Auto: I need to replace my brakes on my 2005 Audi A4. Do I have any other options than factory brakes from the dealership? Are there brakes on the market that perform at or above what I would expect from factory brakes?
November 3, 2007 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Auto: I need to replace my brakes on my 2005 Audi A4. Do I have any other options than factory brakes from the dealership? Are there brakes on the market that perform at or above what I would expect from factory brakes?
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you talking about replacing brake pads, shoes, rotors, etc, or are you talking about replacing the entire brake mechanism?

If you're talking about replacing the entire brake mechanism, which I can't imagine would already be shot on a 2005 Audi, since most of the major components typically last for at least 10 years without ever having to be replaced, there are definitely aftermarket brakes that are an upgrade.

You can upgrade to, for example, a Brembo brake kit, complete with upgraded calipers, bigger rotors that are slotted/drilled, etc., and that will perform way better than factory brakes.

Here is a great Brembo brake upgrade kit for your car, which will only set you back a little more than $3,000 for parts and probably that much for labor.

But spending six grand on brakes for a two-year-old Audi is probably not what you want to do unless you're a giant gearhead who plans on racing the car on a track occasionally. And given that you are asking this question, I'd guess you're not a huge gearhead auto racing fanatic.

So I'd say that, unless Audi made such shoddy brakes that they're already broken after two years, which is almost inconceivable, you probably only need to replace the pads or, at most, the rotors, in which case the pads aren't made by Audi anyway, and the rotors probably aren't, either. You can upgrade the rotors to something like Brembo cross-drilled rotors, but that may require new calipers, too, and then you're getting back into gearhead race fanatic territory again.

There are lots of brands of brake pads, and the Audi dealership where you get the car serviced should give you options within a wide range of prices.
posted by The World Famous at 12:06 PM on November 3, 2007

Just avoid the racing pads, they don't work well for daily driving.
posted by 517 at 12:08 PM on November 3, 2007

Agreed, the racing pads often perform poorly when cold, they are noisy and throw off lots of dust.
posted by caddis at 12:25 PM on November 3, 2007

You might want to try poking around a VW/Audi forum.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:42 PM on November 3, 2007

thanks for the input.

I'm looking at daily driver brakes... and only the parts that need regular replacement... I'm guessing that would be limited to pads, shoes, rotors.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2007

There are lots of 3rd part party parts.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:38 PM on November 3, 2007

Regular replacement on a 2 y/o car should really only be pads. Shoes are only for drum brakes, which your Audi won't have. Tire Rack sells a ceramic pad set at $90 an axle. That's probably a pretty average starting point. Napa sells some cheapies for as little as $18 for an A4, but you're going to want more than that.

The dealership is going to be about the most expensive place you can have this done. Unless it's still under a service contract of some sort, find a good local mechanic (ask friends/coworkers and such for recommendations, or possibly a local Audi owners club). Pads are not that hard to change, but it's not the first thing I'd suggest you try yourself.
posted by pupdog at 2:42 PM on November 3, 2007

Your car would need pads and possibly rotors as well. Doesn't use shoes. Worn rotors are scored and have visible channels worn into them by the pads (often because the pads are worn down). Changing pads alone is no harder than changing rotors at the same time, since you have to remove the rotor to get to the pad on the other side. So if it's a DYI job, you might plan on doing both unless you're bit light on cash. Also, rear rotors wear slower than fronts.

For advice on all this (esp. DIY stuff), you might check out as well as the vwvortex forums mentioned above - your B6 shares a lot in common with the '06+ Passat (sorry).

Even if you're not looking for a big upgrade, some Audi/VW people like PBR Axxis pads better than the OEM ones - they tend to generate less dust and are less prone to squealing.

Lots of brake upgrades really are for racing and not useful for daily driving. For example vented rotors look cool, but actually generate less braking power for day-to-day use (they are better if you are on the brakes constantly, as in a race, since they keep the surface cool and vent gasses more efficiently). Or maybe you drive your A4 like it's stolen :) ?

Check out ECS Tuning , which sells a lot of this stuff by mail order. Good selection of braking stuff, and caters to regular folks as well as 'tuners'.
posted by drmarcj at 3:56 PM on November 3, 2007

You may be interested to know that in daily driving a car's ability to stop is limited far more by the tires than by the brakes. People upgrade brakes because at a certain point in performance driving they will build up heat and start to function poorly. However, for the kind of one-off "panic stop" you're likely to need to do in daily driving, as long as the brakes are able to stop the rotation of the wheels - as long as they can get the ABS to kick in, basically - they've done all they can do. At that point it's up to your tires to grip the pavement and actually stop the forward progress of your car.

So if you have an interest in improving your braking performance, the best thing you can do is get some really nice all-season tires next time around. For right now, take everyone else's advice and see what Audi forums say. Just beware of getting an aggressive pad that will dust or squeal a lot, or bite poorly in the cold, and not make a big difference over the stock pad in day-to-day driving.
posted by tirade at 4:43 PM on November 3, 2007

Really, you'll have two choices, cheap and not so cheap. Someone will offer you traditional pads instead of ceramic. Don't buy those, you want ceramic. Would that this were an older, junkier car, you wouldn't care about the loads of black brake dust that come from non-ceramic pads. However, you don't want that, so go ceramics.

Honestly, if there's one near you, go to a Meineke. It'll set you back a little more, but you can get lifetime pads there---meaning if and when they go bad, they're paid for you.

Brakes aren't hard, I guarantee you could do them yourself if you have the right tools. Check out a local parts store, they'll have what you need. Autozone, advance, napa,, whatever. I always recommend getting them locally though, instead of online, so that you have a simple recourse if your part doesn't match their catalog.
posted by TomMelee at 6:53 PM on November 3, 2007

Changing pads alone is no harder than changing rotors at the same time, since you have to remove the rotor to get to the pad on the other side.

Changing pads is very simple. Changing rotors on a 2-3 year old car is also simple for an experienced mechanic, but is more complex for a non-mechanic. However, I would be astonished if it was necessary. If your rotors only last that long, you have issues with the way you are using your car.

I've never, ever known a car that required the removal of the rotor to access a pad. This is spurious advice.
posted by Brockles at 7:18 PM on November 3, 2007

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