Are OEM Ford Valve Lifters Better Than Aftermarket?

Are you shopping for replacement valve lifters? If so, you may be wondering whether you should get OEM valve lifters or aftermarket lifters.

If you ask us, OEM is the far superior choice. Read on to find out why.

What To Look For When Shopping For Valve Lifters

Valve lifter oem ford

First, let's talk about the 3 most important factors to consider when looking for replacement valve lifters:

  1. Material quality: When it comes to valve lifters, quality is everything. You want valve lifters that can:
    1. Last a long time
    2. Constantly compress and decompress without sticking or seizing or wearing excessively
  2. Size: The length of the valve lifter matters a lot. It determines how long the valve lift is. A valve lifter that is too long or too short throws the valve timing out of whack. Valve lifters are very precisely made.
  3. Design: A hydraulic valve lifter is a small part, but it has many different components within the housing. These components work together to help the lifter compress and decompress. If one component fails or becomes incompatible with another component, the entire part fails. So the design of a valve lifter has to be just right for it to work well for a long time.

When you take all three factors into account, you'll find that OEM valve lifters come out on top. It's because:

1. Ford Builds Its OEM Valve Lifters With Quality Materials

Ford values the quality of its engine parts, including valve lifters. That's why OEM valve lifters do an excellent job withstanding heat, and heavy use. Factory valve lifters in some Ford vehicles last the entire life of the engine, if the oil is changed regularly.

You can't say the same about most aftermarket valve lifters. Some aftermarket valve lifters may contain quality materials. But these materials may not stand the test of time. Valve lifters have to move rapidly for a long time. They're also constantly exposed to intense heat as long as the engine is on. So you need valve lifters with materials that can handle that kind of exposure over the long term.

Many aftermarket manufacturers sneak inferior materials into their valve lifters to save a few bucks. You may find aftermarket lifters made with high quality materials, but the components inside the lifters may be cheap. Or vice versa. When you shop for aftermarket lifters, there's pretty much no way to know if the materials are high quality.

2. Ford Designs Its OEM Valve Lifters With The Right Dimensions

Valve lifter measure

Valve timing is a very important part of the internal combustion process. It regulates the flow of the air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber. It also regulates the exhaust out of the combustion chamber. When the valve timing is off, the engine won't run well. To be more specific:

  • The engine won't produce it's rated power
  • The engine won't idle smoothly
  • Fuel economy will suffer

Valve lifters may look like simple parts, but they play a huge part in the engine's valve timing. The length of the valve lifters has to be correct down to the thousandth of an inch in order for the valve timing to be correct. Aftermarket valve lifter manufacturers should be aware of this. But there's still no way to verify that your aftermarket valve lifters are exactly the right size. The only way to be sure that you get valve lifters with dimensions that are exactly correct is to buy OEM.

3. OEM Ford Valve Lifters Come With Optimal Designs For Problem-Free Long Term Functionality

When it comes to OEM Ford valve lifters, the proof is in the pudding. OEM valve lifters last forever in a well maintained engine. It's because Ford makes sure to design its valve lifters in such a way to ensure durability and longevity. If you buy OEM replacement valve lifters, you're buying exact replicas of the original lifters in your engine. This gives you the peace of mind that your replacement lifters are the real deal that will last a long time.

Aftermarket manufacturers design their valve lifters to their own discretion. They may copy OEM designs to a tee, or they may take the liberty to tweak the OEM design. But there is now way of knowing.

Key Takeaway

You can trust OEM valve lifters more than aftermarket ones. In most cases, OEM valve lifters are more reliable than aftermarket ones because they are:

  • Built with higher quality materials that can withstand long-term intense heat and heavy use
  • The exactly correct size for optimal valve timing
  • Designed with all the right dimensions and components

If you decide to go the OEM route, we have good news. It's really easy to find the right OEM valve lifter part number for your Ford engine. It takes only a few minutes to look up your Ford model in our catalog of genuine OEM valve lifters.