Self-sealing tires aren't an entirely new thing. In fact, they've come and gone since the 1980's. Now, it seems it's set for another comeback, and Ford could be the key to that. For the Explorer, Ford will be fitting these special tires as standard on select variants. This means Ford is the first automaker to offer it to customers, rather than as an aftermarket upgrade.
The tire that will be fitted to the 2020 Ford Explorer will be from Michelin. It will be installed on the Explorer Platinum and Explorer Limited Hybrid with all-wheel drive right from the factory. If you don't go for those variants, these tires are optional on Explorer Limited front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive models.
According to Ford, the Michelin Selfseal tires on the Explorer can seal 90 percent of tread punctures up to a quarter-inch in diameter which roughly equates to 6.35 millimeters. If debris (usually a nail or screw) punctures a Selfseal tire and remains in place, the sealant surrounds the object to help seal the puncture and avoid air loss. If the object punctures the tire and comes back out, the tire's rubber sealant will fill in the puncture (or punctures) and dramatically slow the rate at which air leaks.
That being said, it doesn't totally negate the need for a spare tire as it merely slows down deflation, should the debris be pulled out. For peace of mind, the American automaker will still fit all 2020 Explorers with a spare tire. Ford says fitting these on the Explorer has three main benefits. The self-sealing tires can avoid dangerous side-of-the-road stops, loss of vehicle control, as well as time delays due to vulcanizing or changing the wheel.