Does your car has worn or damaged rotors? The first decision you have to make is whether to buy OEM or aftermarket replacements. It plays a big role in whether your new rotors and brake pads will last a long time. In this guide, we’ll go over both options to help you reach an educated decision.
Where to Find OEM Rotors
You can order OEM (original equipment manufacturer) rotors either at a Ford dealership or online from a reputable OEM parts seller. It's important to know that you'll spend a lot more money at a dealership as opposed to ordering OEM rotors online. Dealerships charge a big markup on their OEM parts. At Blue Springs Ford Parts, we offer wholesale pricing for genuine OEM Ford parts, so you'll pay a lot less at our online shop than you would anywhere else (especially at a dealership). Check out our catalog of genuine OEM Ford rotors to find rotors for your Ford!
Where to Find Aftermarket Rotors
Aftermarket rotors are available online and at some auto parts shops (like AutoZone). However, you have to do a lot of research beforehand to find a decent set of aftermarket rotors made specifically for your Ford. Part of the research includes looking at different brands, finding the right size and material makeup, and comparing prices. Even after hours of research, there's still no guarantee that you'll find an ideal set of aftermarket rotors for your Ford.
The 3 Most Important Factors to Consider While Shopping for Rotors
Trying to figure out whether OEM or aftermarket rotors are better for your car? Let's go over the 3 most important factors to consider while shopping for rotors and see which type comes out on top.
1. Material Composition
The rotors' material composition plays a big part in your Ford's stopping power. Since the rotors work with the brake pads to create enough friction and heat, it's important for the rotors to be made with the right materials. If the rotor is too hard for the brake pads, the brake pads will "paint" the rotors instead of gripping them. That reduces your car's braking power. If the rotor is too soft for the brake pads, the brake pads will quickly wear out the rotor.
Ford designed its rotors and brake pads to work optimally together in order to maximize your car’s braking power. A lot of people like to use OEM brake pads on their car, because they are quiet and long lasting. If you plan on using OEM brake pads, the best thing to do is to also install OEM replacement rotors. It's because aftermarket manufacturers don't build their rotors to OEM specs. As a result, aftermarket rotors are rarely built with the correct material composition to work optimally with the OEM brake pads on your car.
Quality is another important factor to consider while shopping for rotors. A low-quality rotor is practically useless. Not only does a rotor have to be built with the right material makeup (with high quality materials), but also it has to be built with good workmanship. OEM rotors are built to OEM specs, meaning they're built with quality materials and with good workmanship.
You can't always say the same about aftermarket rotors, though. The design and workmanship are left to the aftermarket manufacturer's discretion. Aftermarket parts manufacturers are notorious for cutting corners, so it's not uncommon for aftermarket parts to be cheaply built. For example, some aftermarket rotors are as much as 15% lighter than OEM rotors. A lighter rotor can't absorb as much heat. Excess heat then travels to other components, such as the caliper and hub. Excess heat can cause those components to fail, leading to a more expensive problem. Excess heat also causes brake fade, and your stopping power will suffer.
Aftermarket rotors may appear like a great option because they're pretty cheap upfront, but they're likely going to cause you a lot of trouble down the road. OEM rotors, on the other hand, cost slightly more because they're better built and with better quality materials. But, you'll get better braking performance, without any worry about problems caused by cheap components.
Warranty is a very important factor to consider when shopping for brake rotors (or any auto part, actually). If your replacement rotors have any manufacturers defects, it would help a lot if you could get these rotors replaced for free. Most OEM Ford parts are backed by Ford's comprehensive 24 month/unlimited mileage warranty.
Most aftermarket manufacturers don't even offer a warranty on their parts. Those that do, however, only offer a bare-boned warranty policy that doesn't cover much. If you have a set of aftermarket rotors fail early on, chances are high you would have to splurge on a full replacement. So, once again, OEM rotors come out on top.
Got any questions that weren't addressed in this guide? Feel free to contact us. We'll get back to you as soon as we can!