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Nitrous oxide, also known as “nitrous,” is a chemical compound that is commonly used as a performance-enhancing substance in the automotive world. When injected into the intake manifold of an internal combustion engine, nitrous can significantly increase horsepower and torque, but leave your engine with more wear and tear than you want for your vehicle. Most drivers who want increased vehicle performance opt for a less abrasive alternative, the performance chip. Let’s explore what nitrous oxide, or Nitro, exactly does to your engine.

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What Is Nitro or Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is composed of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and it is commonly referred to as “laughing gas” due to the euphoric effects it can produce when inhaled. In the automotive world, nitrous is used as an oxidizer, which means it helps to increase the oxygen content in the air/fuel mixture that is fed into the engine. The increased oxygen allows the engine to burn more fuel, which results in a significant increase in horsepower and torque.

How Is Nitrous Injected into Engines?

There are two primary ways to inject nitrous into an engine: wet and dry. Wet nitrous systems inject both nitrous oxide and additional fuel into the intake manifold, while dry nitrous systems only inject nitrous oxide. Wet nitrous systems are generally more powerful and easier to tune, but they also require a larger nitrous bottle and more plumbing, which can make them more expensive to install. Dry nitrous systems, on the other hand, are simpler and less expensive to install, but they also tend to be less powerful and more difficult to tune.

Nitrous oxide injection systems typically come with a control box that allows the user to adjust the amount of nitrous being injected into the engine. The control box is usually equipped with a progressive controller, which gradually increases the amount of nitrous being injected as the vehicle’s speed increases. This helps to prevent the engine from being overloaded with too much nitrous at low speeds.

What Does Nitrous Do to Your Engine?

So, what happens to an engine when nitrous is injected? When nitrous is introduced into the intake manifold, it rapidly expands and cools the incoming air, which can help to prevent engine knock and pre-ignition. The increased oxygen content of the air/fuel mixture also allows the engine to burn more fuel, which results in a significant increase in horsepower and torque. Nitrous can also help to improve the overall efficiency of an engine by reducing pumping losses and increasing the volumetric efficiency of the cylinders.

However, it’s important to note that nitrous oxide injection can also be very dangerous if not used properly. Nitrous can significantly increase the load on an engine, and if the engine is not built to handle the additional power, it can fail catastrophically. Nitrous can also be very hard on drivetrain components, such as axles, differentials, and transmissions, so it’s important to upgrade these components if you plan on using nitrous extensively.

Performance Chips vs. Nitrous Injection

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Overall nitrous oxide injection into your engine can damage the engine very quickly. We’ve all seen the famous movies where racers use Nitro to boost themselves ahead of the other guy, but we’ve also seen their engines nearly explode from the pressure. Even though they’re Hollywood films they give a pretty accurate picture of how fast nitrous can lead to car trouble. Consider a less aggressive option that increases your engine’s performance and enhances your driving experience – A performance chip from Chip Your Car! They’re available for most makes and models, so shop for one today!