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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Coming to the experts here.

Got 55K miles on our 2014 XC-90. Mix of highway and city driving. We are not hard on brakes, no panic stops, etc.
Question are we getting close to what most of you see for brakes pads life?
What is typical cost for replacement at dealer?
Do rotors usually have to be replaced on the first pad change?

Not interested in DIY suggestions, thanks anyway.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Any thoughts out there please?

Thanks

Mike
 

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55K sounds about right.
The XC is a nose heavy truck. It's hard on the front pads, as I'm sure you've noticed by the fact that your front rims are saddled with brown brake dust 3 weeks after a wash, while the rears are still shiny and near clean.

You don't need to go to a dealer for brake pad replacement. Any independent shop can accomplish this job for far less.
The best part is you get to choose your own brake pads, as Volvo's OEM pads leave a lot to be desired. Frankly I think the non-V8 XC family's braking is soft, lacking bite, progression and feel. Lackluster (if not almost underbraked to me), which is why the V8 brake package swap is somewhat popular for those that like to wrench on their P2s.

As for pads, Akebono and EBC seem to be held in high regard.

And finally, rotors. There's constant debate about this - but my 2 cents is, no, you do not need to replace the rotors with every brake pad change. So long as the minimum thickness is present and the surface isn't gouged or warped, you're fine. A light turning of the rotors should be fine. Sometimes no turning is needed at all, just a surface kiss and touching up. That's when use Permatex Valve Grinding paste on rotors and let and fiction and braking do the work for me.

However, if you do need new rotors I would strongly recommend FCP Euro. They offer a free lifetime replacement on pads and rotors - so when they wear out, you call them and they send you a new set. Kinda crazy, but it works for their business model so who am I to question the logic.
 

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+1 on FCP Euro

For reference, I got only 30K on factory brakes (mostly urban driving) and over 70K when using Akebono (plus the rims arn't dusty).
 

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These cars are easy to do brakes on. It's a little spendy because the parts are *huge*, but pound for pound, they aren't that bad. I found that Genuine Volvo rotors were not that expensive relative to the competition. Akebono pads are the bees knees. Factory pads are almost sacrificial with how fast they wear, and how dusty they are. IPD also sells an aftermarket hardware kit that works fine.

-Ryan
 

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55K sounds about right.


However, if you do need new rotors I would strongly recommend FCP Euro. They offer a free lifetime replacement on pads and rotors - so when they wear out, you call them and they send you a new set. Kinda crazy, but it works for their business model so who am I to question the logic.
I'd worry that it'd probably cost an arm and a leg to send rotors in! I have the 328mm front rotors, and all four feel like 30-40 lbs of metal.

-Ryan
 

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I wouldn't spend a nickel to have the rotors turned. They wear down plenty fast enough but you should still get two sets of pads out of them before having to replace them. For the second set of pads I ran a grinder around the outside edge of the rotors to take the lip off. Third go at it and the replacement rotors and pads from a local parts store are far superior to the originals.
 

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Why not? Original rotors are soft as mush. I've been waiting for the honing marks to disappear on the latest rotors but they are still there, maybe more than a year later.

ggleavitt, why am I having so much trouble logging in? This time it has taken me about 5 tries. It says thank you for logging in and kicks it right back to the log in screen.
 

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I do agree I like the original Volvo rotors better than aftermarket for everyday driving. I have gone through 100s of pairs of rotors through the years that have different compounds and price points. From cheapo rotors for an old Jeep, to full race spec carbon content rotors and cryo treated. I remember years ago following brake manufacturers' mergers and acquisitions so I knew which rotors were made in which plants across the world so I could purchase the ones with good quality. The brand name wouldn't always be consistent with quality.

I have Zimmerman front rotors right now and while they have a zinc coating so the edges and hat don't rust as easily, the friction surfaces easily rust even when it isn't raining outside. I am leaning going with the original Volvo rotors the next time because I believe the quick-to-rust Zimmermans affects wet weather driving and reduces pad life (from scraping/cleaning the rust off). The rust also dusts onto the wheels.

We have to remember that the brakes should have friction, so if pads are lasting too long or rotors are not wearing out, then there is less friction (could be a loss of friction anywhere in the friction curve). I cringe when I hear about the increased longevity claims because I know there is less safety in braking. Pairing the rotor to the pad is very important. Even Brembo rotors with more carbon content should be paired with a more aggressive pad, thus life should be similar to stock. I paired Brembo rotors to Akebono pads once (rotors were on sale at Rockauto for $28) and those Akebonos glazed easily within 1k miles. The heat generated and hardness of the Brembo rotors are better suited for an aggressive pad that uses heat to build up friction and aggressive pad material to bed into the rotor.
 

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I don't even remember what brand rotors or pads I put on last. They give me the options and I shoot for the middle in the pricing. I see only one reason for putting on the best brakes possible and that is because IMO the braking is not adequate for the car. We drive it easy and take the car as it is. I have not noticed any differences in braking to the originals except that they seem to wear less. This is just opinion of course because I never did any comparisons by measuring braking distances etc.

On the new XC90's they have obviously made improvements in the brakes in that the rotors are much larger.

I did get burned once on accepting cheap composite rotors for an Astro van. They never did run true and from what I have since learned composite rotors are cheaper to make by making them of two pieces and welding them together.
 

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The genuine Volvo rotors I put on mine were mare in Germany. They apparently know their steel.

As for braking not being adequate on the XC90? Get real.The brakes on my 2011 dwarf most anything that's not a race car.

Get good parts from good vendors. Do it once. Do it right.

-Ryan
 

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The genuine Volvo rotors I put on mine were mare in Germany. They apparently know their steel.

As for braking not being adequate on the XC90? Get real.The brakes on my 2011 dwarf most anything that's not a race car.

Get good parts from good vendors. Do it once. Do it right.

-Ryan
Probably Zimmerman. They're the OEM supplier for a number of OEM German brands.
 

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The genuine Volvo rotors I put on mine were mare in Germany. They apparently know their steel.

As for braking not being adequate on the XC90? Get real.The brakes on my 2011 dwarf most anything that's not a race car.

Get good parts from good vendors. Do it once. Do it right.

-Ryan
I've read that the earlier T6/3.2/2.5T models didn't have brakes that are as beefy as the V8s or the later models.
 

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I've read that the earlier T6/3.2/2.5T models didn't have brakes that are as beefy as the V8s or the later models.
It really depends. 7 passenger models came with the larger 336mm brakes found in the V8. I can confirm in my 3.2 and a cousin's 2006 2.5t. Then later years Volvo went with the 328mm. I am sure others have better insight.


Probably Zimmerman. They're the OEM supplier for a number of OEM German brands.
Could be a number of suppliers including the OE brake suppliers Ate or Bosch.
 

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The genuine Volvo rotors I put on mine were mare in Germany. They apparently know their steel.

As for braking not being adequate on the XC90? Get real.The brakes on my 2011 dwarf most anything that's not a race car.

Get good parts from good vendors. Do it once. Do it right.

-Ryan
Ha Ha. 55,000 miles and worn out brakes? Some race car. One example, a VW sportwagon will do four times that.
 

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Ha Ha. 55,000 miles and worn out brakes? Some race car. One example, a VW sportwagon will do four times that.
Where are you getting 55,000 miles? I'm confuzzled.

My XC90 had 140K. Original brakes. I replaced mine because as it sat on a dealership lot before I got it and the rotors mucked up with uneven rust. I also replaced the pads because the were dusty as all get out.

Brake life is hugely variable, depending on the driver.

-Ryan
 

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It really depends. 7 passenger models came with the larger 336mm brakes found in the V8. I can confirm in my 3.2 and a cousin's 2006 2.5t. Then later years Volvo went with the 328mm. I am sure others have better insight.
A data point: My 2011, 7-seater 3.2L has 328mm brakes. In a way, I wish I had the smaller brakes, because then I could by a set of steel wheels from Volvo ($80/corner) to put snow tires on.


As for "OEM", the only info I have on rotors is that the box says made in Sweden, but the rotors say made in Germany. Could the rotors have been cast in Germany and then machined in Sweden? Otherwise, I guess just the box was made in Sweden. :)


-Ryan
 

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As far as I know, the brakes on mine are original. Braking effect recently diminished, so I'm guessing it's time to take another look at them...
 

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As I recall the first set of pads I put in were around 80,000 kms, so 50,000 miles and it is my wife's car with the bigger brakes. I drove it as much back then as she and not so much any more so maybe that is why they are going farther. 140,000 miles on originals I find hard to believe unless yours had a different product than they put on ours.
 
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