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Why Does Costco Use Nitrogen in Tires?

Why Does Costco Use Nitrogen in Tires

Costco chooses to inflate customer tires with nitrogen rather than compressed air because nitrogen is better at retaining tire pressure over time. This increases tire life as well as fuel economy, which are just a few of the many benefits nitrogen filled tires have to offer.

Using nitrogen in tires also reduces the amount of maintenance Costco will be having to do on tires for their customers, which is a smart business move.

In this article we will take a deeper look at the added benefits of nitrogen, along with the price and process of getting nitrogen for your tires from any Costco near you.

What is Nitrogen?

Nitrogen gas is an industrial gas. It’s appearance is both colorless and odorless. It is produced by the fractional distillation of liquid air, or by mechanical means of using gaseous air.

The major source of nitrogen is the atmosphere. Without it, plants, animals, and humans would not be able to live.

In laymen’s terms, nitrogen is a gas that provides many practical uses in everyday applications. Nitrogen can be found in incandescent light bulbs, is used in the manufacturing process of steel, in some aircraft fuel systems to reduce fire hazards, and is even used to inflate car and aircraft tires.

Benefits of Using Nitrogen in Tires

Nitrogen, being more expensive than traditional compressed air, has many benefits. Some of these benefits include improved steering/handling of your car, better braking, increased gas mileage, reduced tire noise, and since nitrogen molecules are larger than that of air, it is less likely to leak out.

Tire Will Stay Full Longer

Due to the more dense nature of nitrogen, the particles are less likely to leak out of your tire. This will generally lead to less tire maintenance than if you were to fill your tires with traditional compressed air.

Improved Handling

Nitrogen will significantly improve the handling or steering of your vehicle. This is mainly due to nitrogen’s dense nature. It is more dense than air which will aid in the stability and grip of your tires.

Increased Gas Mileage

Since your tires will stay at the recommended psi level much longer, you can also expect your gas mileage to increase. When your tires are properly inflated, you can expect your vehicle’s gas mileage to improve by up to about 3.3%.

Improved Braking

When your tires are at their recommended air pressure levels, your car will be able to brake at maximum efficiency. A tire that is not properly inflated, or that is very worn out, will take a longer distance to stop.

Reduced Tire Noise

Since nitrogen is more dense than air, this means that there will be less gaps between your tire and rim. This is especially helpful when you are driving at highway speeds. The faster a car travels, the louder the tires will be.

What Are the Disadvantages of Nitrogen Filled Tires?

Although nitrogen has many benefits, there are also a few disadvantages.

Higher Cost than Compressed Air

You can expect to pay anywhere between $10-$30 per existing tire for service to drain or refill a tire with nitrogen. This is a hefty price considering you can get compressed air for practically free from your local gas station.

Nitrogen Is Not Available in All Locations

As we mentioned earlier, compressed air can be found at just about every gas station and tire shop in your area. This is not the case with nitrogen.

In order to have your tires filled or topped off with nitrogen, you will need to either find a dealership or tire shop that has nitrogen readily available for customers.

Does Costco Fill Nitrogen Tires for Free?

There is no cost associated with filling your tires with nitrogen at Costco. The caveat is that you must have a Costco membership to take advantage of this perk. Although a Costco membership isn’t free, it’s an added bonus that not many members take advantage of.

Since it costs roughly $10 per tire for nitrogen, filling up at Costco can save you money since you are already using your membership to shop for groceries.

How Do I Add Nitrogen to My Tires at Costco?

Costco makes it very easy for their members to fill or top off their tires with nitrogen. Their warehouse actually has nitrogen tire refill stations in the parking lots.

They are easily visible and stand out since they are bright green. Find an empty spot and pull your car up to one of the tanks.

These nitrogen tanks are free to use as long as you are a Costco member. Simply follow the instructions on the nitrogen tanks to quickly and safely fill your tires with nitrogen.

Is It Worth Getting Nitrogen in Your Tires?

Nitrogen is definitely worth the cost if you are looking to increase your mpg, and improve your car’s overall handling and braking.

On top of the performance enhancements to your vehicle, you will also find yourself needing to top off your tires less often.

If you have a Costco membership, then filling up your car’s tires with nitrogen is a no brainer.

Can I Mix Nitrogen and Air in Tires?

You can mix air and nitrogen in your tires however, you will lose many of the benefits associated with filling a tire completely with nitrogen.

It’s always better to mix your nitrogen filled tires with compressed air than to have a tire that is low. You can always have your tires deflated and refilled with pure nitrogen at a later time.

Final Thoughts

Costco has nitrogen readily available for all their customers. They even install tires on customer vehicles with nitrogen.

Nitrogen is a great way to enhance the life of your tires as well as improve the drivability and performance of your car.

All Costco warehouses are equipped with on-site nitrogen tanks in the parking lots for their customers. If you have a membership, filling up with nitrogen is free with no additional costs!

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