Toyota Brake Pads: OEM Or Aftermarket?

When it's time to replace your brake pads, you might wonder if a set of cheap aftermarket brake pads is worth the few dollars in savings.

The truth is that there's a good chance aftermarket brake pads will actually end up costing you even more money in the long run.

Why Aftermarket Brake Pads Tend To Cost More

Toyota brake pad set

Aftermarket brake pads are available in a wide variety of compounds, such as ceramic or aramid fiber. Depending on the compound you choose, your rotors may get warped. Your OEM rotors may be too soft for the aftermarket brake pads, and this will result in the rotor wearing down very quickly. That means you'll need to replace your rotors with an aftermarket set of rotors that's compatible with your new aftermarket brake pads.

The opposite can also happen: your aftermarket brake pads may be too soft for your OEM rotors. This results in reduced braking power and a much shorter life expectancy for the brake pads.

What About OE-Quality Brake Pads?

Some aftermarket manufacturers market their brake pads as “OE-quality”. What does that mean exactly, and are these brake pads just as good as actual OEM brake pads?

The term “OE-quality” is not interchangeable with “OEM”. Here’s the difference between these two terms:

  • OEM brake pads are made by the original equipment manufacturer.
  • OE-quality brake pads are made by aftermarket manufacturers that claim that their brake pads are built to OEM specs.

The problem with OE-quality brake pads is the “OE-quality” label is unregulated. That means just about any aftermarket manufacturer could slap it on their parts. There’s no set of OE-quality standard requirements to meet. Maybe some of the brake pads marketed as OE-quality are in fact built to OEM specs, but there’s no real way of knowing.

To stay on the safe side, we don’t consider OE-quality brake pads to be on the same level as actual OEM brake pads.

The Benefits Of OEM Brake Pads

OEM brake pads may cost a little more upfront (but not always; see the next section), but they offer a couple of major benefits:

1. Quality

Obviously, quality should be one of the top factors in selecting brake pads. When you buy a brand new car, every single part you see on the car is OEM. That means any OEM replacement part is exactly the same as the old part. The quality assurance is guaranteed because the part is designed and built by the same manufacturer that designed and built your car.

2. Compatibility

Replace OEM brake pad

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

Toyota brake pads have a certain design and composition. It’s so they will work optimally with the OEM rotors in your Toyota. The fact that OEM brake pads are manufactured to exacting tolerances means that the pads will have a long lifespan and they won’t produce much dust.

A Common Myth About OEM Brake Pads

When faced with the OEM Toyota brake pads vs. aftermarket brake pads dilemma, a lot of people are put off by the fact that OEM brake pads are expensive. Well, it’s not necessarily true. OEM brake pads can certainly be affordable if you buy them from the right place.

The first thing you want to do is to avoid buying from your local dealership, because they’ll mark up the price of brake pads. For example, dealerships will charge about $70 for a set of brake pads that cost $50 on our site. We carry a set of brake pads for every  Toyota model, and our prices put your local Toyota dealer to shame - here’s some of our best sellers:

  • Part No. 04465-0E010: For 2010-2018 Highlanders and Siennas
  • Part No. 04465-35290: For 2004-2014 4Runners, FJ Cruisers, Sequoias, and Tundras
  • Part No. 04466-0E010: For 2011-2018 Highlanders and Siennas
  • Part No. 04465-07010: For 2010-2017 Avalons and Camrys