Who makes quality aftermarket parts for our vehicles? Mechanics please help | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Who makes quality aftermarket parts for our vehicles? Mechanics please help


Active Member
January 16, 2023
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City, State
Salem, Or.
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 limited 4.6 4x4
It would be great to have actual mechanics who have experience with many different brands of aftermarket parts tell us what manufacturers that they trust. Just because a person has had a good experience with a brand doesn't mean much when you only have statistic of one or just a few. Mechanics do it day in and day out which is why your opinion is most important to me.

I decided to keep my Explorer because I liked it ever since I bought it even though it was only to be a temporary vehicle to help me move stuff I didn't want movers touching. Part of the reason I figured I could get away with this plan on an 18 year old vehicle with 153,x.. on it is because I've worked with and on machinery since I was a kid and now I am 70. I've never been a car mechanic but figure I can do most things I might need to do on this vehicle especially with the help from Youtube videos like those from FordTechMakuloco who I have much appreciation for.

I want to thank you mechanics before hand for helping us who have little knowledge with this subject. If any professional mechanics are not comfortable with suggesting any brands in public please PM me. Thanks

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Metal, wire, plastic etc all cost money. Lower priced items have lower quality versions and less of these materials in them.

Brands that consistently are more expensive, tend to have better materials in them, which is why they cost more.

A mechanics input doesn’t really mean much. They install a part and will most likely never see that car again, and there’s a ton of variables in why parts go bad. You can have two separate shops use the same brand, one hate it and one love it. The one that hates it most likely has mechanics instead of technicians and their diagnostic and install practices are probably the problem. A lot of times it’s because associated parts not replaced are crap.

There used to be more manufacturers than there are today. Most have consolidated. So whether it’s Autozone/Advance/NAPA house brands, there’s a good chance they all come from the same place. If a store offers a premium and value line, choose premium when you can.

If a part averages $189, and there’s a version for $50, there’s a reason.
Now, it may get a little complicated with Chinese products. As most parts nowadays are not made in the US. It’s possible that some Chinese makers are selling directly on eBay for a fraction of the U.S. price. This being due to cutting out the middle man and taking advantage of the world shipping policies.

Either way, if you got 50 repair shops on here, depending on their location in the U.S., you’d probably get so many opinions that you couldn’t come to a consensus.

Pardon any misspellings, autocorrect sucks nowadays.

Most mechanics, including FordTechMakuloco, are going to tell you to just use Motorcraft parts instead of aftermarket.

Otherwise, it's going to depend on what the specific part is, which is the preferred brand among the brands that still make that specific part. For vehicles now approaching 20 years old, favorite brands from yesteryear, may no longer be manufacturing the specific part or have moved production to cheapest factory so the quality isn't the same.

You might find a one-off part from a favored brand on ebay but when someone is paying a mechanic they tend to want the work done soon, not have the variable of how long it's going to take to get a part delivered from an ebay seller.

Otherwise, their favorite is going to be what their local supplier carries so they can get the job done ASAP instead of taking up lot or bay space and faster turnover to make the customer happy.

Anyway, statistically you are probably better off with the experiences of members of owner forums, where the owners know their vehicle, its history, when they replaced the part and how long it lasted. A mechanic usually does not keep track of all that, and unless the customer was very loyal to a particular shop, that shop does not have complete maintenance records either, is just presented with a vehicle and a problem to fix, and if they do a good job and don't use low end generic parts, is unlikely to see the vehicle again for that problem any time soon. It may not be the same mechanic working on it every time at the same shop.

Ultimately you will get better answers when asking about specific parts, with consideration of what is available, how long it takes to get the part, and the price difference. Number4 has a good point about looking at the price, where you tend to get better quality a little above the median price across all major brands, and avoiding a part that is regular stock priced but falls well below the median price, or is a brand that isn't popular, hasn't been around long. Top brands charging more, can get away with it and stay in business because their quality justifies the higher price, though you usually have to compare prices from the same supplier to expect a similar markup. I like Rock Auto for doing that, as they tend to have lowest markup on aftermarket, at least until you get to the factor of how much shipping costs.


Good names

Detroit axle

Some crappy ones… there are a lot of really crappy ones these days

^ I like my Duralast Gold brake pads... bought them 20-odd years ago, with free replacements for life!

Clearly they are an exception, otherwise you can get same quality for far cheaper elsewhere, without paying a premium for the lifetime warranty on parts that aren't mileage-based wear items... but for parts that do tend to fail on a schedule, I have benefited from Autozon'e's duralast lifetime warranty several times.

Granted, a lot of those were before internet availability and pricing showed the difference on how much that warranty costs. Some parts you expect to replace again and others, not so much.

Definitely go with Motorcraft

Motorcraft or throw caution to the wind unless you find some reliable source showing an aftermarket brand is ok. There are so many brands and even a good one might make one particular part poorly. For instance, motorcraft oil filters are really well made for the money. Surprisingly, walmart house brand supertech oil filters are also pretty good. People dump on Dorman brand but then again sometimes Dorman is only one who still makes the part. Avoid the bottom price options and you should be ok, but if you want to be sure it will fit and work, go motorcraft.

Well said
Each crappy manufacture has been known to sometimes make good parts!
Duralast brake pads have been re vamped
Dorman is making extreme duty ball joints
Mevotec makes ttx stuff which is pretty tough otherwise I would not touch Mevotec. Moog used to be good then they sucked now they are back to being good

It is best to just stay on top of what works and what doesn’t or come here and ask on a part by part basis
Otherwise the advice above is perfect
If stock is too expensive or not available then you have to weigh your options

Motorcraft spicer and Bosch are oem manufactures meaning their parts came on your truck (along with many others in this global marketplace)

Motorcraft can be made anywhere these days. It's not like 20 years ago.

.. and some motorcraft is now "Service" design/grade which often means lower quality than the original, for example 2005 Explorer, Motorcraft lower quality hubs are NHUB40 rear, and NHUB30 front. Instead of those, I'd rather get SKF, Timken, or Schaeffler/***. Heh, the three letters got censored. That's eff aaa gee brand.

I appreciate everybody's input. Looks like every time I need a certain part I should come here and ask before buying it.

A good place to check is Rockauto.com. When possible they break it down to economy/daily driver or standard/ premium / heavy duty or something like that. You can see the brands in each category. If a brand ONLY appears in the economy section you may want to stay away from that brand.