The use of nitrous oxide has been around for many years. In fact, it has been used since WWII. Used primarily for enhancing aircraft speed and altitude capabilities, nitrous oxide and its application was considered confidential information. It wouldn’t be until the 70’s when a couple of racers were able to really perfect its use in automobiles after many years of car enthusiast and racer’s failed experimenting. Thus came the birth of the company many of us are familiar with, NOS (Nitrous Oxide Systems). This article will show you the benefits of installing a NOS system in your vehicle and other useful information for your build.

nitrous oxide control panel

How Do Nitrous Oxide Systems Work?

During the first few years of development, a lot of effort was used to show that using nitrous oxide was a safe way to improve performance. This lead to the creation and sale of easily installed nitrous oxide systems which became sought after in the 1980’s and continues to be a go to for extra power today.

Nitrous works in a similar way to sodium chlorate. Nitrous gives you a way to store oxygen which is only released through heating. When nitrous oxide is heated to about 570 degrees Fahrenheit, the nitrogen and oxygen splits into separate parts. Thus, when you push nitrous oxide into your engine, there is more oxygen accessible to burn fuel during combustion. The more fuel you can burn, the more power you gain.

Nitrous gives you a very simple and effective way to boost your horsepower significantly. However, there is another effective benefit that you gain by using a nitrous oxide system. When nitrous becomes vapor, is delivers a substantial cooling effect on the air coming in. Cooler intake air is denser and allows you to push even more air into the cylinder.

Stock cars can only go as fast as its internal components allow it. Installing a Nitrous system can give you more speed and power to enhance your performance by pushing more air and allowing you to burn more fuel.

General Specifications

  • Odorless and colorless.
  • Non-flammable: On its own, nitrous oxide is not flammable. However, the oxygen in it causes combustion of fuel in an engine to happen more rapidly.
  • Will eliminate lag when used in combination with a turbo or supercharger.
  • Use at wide open throttle: Because of the tremendous increase in torque, best results can be achieved if you activate it early off the line when racing.
  • Necessary to retard your ignition timing by a few degrees.
  • Higher flowing fuel pump, higher fuel octane, and better spark plugs may be needed in many applications.
  • Comprised of 2 parts nitrogen and one part oxygen.
  • As a general rule – for every 10 degrees reduced in the air intake temperature, you gain a 1% increase in power.

PROs and CONs of Nitrous Oxide Systems Tuning

PROs

  • Extreme power boost without the need to reach excessive rpms.
  • Economical: One of the most inexpensive ways to gain performance.
  • Virtually every stock engine can find a kit to fit their vehicle.
  • Easy to install.
  • Safe when properly installed.
  • You can get extra style points by decorating your bottle to match your ride or give it more character.
  • Controllers are available for many kits that allow you to bank your system.

CONs

  • Bulky: The engine needs a fair amount of nitrous to work effectively. Like any other gas, even when compressed into liquid form, it takes up quite a bit of space. This is why cars carry only a few minutes’ worth and only use it when needed.
  • Some upgrades to internal components may be necessary especially if it is being used for racing.
  • Higher octane fuel may be needed for some applications increasing the cost to use nitrous oxide on your vehicle.
  • Has to be refilled once empty.
  • Misuse or improper installation can cause severe engine damage.

Examples of Nitrous Oxide System Parts

Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS)

This brand is the granddaddy of nitrous oxide systems. They can claim fame to its popularity and they are still the top trusted name in the industry. Today you can still find it under the hood of most racing cars.
They are known for quality at a decent price. And reviewers still put their trust in NOS. They have a huge variety of kits available for virtually every stock and non-stock application.
Their kits range from street easy to full race and boast horsepower gains of up to 500. They even have a hide-away kit when you want your NOS inconspicuous.

ZEX Nitrous Oxide Systems

Another leader in the market is ZEX. Known for their purple bottle, they constantly have research and development working to continue to increase the safety and performance of nitrous oxide applications. They also offer upgraded components such as spark plugs and controllers, which are compatible with their nitrous kits.
People enjoy being able to get all the necessary parts in one stop. Reviewers also comment positively on the easy install and terrific gain in power. And don’t forget that flashy purple bottle everyone seems to love.

NX Nitrous Express

Nitrous Express may not be as well-known as our first two, but customers trust them nonetheless. This company is very customer service based and many who patronize them continue to do so because of this. They are also said to have great quality nitrous oxide systems that look clean and impressive under the hood. Nitrous Express is also always improving upon and developing new systems with a focus on safety and performance.

super fast car on the road

Conclusion

For some, the price and hassle of implementing supercharger or turbocharger is just too much. Thus, they look to a quick power boost through the use of a nitrous oxide system. Others install a nitrous oxide system to improve upon their turbo or supercharger because it eliminates the low rpm lag they inherently come with. Whatever your application, if you want a thrill that will not break your wallet, a nitrous oxide system may be the right choice for you.

How much performance increase have you gained by using nitrous oxide? Do you prefer a nitrous oxide system over a turbo or supercharger? Leave us with your thoughts, questions, and experiences.

Images from depositphotos.com.

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