The 2020 Ford Explorer fights flat tires with self-sealing tech from Michelin

2020 Ford Explorer hybridA flat tire can ruin your day, leaving you stuck on the side of the road or thumbing through ancient magazines in the waiting area of a tire shop. To help prevent that, the 2020 Ford Explorer will be available with Michelin Selfseal tires, which can keep a car on the road even after they have been punctured.

Ford claims the 2020 Explorer is the first SUV in the world to be sold with these tires, although similar ones were previously fitted to the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car. The tires are lined with a natural rubber sealant that conforms to punctures to slow the rate of air leaks. It’s not a permanent fix; drivers still need to get their tires repaired or replaced if a puncture occurs. But the self-sealing feature means that won’t have to be done immediately in many situations, according to Ford.

The tires are designed to deal with nail or screw punctures to the tread, so the self-sealing feature may not be effective with other types of tire damage. If a nail or screw remains embedded in the tread, the rubber liner seals around the object to stem air loss. If the object comes out, the tire can still deal with 90 percent of tread punctures up to a quarter of an inch in diameter. Some air may still leak out but at a very slow rate of under 15 pounds per square inch per week. All figures are based on internal Michelin testing data supplied by Ford.

The Michelin Selfseal tires will only be available on higher-level versions of the 2020 Explorer. They will be standard on the all-wheel drive Explorer Platinum Explorer Hybrid Limited trim levels. The tires will also be available as an optional extra on the non-hybrid Explorer Limited, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Scheduled to go on sale this summer, the 2020 Ford Explorer is completely redesigned inside and out. It’s based on a new rear-wheel drive platform (as opposed to the old front-wheel drive layout) that Ford claims will improve performance both on-road and off-road. In addition to the hybrid model — a first for the Explorer — Ford will also launch an ST performance version with a 400 horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. The Explorer also gets lots of new tech, headlined by an available 10.1-inch portrait touchscreen.

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