Ford uses a proprietary part numbering system that includes a prefix, a basic part number and a suffix. Every letter and numeral in a part number has a specific meaning. Every Ford part, except for hardware parts and special service tools, uses the same system.
The prefix of a Ford part number consists of four numbers and letters. The first character is always a letter and indicates the part's design decade. "A" corresponds to the 1940s, "B" corresponds to the 1950s and so on. The specific year is denoted by the second character. The third letter is a product line code, and the fourth character indicates whether the part is an engineering or service part.
The center section of a Ford code consists of the basic part number. Regular parts use four-digit or five-digit numbers. Parts that are used on the body of the car start with the body code, which indicates a certain section of the car, followed by the part number.
The suffix of the Ford part number always consists of one or more letters. For some parts, the letters communicate how many times the part has been changed since its initial release. For others, the letters indicate the color, application, finish or orientation.