Brakes are arguably the most important part of any vehicle. We’re often caught up chasing torque and horsepower figures that we forget how important it is to be able to stop on a dime. Brake system maintenance is at the core of automotive maintenance as a whole and is one place where you should never cut corners.
Akebono is a brand that is trusted by many to deliver that reliable braking power. However, is Akebono an OEM for your car? If you’re interested in using this brand next time you need to do a brake job on your vehicle, you’re in the right place. Here’s what you need to know.
The Dawn of Efficient Braking
The land of the rising sun is home to some of the best automotive brands in the world. From renowned carmakers to talented parts manufacturers, Japan has it all. That being said, despite being a country where excellence is the norm, some companies still stand out, especially if they’re specialized in a niche range of products. Akebono checks all these boxes as a prominent Japanese brand whose track record of quality goes back to 1929 pre-war Japan.
Founded by Sanji Osame, Akebono (Dawn in Japanese) started out in a market that was relatively small. In fact, most of the cars in Japan at the time were owned and operated by the Imperial government of Japan. Mr. Osame got into the business by developing quality brake linings for the Army. Then the war happened.
Much like the rest of the country, Akebono had to rebuild. The postwar world was a different place. The automotive industry boomed, creating a massive demand for all kinds of parts, including brakes.
Akebono stepped up to fill the void. The company kept developing until it was ready to leave the comfort of its native Japan and set out to conquer markets overseas. Their first target was the United States.
Being one of the largest automotive markets in the world, the US was the perfect proving ground for Akebono as a brand. If it could make it in such a highly contested space, Akebono could potentially establish itself as a global authority on braking systems. Needless to say, that is exactly what happened.
Today, this brand is considered to be one of the most reliable brake manufacturers out there. It’s also an international company now, with production and R&D facilities all over the world.
Is Akebono an OEM?
It’s no secret that Akebono is best known for its aftermarket segment. Their pads and rotors are a common sight on cars that are often described as track-ready, but street-oriented. They may not offer the ultimate track performance, but they are also civilized. That being said, Akebono is an OEM for a wide range of brands. Their OEM segment mirrors the quality and performance of their aftermarket range, only in a slightly different way.
A quick glance at their OEM catalog reveals all major US and import car brands. You’ll find Akebono pads, rotors, and other products in vehicles produced by General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Isuzu, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Ford Motor Company, and Volvo. Needless to say, Akebono’s production line is diverse in every sense of the word.
Are Akebono Brakes Good?
Yes, Akebono brakes are good brakes, that much is certain. Their products have been tried and tested countless times, offering reliable and consistent performance in a wide range of applications. At the end of the day, the real question isn’t whether Akebono brakes are good or not, but rather whether they are the right brakes for you?
A person building a car for the track won’t have the same priorities as a person whose main goal is to enjoy a quiet, dust-free ride to work. The former will be looking at EBC, Brembo, Akebono and other brands, while the latter might be content with running regular Bosch pads for a while.
If you’re looking for the ultimate performance compounds, chances are that you already know what you want from your brakes. Akebono does offer a performance line of pads, but their compounds are fairly specific.
That being said, if you’re looking for brakes that are silent, produce low amounts of dust, and are generally durable, these pads/rotors might be all you’ll ever need.
Where to Get OEM Akebono Products?
Being a world-renowned brand has helped Akebono enter just about every global market, from all possible directions. You can find their products just about everywhere. That being said, where you get your parts matters. It’s not the same whether you get your pads from a random eBay seller, or if you get them from a trusted big-name store. The former could be cheaper, but the risk of getting a counterfeit part is much higher.
Because of that, we suggest getting your Akebono parts from your local auto store, or a trusted online vendor such as eEuroparts.com. That way you can be sure of the quality of parts being delivered to your door.