Nitrogen-inflated tires: CAA-Quebec gauges the situation

    QUEBEC, Nov. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - At this time of year when winter tires are
a hot topic, CAA-Quebec's Automotive Advisory Services are sought after by a
growing number of drivers who want more information on the characteristics of
nitrogen gas, particularly regarding its ability to enable greater tire
    Nitrogen is indeed helpful in maintaining correct tire pressure, which,
in turn, ensures adequate road grip and better gas mileage. However, despite
these advantages, the standard practice of inflating tires with air remains
perfectly adequate. Provided they undergo regular and correctly executed
pressure checks, air-filled tires will yield performance comparable to
nitrogen-inflated tires where gas consumption and pressure maintenance are

    We're all involved ...

    According to a survey carried out by the Rubber Association of Canada,
more than 23% of vehicles currently on the road in Canada travel with at least
one tire that is underinflated by 20% or more. "Every driver should be aware
of the dangers associated with underinflated tires-longer braking distance,
lack of stability, premature tire erosion, even a higher risk of tire
blowout," says Sophie Gagnon, Director of Public and Government Affairs for
CAA-Quebec. "Motorists must also keep in mind that, for each drop in
temperature of 6degreesC in relation to the temperature at which a tire was
inflated, the tire pressure correspondingly drops by one pound-which is why
it's so important to be extra-vigilant in winter. So, whether one opts for
nitrogen or the more standard air inflation, prudence is vital, all the more
so since the effect of extreme temperature variations on nitrogen-filled tires
is still relatively unknown in Quebec."

    ... but at what price?

    On average, nitrogen inflation costs $3 to $5 per tire. For optimal
pressure, the inside of the tire must register a nitrogen concentration of 95%
or more. How can you be sure? "Nitrogen levels can be measured with a
specially designed tool. Doing business with a conscientious garage mechanic
who has experience using the required tools, both to inflate the tire with
nitrogen and get a proper reading of the nitrogen concentration once the tire
is filled, is your guarantee of quality," Ms. Gagnon points out.
    Since they are somewhat larger than oxygen molecules, nitrogen molecules
are less likely to permeate (or migrate through) the solid tire wall. Because
of this, nitrogen-inflated tires are less likely to lose pressure-an important
consideration, particularly for low-profile tires. Nitrogen also minimizes
humidity levels in a tire, which helps safeguard tires from premature wear and
is useful for vehicles equipped with a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
Lastly, it is interesting to note that the trucking and aviation industries
have been using nitrogen advantageously for many years, notably to minimize
the risk of tire explosion due to overheating.

    CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides
automotive, travel, residential and financial services, benefits and
privileges to its approximately 920,000 members.

For further information:

For further information: Montreal: Claudia Martin, (514) 861-7111 ext.
3210,; Quebec: Philippe St-Pierre, (418) 624-2424 ext.

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