OEM Vs. Aftermarket VW Rotors: Pros and Cons

When you bring your Volkswagen to a VW dealership to have your rotors replaced, you know you’re getting OEM replacement rotors. However, the dealership will likely charge you a small fortune.

Rotors are actually pretty easy (and much cheaper) to replace yourself. So there’s really no point in bringing your VW to a dealership and paying them a lot of money.

If you’ve decided to replace the rotors yourself, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to save even more money on a set of aftermarket rotors.

If you ask us, the answer is no; it’s not a good idea to cut corners with a set of aftermarket rotors. Read on to find out why.

The Pros and Cons of Using Aftermarket Rotors

Install rotor

Image Credit: Eric Krzyzanowski

There’s one pro to buying aftermarket rotors, and it is the low upfront cost.

Pro: Low Upfront Cost

There’s a large market for aftermarket parts. It’s primarily because aftermarket parts usually come with a lower price tag than their OEM counterparts. It might be quite tempting to save a few bucks from the get go. But keep in mind that you’re signing up for the possibility of spending more money than necessary in the future.

Here’s why:

Con: Wrong Design and Materials

It’s quite rare for an aftermarket rotor to be designed and built to VW rotor specs. Usually, aftermarket part manufacturers will come up with their own specs to “beat” OEM specs. But this always results in a rotor that isn’t quite compatible with the car’s braking system.

If an aftermarket rotor isn’t built with the right materials, it could overheat due to not having the same heat properties as the OEM brake pads. When a rotor overheats often enough, it can get warped and that greatly reduces your car’s stopping power.

It’s also possible that the softness of an aftermarket rotor doesn’t match up with the softness of the brake pads. This means either the rotor or brake pads will get worn down quickly. It can also result in the rotor getting scratched up.

If an aftermarket rotor is built with the right materials, there’s still a chance that it’s not the right size or thickness. If the aftermarket rotor is thicker or thinner than its OEM counterpart, it can increase or decrease the sensitivity of your brakes.

Con: No Warranty

Let’s say you get aftermarket rotors and something goes wrong with them (which is pretty likely, if we’re being honest). There’s a high chance you won’t have them replaced for free because aftermarket parts rarely come with a warranty. It’s actually a big reason why aftermarket parts are cheap.

So if you find yourself in this situation, the only thing to do is to drop hundreds of dollars on a whole new set of rotors.

The Pros and Cons of Using OEM Rotors

OEM rotors

Unlike aftermarket rotors, OEM rotors come with a lot of pros.

Pro: Built to OEM Specs

Genuine OEM rotors are built to VW rotor specs. This means OEM rotors are:

  • Built with the right materials that are compatible with the rest of your car’s braking system
  • The right thickness to ensure optimal braking performance

The fact that OEM rotors are built to the right specs means that they will give your Volkswagen optimal stopping power for the life of the rotor.

In the rare event that your OEM rotors fail, you don’t have to worry about spending hard earned money to replace them, because they’re backed by a great warranty.

Pro: Volkswagen Replacement Parts Limited Warranty

If you buy genuine OEM rotors from an authorized Volkswagen dealer (like us), your new rotors will be covered by Volkswagen’s Replacement Parts Limited Warranty. It is good for one year or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Con: Higher Upfront Cost

The only downside of buying OEM rotors is the fact that they cost a little bit more than aftermarket rotors. It makes sense, given how much better OEM rotors are than aftermarket rotors. However, OEM rotors don’t always have to be expensive! You can buy a genuine set at a discounted price from us. More information about this is below.

The Bottom Line

It’s pretty clear that OEM is the better choice when it comes to rotors.

In the beginning of this article, we briefly mentioned how expensive it is to have your rotors replaced at a Volkswagen dealership. They’ll charge you a big markup for OEM rotors, which is pretty ridiculous considering that you can get the exact same rotors online for much cheaper.

At VW Parts Vortex, you can find genuine OEM Volkswagen rotors at discounted prices. For example, a dealership would charge over $60 for rotor number 561-615-601-A (for 2014-2018 Passats) but we offer it for only $45.56. Rotor number 5C0-615-301-B (for 2012-2017 Beetles, GTIs, and Golfs) costs over $100 at most dealerships, but it’s available for under $78 at our website.

If you have any questions about selecting the right genuine OEM Volkswagen rotor at our website, you’re welcome to contact us.