In previous articles, we’ve discussed various applications for nitrogen inertion, from race cars to commercial airliners to the space shuttle. Today, we turn our attention to golf cart tires.
As you may be aware, golf carts are not just for golfers any more. The versatile vehicles are also popular among farmers and ranchers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts, beachgoers, and just about anyone who enjoys an economical, convenient way to travel neighborhood paths and streets. Just like cars and trucks, golf carts use rubber tires that are typically inflated with air, and we recommend nitrogen inertion for golf cart tires, too.
Surprised? Thinking that might verge on overkill? After all, golf carts are not typically used (or approved) for highway travel. The tires are smaller and the recommended inflation pressures are lower, compared with cars and trucks—and they certainly are not in the same category with aircraft or race cars. They operate at slower speeds and carry less weight. So, can it really matter that much whether the tires are filled with air or inerted with nitrogen?
Yes, because the fundamental mechanics are the same. Rubber tires filled with air are subject to pressure loss, oxidative deterioration, and fluctuating pressure due to changes in temperature. This is true whether the tires are on a golf cart or an SUV. Therefore, the same benefits you get from inerting your car tires with nitrogen are available for your golf cart, as well.
In fact, there may be even more incremental benefit for golf cart tires. Studies have indicated that a tire inflated with air can lose up to one psi (pound/square inch) of inflation pressure per month. The typical recommended pressure for passenger vehicle tires is 30-35 psi, which means a loss of one psi represents about 3%. On a golf cart, typical recommended tire pressure is 15-20 psi, so a loss of one psi represents up to 7%. We know that tires inerted with nitrogen lose pressure at a much slower rate, so inerting your golf cart tires will help maintain proper pressure which, in turn, yields all the same benefits you see with your car or truck: better handling, increased safety, and prolonged tire life.
Golf cart tires are essentially scaled-down vehicle tires. Many are tubeless, and they come in a mind-boggling variety of tread patterns. Still, they are made of rubber and are subject to the same environmental factors and aging forces that affect car tires, including exposure to oxygen in the compressed air used to inflate them. Inerting them with nitrogen instead, removes oxygen from the equation and contributes to longer life.
We know your golf cart is not an airplane. But treat the tires like airplane tires and they will take you farther and last longer.