- The new Ford Explorer can be outfitted with a set of Michelin Selfseal tires.
- The tires can handle nail-and-screw-type punctures by using an embedded rubber compound to patch holes on the fly.
- The tires will be standard on several trim levels of the 2020 Ford Explorer.
You might have heard of "run flat" tires that can continue rolling for a short period of time after being damaged, giving drivers the chance to avoid immediately pulling over to change the tire or make a repair.
But Ford and Michelin are taking things farther with Selfseal tires, available on the new Ford Explorer SUV.
According to Ford, the tires can handle 90% of punctures that are up to a quarter-inch in diameter. Michelin’s technology uses a rubber sealant in the tire to fill holes if, say, a nail pierces the tires and falls out. If the same nail stays in the tire, the sealant surrounds the puncture.
The sealant doesn’t necessarily prevent the tire from leaking air, but it does slow the place of the leak to 15 pounds per square inch per week. Michelin introduced the technology in 2011.
"Nothing derails a family vacation like a flat tire," Ford engineer Joseph Billman said in a statement. "Explorer is the ultimate road trip family hauler – and it’s the perfect fit for these new Michelin Selfseal tires."
The tires are standard on the four-wheel-drive Explorer Platinum and Limited hybrid trims levels; they’re optional on the four- and two-wheel drive Limited trims.
In addition to speeding up trips when there’s a mishap, Ford also said that the new tires enable motorist to avoid dangerous stops to make a change, as well as loss of vehicle control in the event of a flat.
Changing a tire can be an arduous undertaking, involving a jack that has to be assembled and a temporary spare that could have been neglected for the life of the vehicle. Many older motorists have a story about changing a flat by the roadside at night in the rain.
Run-flat tires alleviated some of that pain. Now Ford and Michelin’s tie-up with the Explorer essentially promises to relieve Explorer drivers of flat-tire worry without having to shop for self-sealing tires on their own.
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