The 2020 Ford Explorer Platinum will come standard with self-healing tires
The 2020 Ford Explorer will be fitted standard with special tires that can seal themselves in the event of a puncture, the automaker revealed mid-March.
The tires are made by Michelin, but aren’t necessarily a new product.
They were initially developed for the Chevrolet Bolt, but now Ford is announcing it will use them, too, on the newest generation of its Explorer SUV.
This will be the first time these tires will be put on an SUV as standard equipment, for the Platinum and Limited Hybrid four-wheel-drive models.
This all sounds very futuristic, but the concept is actually quite simple as to how the tire repairs itself.
The tires are internally lined with an eco-friendly rubber sealant which flows into and plugs the puncture quickly; in testing, it’s been shown to seal up to 90 percent of punctures up to a quarter-inch in diameter (about 6 mm).
The tires should reduce the need to pull over by the side of the road, which can be dangerous or downright impossible depending on the conditions.
The Explorer does come with a spare wheel, however, in the result the puncture is too large for the self-sealing rubber to handle. Tire pressure monitors can detect a drop in the air pressure, signalling a leak. Sidewall punctures still can’t be fixed on the fly.
This is good news for the police, as the vehicle will be used by various law enforcement jurisdictions as an interceptor vehicle, a role where tire punctures would spell the end of a chase.