Can you put air in nitrogen tires?

By blackcircles Canada | Monday 28 June 2021 | BlogTips and guides

If you are driving a vehicle with nitrogen-filled tires, you might be wondering if you can put air in them. The short answer is: you can. There is a common misconception that if you have nitrogen-filled tires, you can only fill those tires – even if you have a slow leak or a small puncture – with nitrogen, and if you add air you will experience problems. You are likely wondering: is this true or not?

Can you add air to your nitrogen tires?

The truth is, despite what you may have read online, that you can add air to your nitrogen-filled tires, but you may experience very minor changes to your tire performance in terms of fuel efficiency and/or tire inflation. Should this stop you from adding air if you need to get somewhere safely and your tire pressure is low? No. If it comes to the issue of safety or that you cannot get to a repair shop because your nitrogen-filled tires are low and you are concerned about tire pressure, then it is perfectly fine to top up your nitrogen-filled tires with air.

Tire purists who have nitrogen-filled tires generally choose this method of tire inflation because:

  1. They have purchased a new vehicle and the tires came pre-filled with nitrogen.
  2. They are very interested to see if nitrogen-filled tires increase fuel efficiency and help maintain tire pressure levels longer than air.
Close-up of a pump filling a tire with air

However, continually adding air to nitrogen-filled tires does mean that you are diluting the positive effects of the nitrogen. While the two gases can mix inside the tire without any danger, it’s then worth noting that some of the better effects that you may have achieved with nitrogen-filled tires may be moot.

Nitrogen-filled tires meet certain performance standards

If you are a person that feels nitrogen-filled tires add to the overall performance of your tires and your vehicle, then it’s best – if you have added air to a nitrogen tire – to have this tire drained of the mixed gases and then refilled with pure nitrogen. Of course, this needs to be done at a facility that can perform this service, such as a dealership or auto shop, because nitrogen is stored in tanks under pressure and needs to be handled by a registered technician.

So can I add air to my nitrogen-filled tires?

So, despite what you may have read or heard, while it is not the most ideal situation, you can add air to nitrogen tires and not be concerned about safety. However, if you want to continue to receive the perceived and often proven high benefits of driving with nitrogen-filled tires, then it is likely a better choice – although more expensive – to continue to fill your tires with nitrogen.

If you have any questions at all about nitrogen-filled tires, or are looking at purchasing a certain kind of tire and wonder if they are more suitable for nitrogen or air, then it’s best to reach out to a tire sales expert like the team at blackcircles Canada.


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