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Problems With Firestone Tires on a Ford Explorer

Ford used Firestone as the tire provider for its Explorer since the Explorer debuted in 1991. In 2000, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Ford and Firestone and expressed concern that the rollover rate in Explorers fitted with Firestone tires was high. Investigation subsequently disclosed that both Ford and Firestone had prior knowledge of these issues but chose not to disclose the problems.

Tread Separation

One documented cause of the high incidence of rollovers was that the treads of the Firestone tires separated. Tread separation is when the tire's tread peels off, causing the tire to fall apart. If the Ford Explorer is driving at a high rate of speed, tread separation can be enough to cause the vehicle to flip or roll over. Rollovers can cause injury or even death.

Explorer Problems

Firestone quickly blamed the design of the Ford Explorer as the main reason for the many rollovers. The Explorer was found to have a problem in the design of its rear suspension, as well as a roof that was not as reinforced or strong as those of its competitors. Ford disputed this by showing that Explorers equipped with other tires, specifically Goodyear, did not have the same issues. However, this information may be inaccurate because the Goodyear tires had an extra tread liner added before being installed on the Explorer.


If you have a Ford Explorer that has Firestone tires, it is under a recall. The recall allows for your tires to be replaced at no cost to you. In 2001, Ford and Firestone decided that they would no longer work together, severing a relationship of over 100 years.
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