Skip to main content

Ford's Explorer Offers the Best AWD SUV Flat Tire Management System Available

Special tires or a spare tire? Which is the best option to deal with a flat tire? Why not both?


Torque News has done its level best to alert readers to the fact that many automakers are stealing the spare from new models. We can debate whether it makes sense to have no spare in a $50K SUV just because it’s electric, or whether any family vehicle should be sold without a spare. The bottom line is that many automakers are no longer supplying spare tires on many models. None of Tesla’s four models come with a spare.

Since the automakers are stealing the spares, companies like Modern Spare have jumped into action to help motorists with a solution. However, packaging is often an issue. Where does the aftermarket spare go? Puncture repair kits sound like a good idea. Until you find yourself on the highway in a winter storm trying to deal with a can sealing gunk that is now as hard as a diamond.

Ford’s Explorer is the ultimate family vehicle. It is one of the original SUVs, and one of the top-selling in history. When we tested the XLT trim this week we noticed on the Monroney sticker that the vehicle was equipped with the Michelin Primacy A/S Selfseal tires. Intrigued, we looked a bit further into how these tires work. Check out our deep dive here.

Had Ford opted to just provide a self-sealing tire, we may or may not have highlighted it in a story. However, Ford didn’t just add the self-sealing tires. Ford also equips the Explorer with a compact spare tire.

It is very rare that we have the opportunity to report on a way that an automaker adds to a vehicle without a trade-off. This is is one such rare moment. Kudos to Ford for keeping the spare tire, and also for adding in a self-sealing tire option to add to this great family vehicle’s safety and convenience.

The Selseal tires add $195 to the cost of the $5K Explorer XLT. We looked up the retail price for the Primacy A/S Selfseal tires and compared the cost to the conventional Primacy tires. We found that the price difference in the size fitted to the Explorer is $55 per tire. So Ford is actually charging less for the upgrade than the retail cost premium.

We have seen some vehicles recently with full-size spares. For example, the Subaru Outback line offers one in a couple of trims as does the Ford Bronco Sport. However, a full-size spare is not the best solution for all owners. Unless it is rotated into the mix it is still not a permanent solution for vehicles with AWD systems. Here's why.

The Explorer XLT was super smooth and quiet on the Primacy SelfSeal tires. We suspect that the inner sealing layer adds to the vehicle’s noise abatement and improves its ride quality. We give both the Explorer and the Michelin Selfseal tire technology two thumbs up.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

Re-Publication. If you wish to re-use this content, please contact Torque News for terms and conditions.