General Question

jax1311's avatar

Factory or after-market brake pads?

Asked by jax1311 (159 points ) May 23rd, 2012

I talked to my local mechanic today and asked him how much it would cost to replace the rear brake pads on my car (which I’m planning to get replaced tomorrow). He gave me quotes for two different types of pads: factory replacements and after-market.

The after-market pads would be $25–35 cheaper (total). I’m trying to decide whether it is worth it to pay more for the factory pads or just go with the cheap ones.

I’m assuming that the biggest difference will be the durability and lifespan of the brakes, so I’m thinking it might actually be cheaper in the long run to spend a little more now to get the factory pads.

Can anyone give me some insight into which ones I should get? Save the money or get the better pads?

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9 Answers

jerv's avatar

That really depends. Sometimes the aftermarket ones are cheaper but better, sometimes the aftermarket ones are cheap for a reason, sometimes they are the same pad with different prices, and sometimes the aftermarket ones are more expensive but worth it. Too many variables.

What sort of vehicle is it, and what brand are the aftermarket ones?

jax1311's avatar

The vehicle is a Toyota 4-Runner.

I really don’t know anything about the brake pads other than factory v. after-market and the cost difference.

I know this is extremely general but, are pads that are “cheap for a reason” usually less safe or is it usually a matter of durability (as I suspect)?

tedd's avatar

This is 100% based on the brand and quality of the pads, and honestly just being “Factory” or “after-market” is not nearly enough info.

If you have a highly reliable company building your car, then your factory pads may be amazing… think Porsche. If it’s middle of the road, then your pad may be middle of the road… such as your Toyota. But that can vary by individual car, and sub-model of car… A sport super-charged Mustang is going to have better pads than a bare bones base model Mustang.

Then come after market. Are we talking bargain bin after market, or sport/race designed after market?

Tons of variables here. Your after market pads could be way cheaper, or way more expensive than your factory pads… and could be way worse or way better.

Try looking up the individual pad models on the internet and seeing what people have said. You’ll be surprised what you can find reviews for when it comes to cars.

missingbite's avatar

@jax1311 What year is the 4Runner? Mine is a 96 or third generation and came with very a weak braking systems. Many owners switch to the Toyota Tundra brake system which is beefier but still fits in OEM 16inch 4Runner rims.

jerv's avatar

It could be either a lack of braking power or durability or both. Personally, I have had luck with Duralast, the store brand at Autozone; average stopping power, average durability, and dirt cheap. I have also had luck with sports pads that cost more but improved braking notably, though I doubt you need those. However, I have also encountered some fail-brands that glazed quickly and quit.

I generally avoid factory parts simply because they tend to have more of a markup, but only when I know the non-factory brand.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s just me but I would get the cheaper ones. I don’t know how you drive or where you drive but even the cheaper brand they should last years. If you live in the mountains where you are using brakes more harshly it could be something to think about. Are they Borg Warner?

jax1311's avatar

For what it’s worth…

I talked to the mechanic (whom I trust) this morning when I dropped my car off. He said that the cheaper brake pads made a little bit more noise, but otherwise were equal or superior to the factory pads. So, I went with the after-market pads.

Thanks for all of the input.

woodcutter's avatar

It seems that most everything factory is higher than AutoZone ,etc but not much better if at all.

wallabies's avatar

I would go with the cheaper ones, and if they didn’t work out, simply not buy them again. Easy. If you can take a look at them, you might be able to get a sense of whether or not there is a big difference materials and manufacturing wise…

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