing a tire.

However, changing from regular air to nitrogen is more complicated. You must completely deflate your tires to remove the old air. You’ll then have to inflate and deflate your tires several times with nitrogen. This removes all the moisture and impurities within the tires. You’ll also need to do this if you’ve previously topped up nitrogen tires with regular air.

Initially, it may be easier to purchase a set of tires that are already filled with nitrogen. These tires are sometimes sold as “premium air” tires. These tires typically have green valve stems or green valve stem caps. This gives you a pure nitrogen starting point for your tires.

Photo of a car tire

Where Can You Get Nitrogen for Your Tires?

The easiest place to get nitrogen for your tires is somewhere that sells nitrogen tanks. Welding supply stores are one of the easiest places to find a nitrogen tank. There may also be nitrogen filling stations in your area, although you will have to pay a filling charge.

Alternatively, you can go to a garage or tire shop. Their mechanics can usually fill your tires with nitrogen for you. However, this can be an expensive service, especially if they need to convert your tires from air to nitrogen.

If you have a nitrogen generator, you can produce your own nitrogen. However, this is usually the most expensive option.

How to Check Nitrogen Tire Pressures

To fully reap the benefits of nitrogen-filled tires, you need to maintain consistent tire pressure levels. As such, checking psi levels regularly is crucial. Thankfully, you can check the pressure of nitrogen-filled tires in the same way that you’d check regular air tires.

Simply unscrew the valve caps and use a tire pressure gauge. Ideally, you want to keep the psi levels within the guidelines suggested by your car’s manufacturer. There is no need to remove your tires or hassle with the lugnuts.

Equipment Required for Filling Tires with Nitrogen

If you want to fill your tires with nitrogen at home, you’ll need the correct equipment. If you have the money, a nitrogen generator is the easiest option. Always choose generators with an attached tire inflator. Alternatively, you can use a nitrogen tire inflation kit. If you’re using an inflation kit, you’ll also need a nitrogen tank.

It’s also important to have an accurate tire pressure gauge. This will allow you to keep your tires at the desired pressure, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of using nitrogen in your tires.

How to Fill Your Tires with Nitrogen at Home

Step 1: Check the Recommended Tire Inflation Pressure

Every vehicle has various recommended psi levels for its tires. These psi levels are either geared towards fuel efficiency or comfort. Check your car’s manual or look on the inside of the door frame for the recommended inflation pressure.

Step 2: Assess the Current Pressure of Your Tires

To check the current inflation level of a tire, carefully unscrew the valve stem cap. Then, attach your pressure gauge to the valve. The gauge will tell you the current psi level of the tire. This helps you decide whether the tire needs refilling.

Step 3: Connect Your Source of Nitrogen

If your tire does need topping up, you’ll need a source of nitrogen. You can either use a nitrogen generator or a nitrogen inflation kit and a nitrogen tank. Whatever you use, attach the inflator nozzle to the tire’s valve stem. Always make sure that the nozzle is fully attached to the valve or the nitrogen will leak out.

Step 4: Adjust Your Nitrogen Regulator

Nitrogen inflation kits or nitrogen generators should come with a nitrogen regulator. In nitrogen cylinders, the gas is stored at a high pressure. The regulator allows you to transfer the nitrogen safely into the tire by lowering the pressure. When you’re ready, adjust your regulator to the desired pressure.

Step 5: Fill the Tire With Nitrogen

Activate your generator or inflation kit and fill the tire to the desired pressure.

Step 6: Replace the Valve Cap

Once the tire is sufficiently inflated, switch off your equipment and remove the nozzle from the valve. Then, quickly screw the valve cap on.

Step 7: Check and Fill the Other Tires

Once you’ve filled one tire, repeat steps 2 to 6 with the other three tires.

Step 8: Check Your Tires Regularly to Maintain the Proper Tire Pressure

Nitrogen-filled tires need to be kept at a consistent pressure if you want to enjoy their full benefits. As such, you’ll need to regularly check the pressures of your tires and top them up when needed.

Photo of changing tires

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Buy a Nitrogen Tank to Fill My Tires?

Yes, you can buy a nitrogen tank to fill your car tires. This is usually the most cost-effective approach. You should be able to buy these cylinders at locations like welding supply stores.

Can You Put Air in Nitrogen Tires at Home?

If your tires have low psi levels but you don’t have any nitrogen available, you can top them up with regular air. However, you will lose some of the advantages of using pure nitrogen rather than air. That said, it’s safer and more important to have the correct tire pressures at all times rather than exclusively using nitrogen.

How Much Does it Cost to Fill Tires with Nitrogen?

Filling tires with nitrogen is more expensive than using air. If you go to an auto shop, it costs approximately $30 per tire to convert air tires to nitrogen tires. Nitrogen refills and top-ups typically cost under $10 per tire at an auto shop.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.