Remember that feeling you had when you first got the vehicle you are driving? Driving was fun, it was quiet, the steering was tight, and the brakes worked great. As time has passed, you’ve developed a little shimmy here, a pull to one side there; you can’t put your finger on it, but something has changed between you and your vehicle. Have you lost that “Loving Feeling”? Virota can help.
What can happen over time is that we can de-engineer our vehicles with the maintenance we choose to do or not do, as well as the replacement parts that we use. At Virota, it is our contention that much of this is due to a lack of the right information to make a more informed decision for your family.
At Virota, one of our core values is "Helping customers make informed decisions." The text of that value reads, "By using our industry knowledge and continual research, we will give customers accurate, timely, and relevant information and recommendations proactively in order to allow the customer to make decisions that align with his or her priorities."
To that end, we have developed the "Virota Grade" scale that we apply to all of our products so you can quickly determine which products fit your personal needs and priorities. Below is a more detailed explanation of the various grades.
Some corners of the auto parts aftermarket, internet or otherwise, are more “Wild West” than “Well oiled machine.” Our “ Economy” rating is reserved for parts whose only feature is price. Economy-graded parts are provided by companies that don’t have research and development departments, catalog departments, customer service departments, etc. They decide what they will sell and send out bids to determine who can make it for them the cheapest. A given product line might be supplied by dozens of different manufacturers. Because of this and the lack of a solid company behind it, quality control can be a little suspect at times. We once had one of these companies approach us to buy wheel hubs. These particular applications we would normally buy at between $45 and $75 dollars, depending on the manufacturer, for the most popular numbers. This company offered us any number for $8. No thanks. It isn’t worth jeopardizing somebody’s safety. As a rule, we try not to offer this grade of product, though in some instances, we do have some available for non-critical applications.
The difference between “Economy” and “Good” is this: “Good” is still an economy product, but it is produced by a legitimate company that is marketing it as a price point offering as part of their larger product offering. One example of this would be a brake manufacturer such as Raybestos. They have a series of rotors and pads specifically designed for the economy market, but they are still backed by a solid company. They have R&D. They maintain their own catalog. They have solid warranty backing. They oversee manufacturing. The downside is that they may also use older technology, design, or lesser quality materials than on their premium offerings. While the part will fit and work for the application, there will likely be a dropoff from the performance from what would have come on the car. This is the proverbial “I’m going to be selling the car, give me the cheap ones.” product. While that might be the case, you might be the person they run into, not because the car doesn’t stop, but because it likely takes longer and more than a few extra feet to than it should.
“Better” is where we would love for our customers to start. Here is why: The Better class of products are AT LEAST as good as what came on the car initially, with NO DECREASE in performance. Filters are going to be as good or better than what came on the car. Belts are as good or better. Brakes are as good as or better than what came on the car. You get the idea. You can’t go wrong with any of the products we have classified as Better.
Not all applications will have a “Best” option. While this may be confusing at first, the Best category of products are parts that are significantly better than what came on the vehicle when it was new. Usually, this is in the area of additional safety features, performance features, or extra longevity. When available for your application, take a look and see if the additional features are something that makes sense for you. You won’t be disappointed.
“OE” grade products are products that were the actual ones that came on the part when it was new. One thing to remember is that it isn’t necessarily a sign of superior quality, as there are many aftermarket brands that are as good or even better than OE that have additional features built in.