GRIE – Bendix
Is OE All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
When you need to replace your brakes, what do you do? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you thought of going back to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), maybe you should think again. A lot of people think getting Original Equipment (OE) parts is the best bet. It’s what their vehicle started out with, so it seems like the obvious choice. But the obvious choice isn’t always the best choice.
In general, there are two ways to go when replacing your brakes: OE or Aftermarket. What distinguishes OE products from Aftermarket boils down to the brand name and federally regulated tests.
OE brakes are required to pass federally mandated safety checks and performance tests. If they don’t pass, they can’t be sold as part of the vehicle. There’s the FMVSS 135 test that makes sure a car performs safely under specific sets of road, environment, and vehicle conditions. Then there are tests for stopping distance and boost failure. Because of this, people often assume that OE brakes are superior to Aftermarket brakes. But don’t be so quick to judge. Some Aftermarket products are tested just as much, if not more than the OE.
As for the brand name? That’s all it really is; just a name. It sounds good to get replacement parts from the same company that built your vehicle, especially if the brand has a good reputation. But just because they have the name, doesn’t automatically make them the best choice for your applications. In fact, sometimes all you get out of a brand name is a higher price.
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of Aftermarket options that are just as good as the OE. Sometimes even better! It all depends on the company. Sure, there will always be cheap ‘quick-fix’ products that aren’t well made. And those will most likely be found in the Aftermarket sector. But there are also Aftermarket manufacturers that recognize the need to pull ahead of the competition and are willing to put in the effort and attention to detail it takes to make their products worthy of OE specifications.
So, what do Aftermarket brakes have to beat? The name and the federal testing. Once you find a reputable Aftermarket company that can make products to the specifications of your vehicle and application, you already have that in the bag. Often OE products don’t even take into account the different applications that their vehicles can be used for when they create the standard OE parts.
As for testing? OE brakes may be required to pass certain tests, but there is certainly no rule saying that Aftermarket products can’t be tested the same way. In fact, while brand name car companies are focused on the big picture, Aftermarket manufacturers often have the time and resources to pay attention to the details, putting their products through additional testing beyond the federal regulations. Some Aftermarket manufacturers put their products through noise level, longevity, and reliability tests that OE products never see.
Then there are Aftermarket companies like GRI Engineering (GRIE) who make reliable Aftermarket brakes while also having experience manufacturing OE parts for OEM’s. This provides a direct comparison to OE products and standards, along with the experience to contend with those safety and performance standards in the Aftermarket.
So, the next time you need to replace your brakes? Take a look at your Aftermarket options. You’ll be surprised at the quality and savings you can find.