How do I decide which parts to buy for repair

I am having my front brakes replaced. I am going to have the pads and rotor’s replaced. However as I check prices and types on line of the local auto parts stores, I see a couple of different choices on each item. For the rotors I see them priced anywhere from $48 up to almost $90. As for the pads they range in price from $17 up to almost $50. I have a 2002 Kia Sedona Mini van with about 166,000 miles on it. I average about 10,000 miles a year on it, most in city driving with maybe about 1000 miles coming on interstate driving. My objective is to own the van till it hits about 200,000 then trade it in.

How do I decide which are the best parts to buy without getting the crappy and also not overpaying for something I really don’t need. Also, if I stick with my 200,000 trade in goal, would I need to replace the brakes again over the remaining 35,000 or so miles till I trade it in or should this be the last set I need.

Avoid the cheap ones, especially rotors. If you are doing the work yourself, I’d buy the best ones recommended by a knowledgeable mechanic or friend.

We do all our own painting. Buying cheap paint is the worst way to try to save money. We buy top brands like Benjamin Moore or Behr and the like.

Nope I am buying the parts and a local shop my family has used before will be putting them on. Also what is the difference in brake pads I see?

Brakes pads are made from different materials and processes but all meet the manufacturer’s minimum specs for stopping power. Beware of cheap pads, they’re cheap for a reason. Same for rotors. If you were doing it yourself and the parts had a warranty, you might consider the cheap stuff. I won’t use the cheap stuff, I want my cars to stop!

You likely need to USE that warranty when the pads wear out or the rotors warp. You will also be doing that brake work again and again (and again and…). Cheap “lifetime” pads wear out fast. Buy top or near top of the line parts and you likely will hit 200K without another change.

I stay with the name brands when it comes to most vehicle parts. That has served me well over the years and I stick with it. I agree with the other posters here…cheap is not the way to go if you want reliability and security in trying to reach 200K.

You might ask the shop doing the work what brands they prefer to work with. I have used Raybestos and Wagner to good success, but there are also good auto parts house brands out there. My mechanic prefers to use CARQUEST parts and they have also worked out well.

When you go to purchase the brake components, ask for components that meet or excede OEM specifications and you’ll get the correct components.


There is a reason I’ve gotten 98k on my o.e. front pads…and it’s still not time to replace them.
I’ll be sure to use o.e. or equivilant ( name brands ) when replacing them.

evidence such as that must be your determining factor.
Many times a copy cat product will do.
Decide by comparing the importance of function and life span of the choices.
The o.e. was, researched, designed, and produced with reasons.
Many copy cats get it pretty close just by …copying. But many miss the mark in internal structure and material make up ( like the TYPE of steel, plastic, and fricton surface )

( hint ; there’s also a big reason the cheap ones are so cheap ! )

I use Wagner rotors and Wagner Thermoquiet ceramic pads on my 2005 Accord EX V6. They work well and last as long as the OEM Honda parts. The price is attractive, too.

It’s usually safest – from the point of view of minimizing problems like squeaking – just to buy brake parts from the dealer. But you’ll likely pay a bit more.

When I’m faced with this problem buying parts for my Corolla and I’m ok with non-OEM aftermarket parts, I tend to buy the mid-priced ones. Not the most expensive, and not the least expensive. So consider to buy the rotors that cost $75 and the pads that cost $35-$40.

I always buy the mid grade brake parts…keep away from the cheapest, but I rarely drop the $$$ for the highest quality part.

If you trust your mechanic, I recommend letting him select the parts through his established sources. The benefit is that if there’s any problem he’ll stand behind the work in its entirety, and it’s reasonable to allow him his customary markup, as he needs to stay in business.

Frankly, a lot of shops won’t install your parts, so at the least you want to talk with him before you buy parts.

What can happen is that they could get your car up on the rack, begin the job, and then discover a parts error (not as uncommon as you may think)…then they’re stuck. They have to charge you for the shop time and hold the car on their lot until you resolve the issue with your provider. Frankly, it would not be unreasonable for them to charge you a daily storage fee. If they get the parts, they can just call their supplier and get the problem resolved immediately.

Another problem that can happen is that something isn’t right and your supplier blames the shop and the shop blames the parts. Guess who gets stuck having to solve the problem? You!

I recommend against providing the parts yourself for a shop to install.

I stick with oem.

The thoroughness of the work is the key to satisfactory repairs. Of course the factory pads are often more quiet than even the upper end McParts store pads but the middle grade McParts offerings have proven to be more than adequate when installed correctly using new hardware and properly lubricating the assembly. And after many thousands of brake repairs the only rotors that required turning out of the box were Wagner and there was a disclaimer regarding that in the box.

To Raybestos and Wagner, I would add Bendix.

spending a little more up front will save you more in the end. pads make sure they match compound wise to what the car came with, also the better pads come with any hardware that should be replaced when doing a brake job. rotors you get what you pay for. I would go middle of the road price wise ,you will get an oem replacement so fit will not be a problem and the metal is of a higher quitity and won’t warp.

Often those high-cost parts are “drilled” or “vented” rotors for a high performance look. Pretty much useless for a Corolla, Focus, Camry, Accord or the like. Stay away from those.

As with many newer minivans (is a 2002 newer???), this vehicle is heavy and the brakes are small. You need all the braking power you can get, which means staying away from the cheap stuff.

I disagree with Mustangman that drilled and vented rotors are useless for ordinary cars. A year of two ago, I mentioned to my SIL that I had experienced serious fade on my 2002 Sienna in Puebla. That was the first time I had experienced fade since going to disk brakes years ago. He ordered those really good rotors, and no more fade. One must always evaluate one’s circumstances. I will from now on always put on the good rotors even if I am not using it in the mountains. He calls them racing rotors. And, I do not mind paying more for better brakes.

I agree with most of the posters above, but one exception, slotted rotors wear out the pads a lot faster and drilled rotors are prone to cracking under long term street use, great for tracks but not street. Slotted rotors can make good brakes too “touchy” for use in foul weather, the brakes lock up too easily to be modulated effectively.

But one point not mentioned so far is noise. Cheap pads may stop the vehicle adequately and last the required time that you want, but the cheap pads are prone to making more noise than the better pads and you may not like that. They may also contain more resins or binders that leave residues on the rotors and cause that brake pulsing that a lot of people complain about.

The OEM or better is a good recommendation, as is letting the mechanic select the parts. If you buy pads that make a lot of noise and you are unhappy with them, the mechanic is not going to replace them for free. If he selects pads that you are unhappy with, then he should replace them on his dime.

Also, what happens if he finds addition parts that need replacement? For example, are you going to get new brake hardware kits? What if a brake hose looks like it may fail or there is evidence of a caliper sticking? How about if the caliper pin (bushing) boots are leaking?