Run-flat, self-sealing, PAX tires for Minivans

steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
edited February 2014 in General
Run-flat tires on the family hauler:

Good idea - no getting stranded on the freeway with the kiddos.

Bad idea - hard to find replacements on vacation trips (and more expensive than regular tires).

Your ideas?

Steve, Host


  • samnoesamnoe Member Posts: 731
    I don't have experience about others, but I have my Windstar with self sealing tires, which is better for some reasons. It seals itself completely and you can continue driving forever, unlike the other which gives you just 125 or 150 miles and then you need to replace the tire completely, which takes time and money (except for the Ody in the first 2 years it's free).

    My tires was very good, but not lasted long. I have just replaced my 2 front tires at 30,000 miles, since there was almost no thread and is not ready for the winter (and everyday driving too).

    And I think most Ford dealers do stock them, so if any problem, you can have it right away. And unlike PAX system, you can put any other compatible tire on the wheels.

    The downside is - comparing to the run-flats or PAX - that the self sealing will help you for a small puncture only, a nail, for example, or a small piece of glass, etc. but if it's a bigger hole, it will not protect you. That's where PAX and run flats advantages are, imo.
  • ceo1ceo1 Member Posts: 23
    The only reason that Toyota has run-flat on Sienna AWD is because there is no room for spare. It is not a upgrade or improvement. The "stranded with kids" argument is a red herring. For the cost and hassle of the run-flat, I am perfectly willing to spend the time to put on the spare.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
  • carguy1234carguy1234 Member Posts: 233
    Now that I got used to Nokian WR's on my '01 Sienna, there is no way I'd switch to PAX or the Toyota run-flats. The winter ability I suspect will be compromised with those tires. If I end up buying one of these vans, I'll probably get a non run-flat model and switch to Nokians.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Member Posts: 518
    The problem with the PAX tires on the Honda Odyssey is that they fit 17.5" wheels, which is a size that nobody has ever made before or since. This means that if the tires turn out to be problematic and you want to switch to regular tires, you will have to change the wheels, too. Anybody who owned a midsize Ford from 1979 or 1980 probably remembers the metric-tire debacle, which had the same result. Unorthodox wheel sizes on mainstream vehicles are a BAD idea.

    -Andrew L
  • gkkimgkkim Member Posts: 17
    Got this van because the wife had trouble changing tires to go to work the last time around. At least with the van she can "limp" to work.

    If you had one flat, a donut spare may help get you 50 miles or so at 25-35 mph? The pax will hopefully (if you're on a major freeway) get you some where within the 125 mile radius at 50-55 mph. Much safer than driving slow or trying to change the driver side tire on a freeway.

    ... And what if you had two flats running hard over a large rock/pothole? Happened to me once at 2:00 AM returning home from a fishing trip. Had to wait around for the tow truck! Dunno yet, but wondering if one can run on two flat pax as well.... Hmmm.... Anyone try that yet?

    Support is sparse now. Hoping Michelin and Honda pick it up and start putting these wheels on other models. Maybe too much of a chance to just slap it on the Accord.
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    Wait until you get to you Honda dealer with your two flats, and they only have one PAX 'Hat Box.'
  • attilauyattilauy Member Posts: 32
    What brand of self sealing tire do you have? I had Uniroyal and Bridgestone before on my two old 95 Maximas. Bridgestone was a better tire overall compared with Uniroyal. I never had flat tire even with several nails on both brands. However, they discontinued making both types of tires. I want to replace the tires of my '02 Maxima. What brand is still available?
  • impact01impact01 Member Posts: 95
    The worst: Nonstandard PAX system with no spare
    bad: Runflats with No spare
    ok: Regular Tires (self sealing or otherwise) with donut spare
    best: Regular tires with full size spare

    My Opinion of course.
  • gkkimgkkim Member Posts: 17
    Sure - with two regular flats, i was still waiting on the roadside for a tow-truck until 6:00 AM.

    Even with only one hatbox at one Honda dealership, I would still be able to drive to the next Honda dealership - hopefully driving a total of less than 125 miles at 50 - 55 mph
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 47,405
    You can actually drive more than 50 miles on a dunut, and they are rated for 50 mph at least.

    keep in mind that the ratings are very conservstive (really worst case) to avoid problems (and liability). I've seen people doing 80 on a donut (dopes), and people who seem to have made them their permanent tire. Not sure how long they will last, but a lot longer than 50 miles.

    Biggest problem with donuts, to me, is that most are wildly underinflated. They are supposed to carry 60psi, and I bet if you did a random check, 75+% would be way under that. Many people don't bother to check their regular tires, think they dig out the donut and fill that one up?

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD.

  • trashman3trashman3 Member Posts: 4
    "The problem with the PAX tires on the Honda Odyssey is that they fit 17.5" wheels, which is a size that nobody has ever made before or since. "

    Chevy used to make a 17.5" wheel in the 60's for PU Trucks. It was dumb then too.
  • trashman3trashman3 Member Posts: 4
    There is no great combination of tire type for driving or personal safety. I like the runflats on my Sienna. I ripped 2 fist size holes in the sidewall of one. They performed perfectly. I had to slow down, but I have a van full of kids when it happened. Flats often enough happen in multiple tires. Being able to safely make it home or to a garage, is a big plus.

        I think the "Best" combination would be Runflats that self seal. Sidewall puncture are very common an self sealing tires don't seal sidewalls, and runflats don't seal at all.
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    Actually, I think it's more like 18.1". Like Michelin's ill-fated TRX tires, I believe PAX measurement is metric.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Well, I don't have that much of a beef with run-flats in general. My problem with PAX is that if, for whatever reason, you decide you don't like the tire (ride, noise, wear, traction, whatever) you CAN'T change it. And when it comes time to replace your tires, your choice is limited to a Michelin PAX or......a Michelin PAX.

    "Thou Shalt Use PAX For Now And Forever More"

    Sorry Honda/Michelin. I refuse to buy into proprietary new technology whenever possible. Anybody run across a set of Michelin TRX tires at their local NTB lately?
  • chewie5chewie5 Member Posts: 61
    Do you think that it's likely that Honda will get rid of requiring PAX on the touring in the near future (mid-year change, or for '06)? I really wish they would have made it an option to begin with.
  • chiawchiaw Member Posts: 92
    I think probably a lot of perspective owner would forgo PAX and opt for HID instead.

    Also, i still don't understand that if you decide to force PAX down customer's throat, why not redeisgn the spare tire area to allow wider 3rd row?
  • exb0exb0 Member Posts: 539
    What does PAX stand for?
  • indy93indy93 Member Posts: 97
    Canadian Touring do not come with PAX so why should ours! hypothetically speaking... poor man's PAX...can of self sealant! cheaper and just as effective... just kidding.
  • attilauyattilauy Member Posts: 32
    I am sure that Honda will make PAX optional.This PAX business really made the touring unpopular to some would be customers. I think it is better to make it optional like the Nav. I will trade it to HID anytime. I hope Honda is monitoring the forum, otherwise many customers will go to Toyota just because of this PAX fiasco.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    "Pax" means "peace" in Latin, as in peace of mind if you have a flat, I guess. (Washington Post).

    Steve, Host
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "Do you think that it's likely that Honda will get rid of requiring PAX on the touring in the near future (mid-year change, or for '06)?"

    It is possible that Michelin has a contract with Honda which would prevent them from opting out of using the PAX system for a few years. Michelin would have been smart to ensure that Honda couldn't 'back out' of using their new tire system after only 1 model year.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    Has anyone heard a rationale from Honda as to why the Canadian Touring models are not equipped with PAX?

    The only thought that comes to my mind is that, aside from certain parts of Ontario and Quebec, there may be too few places too far apart to reliably service them.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Perhaps it is because Michelin does not make a snow tire for the PAX system. And since the PAX system is proprietary (meaning nobody elses snow tires will fit), that would be a fairly heavy penalty for Canadian drivers.
  • susiejsusiej Member Posts: 12
    Is it possible to buy a car in Canada if you live in the States? I guess one issue would be the odometer would be metric . I would definitely consider the Touring model if PAX weren't standard. I think we will probably go with Sienna instead.
  • susiejsusiej Member Posts: 12
    There are plenty of us Americans who live in the snow belt as well! I think you are right though, that is the primary reason.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    You can buy a van in Canada, but Honda USA won't honour the warranty (absent special circumstances).

    Steve, Host
  • susiejsusiej Member Posts: 12
    Excellent and important point!
  • ckirkckirk Member Posts: 18
    I also was curious and googled this at ct/feature36
    The PAX system isn't just a tire; it's a tire/wheel package that consists of four components: a tire, a wheel, an inner support ring, and a tire-inflation monitor. If the PAX-system tire loses air pressure--whether due to a small puncture or a huge hole in the sidewall--it doesn't go "flat"; it only drops about halfway down. At that point, the underside of the tread rests on an inner support ring that runs around the circumference of the wheel.
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    If potential 'Touring' buyers are already contemplating the feasibility of purchasing a Canadian model just to avoid PAX, then my prediction that sales will suffer are vindicated. Honda, are you paying attention? You've boxed yourself into a corner. Buyers of the Touring model are doing so despite PAX--not because of it--so they can have adjustable pedals and a power lift gate.

    If Honda offered optional 18" wheels and power lift gate on EX-L's, Touring sales would dry up.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    Well, I can't speak for anyone else but, yes, I see the PAX system as a negative and the premium charged for the Touring makes it a poor value relative to the EX or EX-L.

    If its MSRP was, say, $2000 more than an EX-L and it had regular tires, the price would be reasonable for the additional equipment.
  • jimmylee1000jimmylee1000 Member Posts: 22
    I bought my Ody touring today. Drove it home. All in all okay. But then I read the manual. My plan is to get away from PAX as quickly as possible by buying new EX Wheels, and a donut spare. As it turns out, you CANNOT do this on the touring model. It is because of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. As soon as you remove the PAX wheels, the TPMS reports a malfunction in the system. When this occurs, you get a mesage on the dash, and the VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) locks on. You cannot shut it off, even by pressing the VSA button.

    The trouble is that VSA must be shut off to use a donut spare tire (according to the owners manual) due to the difference in diameter of the spare compared to the other wheels.

    Bottom line: You cannot get away from PAX wheels once you own a Touring model. I am locked in now. The damn dealer told me it would be no problemo to switch wheels if I wanted. But the owners manual is clear: If you have PAX, you gotta stick with PAX or your warranty is DEAD.

    The manual also states that you cannot install snow tires on the Touring Ody either. What a crock.

    So, here's to PAX. I have a vested interest now. Everyone go out and buy lots of PAX equipped Odysseys. I need this technology to spread like wildfire. But there is zero chance of that happening. This will be a doomed experiment.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    If you opt to carry a high pressure space saver tire around as a spare, you may want to keep it away from the fuel tank:

    Zero-Pressure Spare Tires Offer More Safety (Yahoo)

    Steve, Host
  • ramcfallramcfall Member Posts: 10
    I've changed my pessimism about the PAX system after reading an article "Running Flat, Low and Flat Out" in the January 2005 issue of ROAD AND TRACK (pages 138-142).
          I am disabled and run-flat tires are very high on my list of features I want in my next minivan (I have a 99 Odyssey now). My choices have been narrowed down to the Odyssey Touring or the Sienna Limited (with AWD to get the run-flat tires). I am now convinced that the PAX system is the only way to go. Better treadwear, lower rolling resistance, more flexible sidewalls, higher temperature rating, more accurate pressure sensing, and better handling than Sienna system.
         I believe Honda/Michelin has a winner here!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Apologies for the inability to post for the last day. Seems we had a flat and had to go all the way to New Jersey to find a spare :-)


    Steve, Host
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    It's becoming a semi-regular occurrence.
  • don6don6 Member Posts: 1
    With all of the disadvantages discussed about PAX, I am amazed there doesn't seem to be any mention of the EXTREMELY harsh ride. This is particularly felt in the rear seat with anything less than perfect pavement. I am very sorry to be saddled with the PAX system and doubt that I will be a long term owner of a touring model. My Ford pickup is much more comfortable on the same roads. What a shame in a vehicle that cost more than a Cadillac.
  • digiproddigiprod Member Posts: 12
    Well mark at least one loss to Honda due to PAX ONLY tires, ME! I had a $1500 deposit on Honda Odyssey Touring with RES and NAV. When I found out about the great limitations of cost, supply, and chance of getting stuck without replacements, I cancelled my deal!


    Today I bought a Toyota Sienna XLE Limited which actually has the same equipment and some more things the Honda did not. But has "REAL" tires and a spare! Same exact price as dealer matched Honda deal.


    I hope Honda is listening. I was all set with the Odyssey and cancelled ONLY due to having NO choice of tires. As much as I thing PAX technology may be great, having limited replacements and NO repairs ridiculous on a vehicle made for travel. Now when I need tires on the Toyota Sienna I will have choices and NOT pay premium of what ever Honda and Michelelin feels like charging.


    I think it is terrible how many Honda buyers have no idea about PAX, as Honda is hiding these limitations from consumers. Nothing in brochures, nothing on their web site, nothing on invoice or car. I found out in these forums. Thank you Edmunds!


    Stephen A
  • joeb24joeb24 Member Posts: 111
    Well, I bit-the-bullet and bought a runflat (Bridgestone B380 run flat) for my 2005 Sienna XLE AWD. Found a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer who had 5. No one else, including TireRack had these in stock in the northern VA area; they are on back order until mid January. It was over $200. I will be getting an original alloy wheel this week to mount the tire on, also expensive. Since I will have the third row seat down most of the time, I will carry this spare with me most of the time. I will also rotate it in when I rotate tires to get more mileage out of these tires (which, I understand do not give great mileage). This solution is expensive, but I will have piece of mind when traveling. Maybe there will be more options for the XLE AWD when these tires wear out?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Carrying the spare around with you inside the passenger cabin brings up another issue. Loose stuff in the cabin goes flying in a panic stop, and a heavy tire could really do some damage.


    Steve, Host
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Deal on a great van? First, the Touring is a $4k premium over an EX-L (assuming both are at MSRP). THEN, on top of that, you're saying that if the purchaser doesn't want the PAX tires, they pay out of their pocket for different rims and tires, and move the transmitters to the new rims. I'm guessing that a new set of 18" rims and tires will run you a minimum of $1500. And don't forget, you've still got to scrounge up a spare tire somewhere now that you've gotten rid of the PAX system.


    Seems like a pretty hefty premium to pay over and above an EX-L to me. I had no idea the Touring was really THAT much better.


    Maybe the Touring owner could recoup some of their expense by selling their PAX system on Ebay to someone who really, really wants PAX......
  • gkkimgkkim Member Posts: 17
    The assumed $4K premium covers much more than just the PAX system. Don't get me wrong, the EX-L is a great van also. For whatever it is worth, the PAX system offers my family a safety margin that I think outweighs the perceived negatives. For those who are sincerely concerned that they can't change out the rims from the Touring, it is not a technical/physical issue.
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    You could put conventional run-flats on ANY vehicle, and achieve the safety margin that you say PAX offers you--with more tire options and at a lower cost.
  • coach87coach87 Member Posts: 11
    'Regarding the Positive article about PAX in 2005 Road and Track': Couldn't find that issue, I only found the December 2004 Road and Track at Borders Book Store. What positive things did the article say about PAX? PAX, and the addition $4K, is stopping me from buying a Touring Odyssey.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    I think you're missing the point. We aren't dissing the safety advantages of RFT's.


    We just don't understand why Honda had to chose a proprietary system. We don't understand why Michelin couldn't developed a PAX rim which could ALSO accept standard tires if PAX tires were unavailable. We don't like the fact that if you have the PAX system, you are forced to STAY with the PAX system unless you want to incur the additional expense of changing out rims.


    We also don't like the fact that Michelin has tried this EXACT same scheme before (offering tires which were supposed to be a 'revolution' but required special rims which would NOT accept any other type of tire). This system was called TRX. It was an abyssmal failure. And it had much wider initial use by manufacturers than PAX currently has.


    Personally, I think the system would have had a much greater chance for success if people knew that, IF a PAX tire was unavailable, or IF they didn't like the ride/wear/noise of their PAX tires, they would have the option to choose a different tire. They would then be more willing to give PAX a try.
  • ramcfallramcfall Member Posts: 10
    The article is in the January 2005 issue-should be on the newsstands by now--I have a subscription. Anyway, here are some of the Road and Track author's comments (I believe that if I only paraphrase or directly quote excerpts, I won't violate any copyright laws):


         "The significance of Michelin's PAX run-flat tire is its decoupling of inflated and deflated performance. That is, unlike other extended-mobility concepts, PAX lets engineers optimize deflated performance independently of normal inflated operation. Its attributes offer benefits compared with conventional tire designs as well."

         "Unlike any other tire's bead technology, PAX anchoring is not pneumatic; it's purely mechanical....thus, since its independent of a tire's inflation pressure, the bead/wheel interface isn't compromised by deflation. In fact, this is the case even in extreme cornering."

         After several more comments about the origin of the PAX name and the nomenclature they use in defining the tire's size. He then goes on to say: "Michelin recently offered me several back-to-back tests to assess PAX technology. First, I got to autocross two Renault Scenics, one with PAX, the other with conventional tires, both at correct inflation pressure. By the way, PAX has been optional on this tidy Euro-only minivan since June 2001 and standard since January 2002.

        "By assiduously keeping my eyes off the tires, I was able to do this phase 'blind' with slow, moderately aggressive and car-control-teetering laps of each one. Differences were really subtle, though I sensed one car offered a bit more comfort on the easy lap and a bit more grip on the hot one.

         "Which car? The one on PAX.

         "Next came a street route with a new Honda Odyssey, the Touring model....this particular Odyssey had a flat left rear tire.....In moderate city driving, the principal giveaway was a slight rumble and a bit of ride harshness on broken surfaces..."

         "The last exercise was the most compelling: autocrossing an Audi A8L with its left rear PAX utterly deflated.....on hard right turns, the Audi's left rear felt initially like it was breaking away; this, as the tread structure realigned itself on the PAX inner ring. Then, it stabilized and developed grip....Pushed further the Audi could actully be pitched and caught around cones--this quite amazingly, with a flat rear tire."

         "What of PAX significance? The tire has already been standard equipment on the Renault Scenics and Roll-Royce Phantom and now on the Odyssey Touring. Its optional on Audi A4, A6 and A8 models (and rumored on a coming Nissan product) Michelin expects annual PAX adoptions to grow to between 200,000 and 250,000 four-tire fitments by 2005."

         The article then mentions that the PAX is amenable to SUV and minivan load ranges. (unlike Michelin's own Zero Pressure tires) Four PAX tires weigh less than 5 equivalent conventional tires. PAX rolling resistance is 12 percent better than a conventional tires and a huge 30-40 percent better than other run-flat tires (which are notoriously poor in this regard). Michelin says PAX will probably cost a 10-percent premium over a traditional non-run-flat tire. Then the author concludes the PAX portion of the article with this comment:

         "To me, the most compelling thing is that Pirelli, Goodyear, Sumitimo and Toyo have each licensed PAX technology for their own products. In fact, one of the concept cars at the Paris auto show was on Goodyear PAX tires."

       In the following portion of the article, the author discusses various tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). TPMS is mandatory for run-flat systems to let you know when you're tire has lost pressure. PAX uses a direct-pressure sensing system which has very good accuracy. Direct systems have a sensor within each wheel, measuring each tire pressure independently, and can display each pressure separately. Sienna and other systems use an indirect system that works on the principal that an underinflated tire has a smaller rolling circumference. By monitoring the differences between tires using ABS hardware, its possible to identify differences in inflation pressure. However, since indirect systems compare data over time, it won't necessarily provide a timely response to rapid deflation, and most likely cannot identify which tire is low and may not operate at all vehicle speeds. Also, if all four tires gradually lose pressure at about the same rate (for example through neglect), an indirect system won't identify an underinflation at all. A direct system is as accurate as its chosen sensor. Typically, 1-psi differences are identified. Indirect systems may not be capable of anything better than that required by the proposed NHTSA regulation (25 percent).

         I have also noticed that there are several tire changer manufacturers (for example, Hunter Engineering--go to now marketing PAX system tools and kits for independent shops that can handle all the latest PAX combinations.

        I hope that the above has been helpful--GO FOR THE TOURING! I think the PAX system is not only the best run-flat system available, but will be successful. Hey--I remember back when tubeless tires were introduced. There was a lot of concern as to whether they would actually work. Some people even insisted om putting a tube in their tubeless tires.
  • gkkimgkkim Member Posts: 17
    Honda probably choose PAX to distinguish itself from the usual RFT that have stiff side walls, which increases the harshness of the ride and reduces rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy. The wear rating on the bridgestones(?) that at put on the Sienna AWD's aren't the most impressive.


    As for the price point break mentioned for implementing non-proprietary RFT, there really isn't. The availability of those "non-proprietary" system is at best comparable. After looking at both the 05 Odyssey and 04/05 Sienna AWD, we called around the tire shops in the SF Bay Area and and came to the that conclusion.


    What non-proprietary does give one is the ability to put on a non-rft "regular" tire -- at which point, the comparison is moot because a blow out/flat of a regular tire and the trouble of being stuck on the roadside waiting.


    By 2007 when the TREAD act comes in place, one of the big stumbling block for implementing RFT will be in place. Cars will be required to have pressure monitors.


    The point that I was making is that (whether the PAX tires are successful), people can change out the PAX if they do no like the ride/wear/noise. There will be duds out there - TRX being the most notable. Fifty years ago no one believed that a radial tire was possible. Just a few years back, the motion pictures association spoke out against the VHS technology. Consumers will speak with their wallet and time will tell if PAX becomes a part of the evolution - or a roadkill.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Nice summary of the R&T article - thanks!


    Maybe the gas saved by the less rolling resistance of the tires will offset the 10% estimated extra cost.


    btw, I remember when radials replaced bias tires; that was a hot topic of discussion at the time. Especially since they cost more to buy.


    Steve, Host
  • heywood1heywood1 Member Posts: 851
    Depends on what 'traditional non-run-flat' you're comparing it to. This claim is too general to be taken at face value. If anything, I would assume the comparison is to full-blown retail price of an expensive brand. The devil is in the details....
  • impact01impact01 Member Posts: 95
    You write:

    "Honda probably choose PAX to distinguish itself from the usual RFT that have stiff side walls, which increases the harshness of the ride and reduces rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy."


    The point brought out repeatedly is that Honda Touring didn't need PAX tires because it has enough space for a spare. Probably it would've been a bit more expensive to implement a TPMS without PAX, but IMO, Honda should've gone that route.


    Secondly, Michelin itself could have designed PAX for a standard size rim. They wanted to fleece customers for their life time, so they went with a nonstandard rim.


    You also write: "The point that I was making is that (whether the PAX tires are successful), people can change out the PAX if they do no like the ride/wear/noise."


    As far as I am concerned, the issues of changing out PAX tires appear to be far more complicated than necessary at the present time. Being the bleeding edge of tire technology, I would avoid PAX like a plague. Conventional wisdom based on current vehicle numbers indicates PAX has a long shot at success, but if Michelin can pull it off, more power to them. However, I for one wouldn't want to be a guinea-pig in their little experiment.
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