OEM Pads vs Aftermarket GM Trucks

Jan 13, 2013
Brentwood, MD
About two years ago I had a shop install new brakes on the back of my 13 Silverado. I thought they weren’t stopping as well as the previous OEM pads. The shop owner, who has always done really good work for me, said they were good Centric pads and that they may need a little time
to bed in. Anyway, fast forward to now, I’m prepping my truck to tow a travel trailer from DC to Arizona by way of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. I had a set of new OEM drums (which I had already had turned, learned that the hard way a while back) and shoes on hand here and figured regardless of how much pad life is left on the Centrics I’m going to put the OEM’s on. Well let me tell you, I don’t know if it was the new drums (adjuster was able to be brought in by quite a lot) or the OEM formula of the shoes, but man, the pedal effort is sooo much less. The Centrics still had plenty of friction material on them, however, I just don’t think they were up to snuff. So you’ll pay about 100 bucks more for OEM, but there really is a difference. My first OEM set lasted 99k miles anyway, so I think its worth it. I have consistently had this experience with OEM vs aftermarket pads/shoes. Also, with both GM trucks I’ve owned, I’ve been really amazed with the amount of proportionate braking that’s done by the rear brakes, even when bed is empty.
I have never used OEM replacement pads or shoes, I could never justify the price for OEM. Everything now is made in China, including OEM rotors and drums, so I can't justify those either. I believe any "quality" aftermarket set is atleast as good as OEM.

Long lasting pads often mean short lived rotors. Friction is what makes the vehicle stop and something has to wear.
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Everything now is made in China, including OEM rotors and drums...

If everything is made in China, why do the majors (Federal-Mogul/Ferodo, TRW/ZF, Brembo, Continental/Ate, TMD/Textar/Pagid etc) have plants in the US, Mexico, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Japan etc., not to mention specialist 'minors' like Endless, PFC or CL?

I made mixed experiences with aftermarket stuff, both good and bad. However I ONLY made excellent experiences with OE rotors and pads (VW, BMW, Porsche) without any single exception. Not saying it has to be OE, but OEMs are guaranteed to perform OE-like quality control. It isn't smart saving like 30 bucks when it comes to brakes.

On a side note, the worst junk by far I ever used was EBC.
I only ever used EBC discs once, drilled and slotted. I was young and uninformed then. They wore faster than the Sparco T-51 pads I paired them with. Not a fan of EBC either due to that and the very mixed customer experiences.
The difference in feel may have been mostly from the new drums. If the ones you replaced where worn significantly oversize, that can affect how the shoes engage. Back in the day, shops had a shoe grinding machine to match the arc of the shoes to the circumference of the drum but now they just stamp a wear limit on the drum to prevent it from being turned too large.
I experienced similar regarding oem SHOES in a toyota. Night and day improvement with oem shoes, and minimal aftermarket support. Pads, otoh, I prefer aftermarket to dial in the feel/performance suited to how the vehicle is used.
If he installed Raybestos Element3 brake shoes, this thread would have never existed.
AMEN! I use Raybestos Element 3 brake pads and shoes on everything - the best thing going. Bettter stopping and very low dust. Rockauto pricing also makes them a huge value. The Centrics I have seen/used in the past did not at all impress me.
I'm running Wagner Thermo-Quiet pads and Wearever rotors on my Silverado. Just put a new set of tires on the truck so I gave the brakes a look over while the wheels were off. I had to go back through my purchase history on Advance Auto's website to see when I bought them. It was 2013...which means I have roughly 8½ years and 85K miles on the pads and rotors. They're right about ½ worn. Truck still stops great with zero pulsation and zero dust.
I've been using AC-Delco front disk pads on my 98 Chevy K1500 since it was new and it's always had great breaking. The backs are still the originals but I have some AC-Delco replacements for those when they need to be replaced.

I've been using aftermarket ones on my 92 Cavalier and they don't stop worth anything of coarse I don't know how this car would have stopped when new with OEM pads.
I have always used Wagner severe duty’s on my silverado. I tow with it and they seem to hold up longer then the basic ones from the parts store