Are OEM brake pads really necessary?

I have a 98 Volvo I bought at a used car lot. After a few months, I took it into a dealership to have a couple of things checked out. They gravely told me that it had aftermarket brake pads and really needed Volvo-brand brake pads. I’ve never heard of such a thing; I’ve always gone to the parts store and bought pads there. Are they handing me a load of baloney or is there something different about Volvos?

Pure dealer baloney !
Better to switch dealers than brake pads in this case !

Of course they told you that. They need the revenue and they’re a dealership…they can only sell OEM replacement pads. Aftermarket pads are fine.

Why were you there? Was there a problem they were diagnosing for you?

Are you having problems with the brakes or a brake related problem?

If not ignore their advice on changing to change them out. If your having issues with your brakes they possibly can have a valid reason to state what they are.

That is reason # 579 why you should not take a car to a dealer unless the total cost is covered under warranty.

Every dealer I’ve ever dealt with will do that. They’d tell you that you need a OEM bulb for the dome light.

If they are saying that you MUST use Volvo pads…then ask them where you get your FREE pads.

Actually, brake pads are one area where the after-market products may be better than the OEM. There are some very good performance brake pads on the market, but they may not be available at your local parts store.

…they can only sell OEM replacement pads.

Incorrect, dealers use aftermarket all the time. Sometimes, if the dealer is practical they may suggest it. It’s better to make a sale using aftermarket than no sale at all.
At one of my few trips to a dealer the service writer insisted on OE. I said to use aftermarket considering the age and miles on the vehicle. He “hemmed & hawed” and I asked him “do you want the sale or not”? Aftermarket was used.

I work at a dealership and I myself tell the parts dept. to use aftermarket in certain cases. “Are you sure”? they ask. My reply is “do it”.

Thanks for the sanity check, everyone. We weren’t having brake problems – they just found that one for us. My son didn’t think his car was accelerating the way it should (i.e., when he floors it), and since it’s a fairly old car, he also asked them to give it a once-over. Naturally, they found about $2,500 worth of stuff that needed to be done … they think. The brake pad thing just struck me as totally ludicrous. As for the acceleration, they thought the fuel filter needed replaced. He said thanks and left without having anything done.

Aftermarket pads will work just as well as Volvo OEM pads. Maybe some dealers use aftermarket pads but the ones I’ve worked for never did.
The reason why the car makers do not like the dealers to use aftermarket parts is because there is no quality control involvement on the part of the car maker or dealer.

If a dealer installs an inferior aftermarket part that fails prematurely leading to someone being stranded or even worse, causing an accident, this will reflect not only on the dealer but the car maker who had nothing to do with it.
A customer who has a failed car due to an aftermarket part installed by the dealer is not going to blame the aftermarket manufacturer; they’re going to be upset with the name “Volvo” in this case.