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OEM vs. Aftermarket brake rotors & pads

August 05, 2020

Let’s face it – not everyone enjoys shopping for a brake job. For most of us a new set of disk rotors and pads is an unplanned distress purchase, just like a set of new winter tires or a new washing machine, and spending money on it doesn’t bring happiness. However, in due time it must be done, and then the question is: should you pay premium for OEM brand or try the aftermarket replacements?

OEM stands for genuine parts by Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are the original parts that came with your vehicle. OEM parts come with a high price tag as you have to pay for the original brand name and the dealership overhead.

It is important to note that although the OEM rotors and pads are distributed by the official dealerships, they are not necessarily made by the vehicle's manufacturer. In most cases the OEM brakes are produced by sub-contracting suppliers (like Bosch or Brembo) that are not affiliated or owned by the car maker. Same supplier can produce high-performance aftermarket rotors and pads that would exceed the basic OEM features.  A reputable aftermarket supplier could be a viable and cost-effective alternative to the pricy official dealerships. However, your search can be tricky, as there are so many third-party brands and distributers out there - all ranging in quality, price, and warranty coverage. There are few important considerations while shopping for an aftermarket rotors and pads.

Quality: Safe and robust parts
Look for a reputable supplier and ask for first-tier premium grade parts that match the genuine form, fit, and function. Check online reviews on Google, Facebook, and Amazon for customer feedback.

Local stock: Readily available parts for pickup, delivery, refunds, or exchanges
Search for a supplier with local stock and same day availability. Local availability makes the pickup, refunds, and exchanges quick and simple.

Warranty: Support by vendor, not manufacturer
Ask whether the supplier warrants their parts. Majority of aftermarket vendors do not offer a direct warranty, and would instead tell you to file a claim with the part's manufacture in case of a problem. And if the manufacture is not local, you will likely give up on your claim because of tedious correspondence and outrageous return shipping fees.

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