Piston Slap: Mark My Words on Aftermarket Chrome Parts


We are running low on questions for this series, so for the sake of all readers, put your thinking cap on and send me an automotive question at pistonslap@hagerty.com.

Charles writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I enjoy your contributions to Hagerty. I am in Alberta, Canada, and I need to replace the driver and passenger door handles of my 2008 Lincoln MKX. Where can I get compatible or a used ones?

On mine, the silver is peeling and my wife doesn’t want to drive the vehicle. I have tried twice on Amazon, but the wrong items were sent.

Sajeev answers:

Your Lincoln Mark X—sorry, MKX—shares door handles the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ, and probably even more Ford products. What was wrong with the ones from Amazon? Did they look right and just didn’t fit correctly?

Charles answers:

Thanks for the response, Amazon did not have the driver and passenger inner handles. 

Sajeev concludes:

Ah, that narrows down the problem: Inside door handles, not outside! That changes everything, as the MKX does not share door handles with the Ford cars I mentioned. Instead, they interchange with the Edge SUV, its sister ship from Ford.

Evan Fischer

From what I see online, part number SET-REPF462185C gets you a pair of aftermarket door handles that work. If you bought these and they did not fit, try from another vendor using the Google search I made in the above link. Using eBay might also help. But what if it does not?

Buy them used, either from a junkyard in Canada or from a used parts vendor on eBay. It looks like the handles on the rear doors interchange, so you can likely get a set of (barely used) rear ones and slap them up front. There’s another perk to buying used door handles from the rear doors of an MKX or Edge, and that’s worthy of some bonus content.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom


Let’s talk about quality, as I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve preferred to buy used OEM parts in lieu of new aftermarket bits. There’s a chance that the quality of new aftermarket bits are just as good as their factory counterparts, as I once bought a Duralast (Autozone’s house brand) switch only to find a Motorcraft (Ford) part in the box. But that’s the outlier in a general trend.

Low prices are often there for a good reason. And these aftermarket Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX door handles remind me of the quality issues present in aftermarket replacement chrome grilles for modern cars and trucks. These chromey-plasticky bits rarely last as long as the factory plasti-chrome grilles. (Not that the factory stuff lasts long enough, as manufacturers don’t make ’em like they used to in that regard.)

It’s hard to know for sure, but for body parts like door handles, I defer to my experience with aftermarket chrome grilles. Going to a local junkyard will likely net you a set of OEM Ford door handles (from the rear doors of a Ford Edge) for the same price as the aforementioned aftermarket replacements. And that money is better spent, because they will likely last longer.

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.comgive us as much detail as possible so we can help! Keep in mind this is a weekly column, so if you need an expedited answer, please tell me in your email.


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    Here is the harsh reality of chrome. It sucks today. The EPA regulations have made it difficult to get any good chrome anymore.

    So most of what we have is plastic chrome that is easily damaged.

    The OE part is the standard. You know what you are getting. It may not be perfect but it is ok.

    After market parts can be as good and in some cases better than OE if made by someone like Dorman. They are known for correcting bad factory issues.

    On the other hand you can buy a number of Chinese knock offs and some may not fit, some may not last and some may be as good as OE. There is just no way to know.

    I would avoid Amazon and deal with a known vendor that will back up the part or make for an easier return. Amazon is a dumping field for cheap fakes.

    Swap the rear for the front until you get good replacements, a little more work but it may be worth it for the joy of hoodwinking your wife.

    The problem with the plasti-chrome door handles and other parts is that the “chrome” layer comes loose and curls up. It’s as sharp as a razor. Not just a FoMoCo problem either.

    The die casting and plating industries–and I fear former rigid standards for corrosion/adhesion now sacrificed at the altar of price (used to be in the industry until China) have left us. My 2015 F350 has peeling chrome too, and it is babied.

    I want 13″ trim rings for my ’81 Corolla. I can get the cheap plastic ones from Amazon or Ebay, but MoonEyes stock the genuine stainless steel ones in Japan. They only take Paypal.
    Give me stainless anytime instead of chrome.

    I will admit that I’ve had good luck with the cheap 17″ plastic chrome trim rings on my CVPI, but its only been about 6 years of use. But wheels don’t get the use/abuse of a big chrome grille on the highway or door handles.

    It’s striking when you see forty or fifty year old chrome that’s been left outside for decades (Japanese motorcycle fenders spring to mind) still in good shape, while ten year old chrome that’s been pampered is already peeling. It’s one of the ways we compromise for a healthier planet and plating employees.

    I recently purchased a replacement grill inner, the “waffle” part in grey plastic, for a 1991 Mercedes 300E. It’s no longer available new and sellers with NOS parts on Ebay “know what they got.” So I ordered what appeared to be a decent repop from Taiwan. Arrived well packed and looked the part. But tolerances were slightly off, holes slightly off. I made it work but it gnaws on me, knowing it’s a poor substitute for the original. Of course, it was at least available. I took a rock to the driving lights on the Euro headlights and even the aftermarket’s from URO Parts have proven tricky to find, so, as you advised above, this weekend I’ll try my luck at the local Pic’n’Pull. Such is the work we put in to keep the old timers rollin’

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