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Nitrous Oxide for Vehicle Use: Myth vs. Reality

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On: Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 2:24PM | By: Bill Wilson


Nitrous Oxide for Vehicle Use: Myth vs. Reality

Every driver wants something different from his or her vehicle. Some motorists prize economy above all. Other value looks or status. And, for many car owners, performance is their passion. This is not simply speed, but the ability to accelerate quickly, turn corners sharply, and feel that exhilarating rush that comes from driving a nimble, ultra-responsive ride.

There are many ways to make a vehicle perform better. They range from adding spoilers to installing a more powerful engine. But one of the most effective—and misunderstood—ways is to use nitrous oxide (NOS). Unfortunately, there are a host of misconceptions regarding the benefits and drawbacks of this product. Let's try to separate the facts from the myths about NOS.

NOS is a gas that’s used for many purposes, including sedating nervous dental patients. But its best-known purpose is making vehicles perform better. It does so by increasing the oxygen content of the air flowing into an engine. The more of this vital gas in the cylinders, the more power the transmission will send to the wheels.

The way nitrous enhances vehicle operation is understandable to anyone with a high school-level knowledge of chemistry. But, despite this fact, many people have a less-than-clear understanding of how NOS works. To shed light on the topic, here are some common misconceptions, along with the facts.

Misconception # 1: Nitrous explodes.
Fact: Nitrous is not a explosive. If one were to light a match in a room filled with NOS it would burn for a few moments then extinguish itself. The idea that nitrous “blows up” comes from the fact that it’s used to accelerate controlled detonations in autos, the ones that occur by design every time the engine runs. This is due to the rich oxygen content of NOS, which is much greater than that of the air we breathe. But, while it can make an already volatile gas even more energetic, by itself it will never explode.

Misconception # 2: Nitrous will destroy your car’s engine.
Fact: This can only occur if the nitrous system is improperly installed or used. NOS is sold according to horsepower ratings, each geared to a particular type of engine. If the driver stays within these guidelines, then he or she can use nitrous forever without hurting the engine. It’s when people ignore the manufacturer’s warnings that they harm their vehicles.

Misconception # 3: Nitrous is only for racers.
Fact: As with # 2, this idea has some roots in reality. Highly charged NOS setups can only be used safely with the kind of heavy-duty engines used in racing cars. However, there are plenty of kits that are well-suited to any type of vehicle, even the old VW Beetle.

Misconception # 4: Nitrous is illegal for street cars.
Fact: As this is not a legal forum, the specific laws regarding NOS will not be discussed here. For information on the statutes in your state consult an attorney. However, the claim that nitrous systems are against the law across the board is simply not true.

Hopefully this article has cleared up most of the misunderstandings about using NOS. As with all things, seek the best information available and make up your own mind on how to improve your car’s performance. Good luck and safe driving!




Comments

reply

chasewilson | 12:47PM (Fri, Jul 17, 2015)

Haha, this is awesome! I remember seeing the nitrous oxide in Fast and Furious a few times. There are plenty of other car movies where they have it in their cars, too though. I would love to get a little system installed in my car! Where do I get the parts to throw it in? View Link


reply

chasewilson | 12:48PM (Fri, Jul 17, 2015)

Haha, this is awesome! I remember seeing the nitrous oxide in Fast and Furious a few times. There are plenty of other car movies where they have it in their cars, too though. I would love to get a little system installed in my car! Where do I get the parts to throw it in? View Link



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