Are Aftermarket VW Rotors a Good Investment?

OEM or aftermarket? This is the question many Volkswagen owners ask when it's time to replace their rotors. There are aftermarket brake rotors designed for VW cars, and you might be wondering how they stack up against OEM rotors. You may save a few bucks with a set of aftermarket rotors, but are they worth the savings?

When it comes to saving money, efficiency is everything. A few bucks saved upfront may cost you hundreds of dollars down the road. Is this the case with aftermarket rotors? If you ask us (and most auto technicians, actually), the answer is yes. Aftermarket rotors are rarely worth the savings. Here's why.

1. Universal Specs

VW rotor

To keep your car’s braking power optimal, you need rotors that are designed to fit your VW model. More specifically, you want rotors with a certain diameter and thickness. The calipers and brake pads on your VW are of certain sizes and thicknesses. OEM rotors are just the right size to perform optimally with the brake pads and calipers.

Even if you find an aftermarket rotor with the right diameter and overall thickness, it’s possible that the specs are still incorrect. There are two factors that make up the overall thickness of the rotor:

  1. Plate thickness
  2. Fin thickness

An aftermarket rotor that has the right overall rotor thickness might have plates that are too thin and fins that are too thick. This is very common. Aftermarket manufacturers make their rotors with thinner plates and thicker fins as compared to OEM rotors in order to cut costs. That will cause the aftermarket rotor to absorb less heat than the OEM rotor, as it has less mass to absorb the heat. The excess heat then tries to dissipate through the pads and calipers. When they get too hot, you will feel your brakes fade.

2. Incorrect Materials

For a rotor to work correctly, it needs to reach a certain hot temperature when it comes into contact with the brake pads. If the rotor overheats, it can get warped and the vehicle's stopping distances get longer. If the rotor doesn't heat up enough when it comes into contact with the brake pads, the vehicle's stopping power isn't as good as it should be.

If you want to remain safe on the road, you need brakes that are reliable. Part of that involves using rotors that enable the heat range to remain in the "Goldilocks zone". Volkswagen designed its rotors with a certain material makeup just to achieve this. That means when you replace your rotors with OEM rotors, you'll have the peace of mind that the rotors won't overheat because they're built with the correct materials.

Aftermarket manufacturers don't usually follow OEM specs. This means that generally, aftermarket rotors are built with the wrong materials that won't work optimally with OE brake pads. This results in braking performance problems, notably increased stopping distances and warping (if the rotors overheat often enough).

3. Lack of Warranty (or Unreliable Warranty)

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All genuine OEM Volkswagen parts (including rotors) are covered by VW's one year/12,000 mile warranty (whichever occurs first). That means that if your rotors fail due to a defect within one year or 12,000 miles of installation, you'll get to have them replaced for free.

Aftermarket parts manufacturers typically don't offer any sort of a warranty on their parts. In the rare occurrence that an aftermarket parts manufacturer warranties its products, chances are high that their warranty policy doesn't cover much. If you take into consideration the fact that aftermarket rotors may fail early from design and quality issues, it's reasonable to expect to pay for a whole new set of rotors sooner or later.

In a Nutshell

Compared to aftermarket rotors, OEM rotors are:

  • Built with the correct specs and materials
  • More reliable in terms of braking power
  • Less expensive in the long run (or perhaps even upfront if you score some at wholesale prices - see below)

You can save a lot of money on genuine OEM VW rotors by ordering them from us at wholesale pricing. Get yours today!