When it’s time to replace your rotors, you have to decide between OEM and aftermarket replacement rotors. Which option is the best one for your car? This guide will help you reach an educated decision.
In this guide, we’ll discuss all the important factors to consider while diagnosing your rotor issues and searching for replacement rotors. We’ll also talk about how OEM and aftermarket rotors compare to each other.
1. Brake Rotor Specs
It’s common for aftermarket manufacturers to design their brake rotors with universal specs. This means that one rotor can be installed on several different Mazda models. Some may think that this manufacturing approach is harmless and perhaps convenient. The truth is that universal rotors are actually not good for your Mazda’s braking system.
Rotors are typically designed with two rotor plates sandwiching cooling fins. You need rotors that are specifically designed for your Mazda model. More specifically, you want rotors with a certain plate thickness, fin thickness, and overall thickness.
When you install universal rotors on your Mazda, you’re running the risk of reduced braking power. Your Mazda’s braking system is designed to work with rotors built to certain specs. Many aftermarket rotors use thinner plates and thicker fins than OEM rotors to save money. But, the rotor won't be able to absorb as much heat as it should. As a result, your braking will suffer.
Your rotors and brake pads work closely together. In fact, both parts need to be compatible in order to optimize your car’s braking power. Aftermarket rotors are rarely compatible with OEM brake pads. If you install aftermarket rotors on your Mazda, you will need to choose a set of aftermarket brake pads too. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the aftermarket pads would work well with your aftermarket rotors.
OEM brake pads will be incompatible with most (if not all) aftermarket rotors because the rotors aren’t made with the right metallurgy. Mazda made sure that its OEM rotors aren’t too hard or too soft for the OEM brake pads. That way, the heat dissipation will be even, the pads will be able to grip the rotors well, and the rotor and brake pads will last a long time without issues.
If you pair aftermarket rotors with OEM brake pads, chances are good one of the two things will happen:
- The rotors will wear down quickly because their material makeup is too soft for the OEM brake pads. This will require another rotor replacement sooner than expected.
- The brake pads will get worn down quickly because the rotors are too hard for the pads to function normally. This will require more frequent brake pad replacements.
In both scenarios, your Mazda’s braking power is reduced. Why spend more money on a weak braking system when you can save a lot of money on a braking system that works great? Installing OEM rotors on your car is clearly a win-win situation when it comes to cost and performance.
3. Mazda Warranty
For parts that don’t usually last long, you’d think that aftermarket rotors would come with a warranty. Sadly, it’s typically not the case. One of the reasons aftermarket rotors are so cheap upfront is because they’re not backed by a warranty. So if there are any manufacturing defects, you’ll have no choice but to buy a new set of rotors.
When you order a set of genuine OEM rotors, you’re getting high-quality rotors that are backed by a comprehensive 12-month/12,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first).
OEM Is Your Safest Bet
Aftermarket rotors are a hit and miss. So you’ll likely end up with low-quality rotors that won’t last a long time. Also, shopping for an aftermarket set of rotors can be quite a cumbersome task. You have to conduct extensive research on aftermarket rotors to find a set that:
- Will fit your Mazda model
- Is compatible with whatever brake pads you choose
- Is backed by a comprehensive warranty policy
Even if you find a set of aftermarket rotors that fits all three criteria, there’s still no guarantee that these rotors will perform well on your car.
If you want a quality set of rotors that will perform optimally with your Mazda model for a long time, go OEM. A lot of Mazda owners are hesitant to buy OEM rotors because they can be quite pricey at dealerships. However, not everyone knows that you can buy OEM parts at discounted prices online. For example, we offer very reasonable prices for genuine OEM Mazda rotors. Take a look at our catalog to see how much money you can save on OEM rotors!