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The cost of OEM parts for some cars are just completely crazy, compared to the cost of non OEM, third party parts for the same cars.

That said, the quality of the cars must be at least somewhat equitable to the price offered for them. I just can't fathom how third party brake parts can be so cheap -- feels like there's a lot of risk in purchasing them.

In any case, especially for a system so important for the car, and for the wellbeing of passengers in the car, am I better off with OEM or non OEM?

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Anything that has the manufacturer's logo on it will command a premium. Brakes are brakes. As long as they are made to fit your vehicle you will be fine. I've been running 3rd-party brake pads and rotors forever. They stop the car.

Keep this in mind: "You get what you pay for" is what they are counting on you to remember while shopping.

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Many if not most OEM brake pads will also contain any original pad shims or anti squeal plates. While your old ones may be reusable many times they are not. It has been my experience that some vehicles (Honda in particular) have fewer squealing issues with the OEM pads. Even when purchasing aftermarket pads the more expensive pad sets will contain shims or caliper slides. The cheaper sets require reuse of the old ones or purchasing them separately.

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OEM parts have the reputation to be the most suited parts for the vehicle. There are important scenarios where somebody wants to use the most reputable parts instead of alternatives.

Think In-house maintenance for fleet vehicles:

There is not only the maintenance work but some also needs to comply with the (often informal) company culture. Should there be rumors that Person X is endangering employees/drivers lives by using cheap brake parts the accused one has a hard time producing evidence that the non OEM parts are suited for the job. Needless to say that such rumors are a career killer, especially after something happened and it involved high speed.

While there are norms and codes on what a brake part is supposed to do (Example: The European norm "ECE R 90" in a very rough sketch allows pad performance to deviate up to 15% from the OEM part performance) somebody first needs to explain that and also must admit that the parts could be in fact not as good as OEM ones.

The best way to get out unscathed is to produce written evidence that only OEM parts got used, so only the best (and priciest) parts where used.

The OEM producers know about this and adjust their prices accordingly

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