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New method of tyre inflation provides retailers with profit stream

Few car drivers regularly check tyre pressures despite the safety implications and negative impact on fuel economy of driving with under-inflated tyres. 

Now a new method of tyre inflation used by the American NASCAR race teams could provide the answer – and provide retailers with a new profit stream and an important way to retain service customers.

Filling tyres with pure nitrogen instead of normal air – which is mostly a combination of oxygen and nitrogen – means better fuel economy, extends tyre life, is safer and more reliable, and improves handling, according to equipment suppliers.

Nitrogen tyre filling machines are widely on sale in America and are used by around 18,000 dealerships and service centres. 

Two suppliers are now looking for distributors in the UK.
Tiresafe, sold under the Castrol brand, and SafeRide sell a range of machines, from portable inflators priced $39.95 (£28.20) to truck generators at $9,600 (£6,771).

According to Tiresafe, dealers charge customers between £40-70 for an initial purge and inflation with five tyres inflated in around six to seven minutes. 

Some dealers then decide to charge for future inflations, others offer free inflations for life as long as the customer returns their car to the dealership every six months. It has a major impact on customer retention.

Nitrogen keeps tyres inflated for four to five times longer than air; it takes up to six months to lose 2psi compared to a month with air. In addition, it is non-explosive, which means no more truck tyre blow-outs. 

Instead the tyre slowly deflates.

“Nitrogen tyre inflation is one of the best customer retention tools you can have in your operation,” said a SafeRide spokesman. 

The US Nitrogen Institute claims that customers can cut fuel bills by almost 6%, which for someone driving 15,000 miles a year in a 35mpg petrol car could mean a saving of £106 a year at today’s fuel prices. Added to this is the 31% increase in tyre life. 

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