If you've ever shopped for a part for your Ford, you've probably seen Ford Genuine Parts and Motorcraft brand parts. Technically, there's no difference between the two, even if you see the same part with different labels. However, subtle differences do exist, and you might be surprised to learn. So let's take a closer look at their differences and why.

What is Motorcraft?

Motorcraft manufactures various parts for several different car companies, including Ford. In fact, Motorcraft is the official parts brand of Ford and has been since its inception in the 1950s. Ford used Autolite as its parts manufacturer for a brief period in the 1960s.

Ford owns Motorcraft. However, Motorcraft has the freedom to manufacture parts for any company they like, such as Mazda. As a subsidiary of Ford, they use the same manufacturing process, materials, and quality standards as any OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts company.

What are OEM Parts?

OEM parts are made for the original installment in vehicles. As such, these parts manufacturers are held to strict requirements throughout the process. The automaker, in this case Ford, specifies what materials can be used, how the parts are fabricated, even the exact dimensions and functionality required. As a result, OEM parts fit perfectly, work strictly as intended, and last longer than other aftermarket parts.

What are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts can be any part made by any manufacturer for any vehicle. Because any company can make them, they aren't held to the same strict standards as OEM manufacturers. The only actual requirement is these parts must function. 

This can result in parts that don't work correctly or last as long. Manufacturers of aftermarket parts make the same part for multiple vehicles in many cases. As a result, parts don't always fit properly. It could be a mounting bracket that doesn't line up exactly, or it could be that the part won't fit into the allotted space.

What are Ford Genuine Parts?

Not every part of your Ford vehicle was made by Motorcraft. Many other manufacturers build parts that Ford uses to make your vehicle. These parts come from around the world. Ford calls any part made for your Ford as part of its original construction a Ford Genuine Part.

The manufacturers of these parts continue to make replacement parts to satisfy your Ford vehicle's repairs and maintenance needs. Any part made by these companies will come with the Ford Genuine Part label.

What are Counterfeit Parts?

It can be challenging to spot a counterfeit part, but you can consider any aftermarket part a counterfeit as a general rule. Many manufacturers go to great lengths to create an aftermarket part that looks exactly like its OEM equivalent. So if you don't see the Ford Genuine Part or Motorcraft label, you probably have a counterfeit part.

As stated, counterfeit parts are technically the same as aftermarket parts. In most cases, they look the same and work just fine, at least at first. It's the substandard materials and inexact operating specifications that make them counterfeit. 

Usually, the counterfeit or aftermarket part fits and works but doesn't last as long. For a mechanical part, it might break easier or wear out faster due to inferior construction materials. When considering electronic components such as computer chips, switches, electrical sensors, and more, these parts might not operate as precisely as Ford Genuine Parts. Also, they might burn out faster because they weren't designed to work in the intended application.

Aftermarket parts cost less to manufacture making them cost less for you to purchase. Therefore, you may save a little money initially if you choose an aftermarket part to repair your Ford. However, if it breaks or wears out sooner than a Ford Genuine Part and you have to replace it again, have you really saved money?

What are Autolite Parts?

In the 1960s, Ford switched to Autolite to manufacture their parts. Thus, if you own a Ford from this era, you might have parts with the Autolite label. Using an Autolite replacement part shouldn't harm your vehicle, but Autolite no longer has to build these parts to OEM standards. Thus, you can consider them the same as any aftermarket part. 

Should I Choose a Ford Genuine Part Over a Motorcraft Part?

If you have the choice between a Ford Genuine Part or a Motorcraft part, either one will work just fine. Motorcraft manufactures their parts for Ford vehicles, using the exact OEM specifications as implemented in the original manufacture of your Ford. Thus, it will work the same as a Ford Genuine Part.

Because Motorcraft has its own brand identity, it produces parts for your Ford under its name. So for example, you might find the exact part with a Ford Genuine Part label as one with a Motorcraft label. You won't find another difference beyond the label, making the Motorcraft an acceptable alternative. 

In many cases, Motorcraft makes Ford Genuine Parts under the Ford Genuine Part label to be sold directly to Ford dealerships worldwide. Typically, you'll see both labels on these parts. Consumers generally look for the lowest price. Therefore, if you see these two labels for the same part, you can purchase the cheaper one with confidence, knowing it will work. That said, it doesn't often happen that you find one cheaper than the other unless you have some form of a coupon.

Why Should I Use Ford Genuine Parts or Motorcraft Parts?

Aside from working better and lasting longer, using an aftermarket part may affect your warranty coverage. Using aftermarket parts voids your manufacturer's warranty. So, if you plan on replacing a part, be sure to check if doing so will void your warranty. It might save you a few dollars in the repair, but if something more serious happens, you might not be covered. 

For instance, you could replace a switch with an aftermarket equivalent that regulates fuel injection. If your fuel injection system fails because the switch didn't work properly, your warranty won't cover the cost to replace your very expensive fuel injection system.

At Tom Wood Ford, we understand that every Ford owner wants to keep repair costs minimum. That's why we offer rotating specials on parts and repairs to help encourage you to maintain your Ford with the highest quality materials. If you have questions about a part, we encourage you to contact our parts department. One of our professional parts technicians will answer your questions and recommend the right part for your Ford.

Image via Flickr by mmorgan8186
Categories: Parts