MONROE, Mich. (May 25, 2004) — In an effort to draw attention to vehicle safety—and the potential for greater shock absorber and strut sales for auto service shops—Tenneco Automotive Inc.'s Monroe division has begun recommending vehicle owners replace those components at the 50,000-mile mark.
Tenneco, based in Monroe, said the new recommendation will help ensure motorists get the desired ride and handling characteristics of their vehicles and protect the integrity of other undercar parts comprising the so-called “safety triangle.” That term covers what Tenneco described as “the interconnected system of components—including tires, brakes and ride control products—that help determine a vehicle's steering, stopping and stability characteristics.”
The company said its new 50,000-mile recommendation covers domestic and import passenger cars, vans, light trucks and sport-utility vehicles and is the result of research it has conducted into the “wear-out of shocks and struts under a variety of common driving conditions.”
Last month, at a ride-and-drive experience held at Monroe's headquarters for a number of automotive and trade press journalists, company executives pointed out that because shocks and struts wear out gradually, drivers are often unaware their vehicles don't handle as well—until, perhaps, they encounter a situation that could involve emergency stopping, braking or avoidance maneuvers. During the event, participants drove several vehicles equipped with shocks and struts in various stages of wear, from new to worn out, in order to encounter a variety of handling characteristics.
Tenneco officials also noted that company research found most motorists erroneously believe their shocks and struts should last the life of the vehicle. The firm's new recommendation will not only enhance safety, they said, but it also can offer repair shops and tire dealerships the opportunity to check shocks and struts for wear and tap into a previously dormant sales area.
Data presented by the company showed a precipitous drop in shock and strut aftermarket shipments over the last decade, Tenneco executives said, indicating a definite trend toward fewer replacements of these parts.
Tenneco, based in Lake Forest, Ill., is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of ride control and exhaust systems and products, which are sold under the Monroe and Walker brand names.