NitroFill is a dealership exclusive Nitrogen refill tire program often tacked on as a new car purchase add-on
Shopping for a new car, you might come across a NitroFill add-on tacked on the total price of your new car purchase. NitroFill uses their exclusive Nitrogen generators to fill up and top-off tires with at least 95 percent Nitrogen that’s supposed to increase fuel savings, reduce tire wear and decrease rolling resistance compared to regular air-filled tires. But, is this additional add-on really worth the price?
What makes NitroFill different from other nitrogen tire filling services?
According to NitroFill’s LinkedIn, NitroFill is based out of Pompano Beach, Florida they’re a “Manufacturer and provider of benefit-based customer retention programs in the automotive service segment.”
Nitrofill has different levels of membership services available depending on what amount of roadside coverage you choose. Here’s a snapshot of their membership benefits above and beyond a simple nitrogen fill.
Worth reading the terms and conditions.
NitroFill is transparent with their services and what they’ll provide but, before you sign your new-car purchase or renew your membership, you agree to their terms and conditions. A sample T&C sheet is found here.
Like most additional membership services, there is a third party you have to deal with in order to get any benefit. For example, Auto Knight Motor Club will handle your 24-Hour emergency tow service and only provides a free tow up to 15-miles or $100 worth of charge. Anything above that, you pay for at full price.
For their total tire repair/replacement reimbursement, you’ll be dealing with Vehicle Safety Solutions, LLC. In the T&C’s, it says VSS will provide you with up to $200 for a new tire should you damage your tire and it’s not serviceable. Whether you think a patch job will repair a damaged tire is totally up to them based on the evidence you provide.
Benefits are, of course, contingent on you returning to your dealership for scheduled tire rotations and/or maintenance at 5,000 or 7,500 miles. It’s safe to say any tire damage or service claims will be void if you skip a tire rotation or do it yourself.
A lot of hassle and money for very little benefit.
Additional benefits aside, Nitrogen filled tires are supposed to save you money at the pump because of less rolling resistance, increase tire life and, at some level, improve handling and safety.
Fuel savings come from your tires keeping their proper inflation longer than compared to regular air. But, when Consumer Reports did an independent test, filling one tire with air and the other with nitrogen, they found,
Both tires lost pressure over that time, but the difference in loss was minimal. The average loss of air-filled tires was just 3.5 psi from the initial 30 psi setting. Nitrogen-filled tires lost an average of 2.2 psi.
If unchecked, Nitrogen tires still lose air.
Furthermore, C.R. cites an NHTSA study on Nitrogen and rolling resistance, quoting,
NHTSA also found that “inflating with nitrogen in place of air had little or no direct effect on tire rolling resistance performance.”
The primary cause of increased rolling resistance in tires is underinflation, easily remedied by making sure your tires are inflated at their correct pressure, regardless if it’s filed with regular air or Nitrogen.
Legit race teams like Formula 1 and NASCAR do use Nitrogen (dry Nitrogen) to fill their tires for a competitive edge. Nitrogen is mostly void of moisture. A race tire, under race conditions, heats up the moisture found in regular air enough that it would change the effective spring rate and stagger of said tire. A larger tire with more or less spring rate changes how a car handles.
In regular car tires, the performance and handling benefits of nitrogen air compared to regular are are negligible. Unless you’re taking your Toyota Camry to Laguna Seca, you won’t notice a performance benefit.
Finally, fill-ups and refills of Nitrofill Nitrogen-filled tires can only be done at Nitrofill dealers. Here’s a map of Nitrofill dealers in the Bay Area, Calif. Only 2!
If you want a Nitrogen top-off and live far from a NitroFill dealer, you have to drive to one.
How to deal with a NitroFill add-on buying a new car.
If you like all the NitroFill benefits and don’t mind the charge on the window sticker, congrats! Read your T&Cs to see for how long you’re signed up for and know benefits are contingent on dealership tire rotations.
Here’s what a NitroFill add-on looks like on a quote (the whole reason I wrote this blog post.)
That $299 price is most likely one of their service levels of Bronze, Silver or Gold.
Here’s the thing. The Nitrogen is, most likely, already in the tires of the car they’re quoting. They won’t remove the Nitrogen but, if you don’t want an expensive membership package, you probably can just pay for the NitroFill Nitrogen for around $50 total.
If you successfully remove the NitroFill add-on but want to experiment with Nitrogen-filled tires, Google around your area for Nitrogen tire services. Places like Big-O tires and Costco typically have a nitrogen tire-filling service.