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The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Ford Explorer

The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Ford Explorer

We’ve written extensively about the Ford Explorer and numerous questions you can have about this car. Today, we will talk about the information you need to have to select the correct new tires or rims for your Explorer. Specifically, we’ll take a look at the bolt pattern for each generation. Let’s start with a quick answer:

All generations of the Ford Explorer have a bolt pattern of 5×4.5 inches (114.3mm).

Ford Explorer made from 2020 onwards have a center bore of 2.77 inches (70.3mm) and five lug nuts with a thread size of M14 x 1.5 that need to be tightened with 150lb-ft (204Nm) of force.

Explorers made between 2012 – 2019 have a center bore of 2.49 inches (63.4mm) and five lug nuts with a thread size of M12 x 1.5 that need to be tightened with 100lb-ft (135Nm) of force.

Explorers made between 1992 – 2010 have a center bore of 2.78 inches (70.5mm) and five lug nuts with a thread size of M12 x 1.5 that need to be tightened with 100lb-ft (135Nm) of force.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ve outlined the bolt pattern in more detail for each generation. We also discuss what lugs/bolts are used precisely, the exact diameter of the center bore hub, and the torque specifications of the bolts. Finally, we also have information about each engine type’s exact tire size and rim size. You should know precisely what you can and cannot buy this way. Read on!

Wheel Fitment Specifications Per Generation

To fit a wheel properly on your Explorer, you’ll need to know more aspects than just the bolt pattern. Below we’ve outlined all the factors you should be aware of for each generation of the Explorer. These include: center bore diameter, wheel tightening torque, whether lug nuts or bolts are used, and the thread size of the bolts.

We also want to clarify that the below-listed specifications are the same for all models within that generation. The Explorer, of course, comes in different trim levels and engine options. However, these bolt patterns, lugs used, and torque specifications do not change for other models within a generation.

Furthermore, we also listed the exact tire and rim size used with each engine option to give you a precise idea of what tires you can and cannot buy.

1990 – 1992

  • Ford Explorer with a 4.0L V6 engine has a standard tire size of 225/70R15 or 235/75R15 and a standard rim size of 7Jx15 ET30.

1993 – 1994

  • Ford Explorer with a 4.0L V6 engine has a standard tire size of 225/70R15 or 235/75R15 and a standard rim size of 7Jx15 ET30.

1995 – 2001

  • Ford Explorer with a 4.0i V6 or 5.0i V8 engine has a standard tire size of 225/70R15 or 235/75R15 and a standard rim size of 7Jx15 ET12.

2002 – 2005

  • Ford Explorer with a 4.0i V6 or 4.6i V8 engine has a standard tire size of 235/70R16, 235/70R16, or 245/65R17 and a standard rim size of 6.5Jx16 ET47, 7Jx16 ET44, or 7.5Jx17 ET44.

2006 – 2010

  • Ford Explorer with a 4.0i V6 or 4.6i V8 engine has a standard tire size of 235/70R16, 235/70R16, 245/65R17, or 235/65R18 and a standard rim size of 6.5Jx16 ET47, 7Jx16 ET44, 7.5Jx17 ET44, or 7.5Jx18 ET44.

2011 – 2015

  • Ford Explorer with a 2.0 EcoBoost I4  or 3.5Ti V6 engine has a standard tire size of 245/65R17, 245/60R18, or 255/50R20 and a standard rim size of 7.5Jx17 ET44, 8Jx18 ET44, or 8.5Jx20 ET44.

2016 – 2017

  • Ford Explorer with a 2.3 EcoBoost I4 or 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engine has a standard tire size of 255/50R20 and a standard rim size of 8.5Jx20 ET44.
  • Ford Explorer with a 3.5Ti V6 engine has a standard tire size of 245/60R18 or 255/50R20 and a standard rim size of 8Jx18 ET44 or 8.5Jx20 ET44.

2018 – 2019

  • Ford Explorer with a 2.3 EcoBoost I4 or 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engine has a standard tire size of 255/50R20 and a standard rim size of 8.5Jx20 ET44.
  • Ford Explorer with a 3.5Ti V6 engine has a standard tire size of 245/60R18 or 255/50R20 and a standard rim size of 8Jx18 ET44 or 8.5Jx20 ET44.

2020 – 2022

  • Ford Explorer with a 2.3 EcoBoost I4 engine has a standard tire size of 255/65R18 or 255/55R20 and a standard rim size of 7.5Jx18 ET37.5 or 8Jx20 ET37.5.
  • Ford Explorer with a 3.0 EcoBoost V6 (365hp) or 3.3H V6 engine has a standard tire size of 255/55R20 and a standard rim size of 8Jx20 ET37.5.
  • Ford Explorer with a 3.0 EcoBoost V6 (400hp) engine has a standard tire size of 255/55R20 and a standard rim size of 8.5Jx20 ET40.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Ford Explorer Takes (Explained)

Retightening The Bolts

As said before, most generations of the Explorer that we discussed have five lug nuts. These need to be secured in a specific way when you mount the wheel to the car again. This information is stated in the owner’s manual, but we’ve gone through the effort of instructing you here. Ford advises you to bolt these nuts in the way that’s shown below. You have to follow a crisscross pattern.

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five-bolt pattern

You do this by tightening all the nuts with a wheel wrench first. I like this wrench on Amazon in particular because it fits all bolt sizes for cars and trucks and is quite affordable. Please make sure only to tighten them halfway; otherwise, you’ll run into problems.

In the second round, you tighten them with the wheel wrench to the appropriate lbs-ft or Nm that we’ve stated earlier. Please note that the current generation of the Explorer needs to have the bolt tightened to 150 ft-lb.

It’s expected that your wheel also have a center cap or cover. These need to be secured in the same pattern. Please tighten them first-hand snug with your hands. Then, use the wheel wrench to tighten them another one-quarter turn.

It’s also important to check if the lug nuts are still secured after 30 miles (48 kilometers). Please make sure they are all in place and still tightened with the proper force. If not, tighten them again and recheck. If this keeps happening, you’ll need to replace the wheel.

Also read: Flat-Towing A Ford Explorer (Complete Guide)

When Or Why To Rotate/Change Tires

Suppose you’re changing your tire. You also need to know when to change or rotate it precisely. Let’s first talk about changing your tires. Tires usually last around 60,000 – 75,000 miles or 4-5 years. After this period they need to be replaced. Sometimes this happens earlier, and therefore, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the tread wear indicators. These are shown in the image below. These indicators show when the tires have only 1.6 mm (1/16 in) or less tread remaining.

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Another occasion when you’ll need to take off your tires is when you’re rotating them. In the owner’s manual of the Explorer, it’s said that this needs to happen every 7,500 miles or 12,000 kilometers. It’s advised you rotate the tires in the exact way that’s shown below. The front tires are moved to the back, and the front tires move crisscross to the front.

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Sources

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