Screeching, reduced stopping power…It just might be the time to do a brake pad replacement on your much loved Audi.
Should you go OEM or aftermarket, though? And if you choose the latter, what brands would be a good choice?
I’d recommend going aftermarket. Audi OEMs have great stopping power, but they can be noisy and dusty as hell.
The best brake pads for Audi A4 or A5 would be these Akebono Euro pads. Slightly softer bite than OEM, but way less dust and noise. Made in the US too.
Akebono Euro pads won the best overall import aftermarket product (source here) with a reason.
Want German brakes for your Audi? This Bosch QuietCast kit fits 2006-2011 Audi A6 models, as well as 2005-2009 A4.
The benefits of QuietCast is their ridiculously affordable price considering how quiet and easy on the rotors they are. An issue here would the brake wear indicator which doesn’t fit as snugly as some other aftermarket parts.
The third, last option would be the distinguished EBC RedStuff brake pads.
If you value strong stopping power and more aggressive bite, go for them. Keep in mind these will dust a bit more than both Akebono or Bosch, however.
Jump to whichever section of this review interests you the most – and fits your preferences.
Is changing the brake pads or rotors of my Audi that hard?
Automotive DIY is on the rise over the past few years, and I see more and more people opting to do their own brake pad replacement.
Some want to experiment and learn. Others are mainly driven by the fact that you can save hundreds of dollars with a few hours of work on your own.
I don’t know your background, but generally I’d give this a 6/10 difficulty. Obviously, what can help a lot is a well-fitting replacement – what Akebono are famous for.
This video is one of the best guides. It’s on a 2012-2018 Audi A6 C7, but the basics are quite similar to what you’d have with an A4 B8 or an older A3:
Best brake pads for Audi A4:
Note: Keep in mind these are the front brake pads for 2009-2016 Audi A4 models. They fit 2008-2017 A5 too.
Akebono is a very well-known brand for anyone who owns American or Japanese vehicles. However, not many people know that they’re one of the few brands that manufacture brake pads specifically targeted at European vehicles too.
Their Euro line features high-end ceramic pads that focus on exact OEM fit, way less dusting, and American-made quality.
Are they as aggressive as EBC or Audi OEMs in terms of pad bite?
No, not really. There’s a certain smoothness and a gentle pedal feel to them. However, don’t mistake this with a lack of stopping power – they have it in them.
One of the things you’ll love about them as a DIYer is how seamless the install here is. The pads themselves, as well as the brake wear indicator, should fit snugly unlike a lot of other aftermarkets.
The only drawback is their price – slightly higher than Bosch, for example. In my eyes, however, a few bucks more are worth it when you will have these for years ahead.
Best affordable brake pads & rotors for Audi A4 or A6:
Bosch QuietCast BP1111
So, these fit 2005-2009 A4, as well as Quattro models. From the A6 years, it’s the right fit for 2006-2011 models.
As I mentioned before, these are the cheapest option if you’re looking at quality aftermarket replacements. Furthermore, Bosch has been an OEM manufacturer for a lot of Audi, BMW and VW automotive applications.
QuietCast stick to their name and are one of the most silent braking solutions out there. This also applies to their good value rotors, which are a good supplement to the pads.
One issue you might encounter here, however, is the fit. It’s not a total pain in the ass, but you’d have to tinker around more then Akebonos. I’ve seen some people also complain about the brake wear indicator not fitting that snugly either.
The pad bite here once again is not as aggressive as OEMs. If you’re looking for something more snappy, EBC is where it’s at.
Despite the slight fit issues, Bosch remain a popular choice for the casual driver who doesn’t want to shell out too much cash on brake replacements. I have a full review of the QuiestCast line here.
More pad bite for your Audi:
EBC Brakes Red Stuff
Note: This is the DP31986C EBC part. These are the front brake pads for several Audi applications, including:
- A4 2009-2016
- A5 2008, as well as 2015-2017
- S4 2008-2017
- S5 2007-2016
They also fit the Allroad Quattros from 2013-2017. They do not fit Q7!
EBC is synonymous with performance and racing-grade braking action. The RedStuff might be their least dusting pad type, but they still dust more than either Akebono or Bosch.
No matter the road condition, you’ll find these unstoppable. The Kevlar-based fiber compound mixed with their ceramic manufacture allows for better heat resistance and improved brake pad life.
Definitely way more aggressive than the previous recommendations. EBC ran their own experiments and found out the Redstuff pads reduce some models’ stopping distance by 50 feet @ 100 miles/hour.
That’s quite an improvement if you ask me.
Once again, the drawback is the price. Paired with more dusting, I’d advise you to not pick these if you just want your casual Audi drive. No brake wear indicator is included in the kit either.
However, for performance enthusiasts and people who want to take their Audi to the extreme…The UK king of braking is a solid choice. Their rotors are great too, as I’ve noted in another article.
I hope this has helped a bit, as there are lots of aftermarket brands – and not all were created equal. There are some seriously lackluster options that will just leave you frustrated.
What are your own experiences? Did you go with OEM or did you go for an aftermarket brand? Have you tried other manufacturers?
Let me know in the comments below, I’d be happy to read about your own impressions.