Severe Impacts to Ride Control and Other Undercar Parts Can Affect Vehicle Steering, Stopping and Stability Performance
LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS, APRIL 20, 2005 - That seemingly bottomless pothole stands ready to deliver a bone-jarring impact not only to you and your passengers, but also to key vehicle components that help provide safe steering, stopping and stability. Engineers for Tenneco Automotive's (NYSE: TEN) Monroe brand of shocks and struts remind motorists to consider the cumulative effects of potholes and other road hazards when preparing their vehicles for spring.
"Shocks and struts bear the brunt of the punishment dished out by potholes and other obstacles, but severe impacts can damage or accelerate the wear of these safety-critical components," said Richard Alameddine, vice president of marketing for Tenneco Automotive. "The result can be either an immediate or gradual loss of desired ride and handling characteristics."
Monroe recommends the replacement of automotive shocks and struts at 50,000 miles for a smoother ride and better handling. This service recommendation - based on research on the wear of shocks and struts under a variety of common driving conditions - is intended to help vehicle owners protect their driving safety through scheduled inspections and maintenance.
For many popular-selling vehicles, replacing worn shocks and struts that have been driven for 50,000 miles or more can improve the vehicle's handling characteristics and ride comfort. Actual mileage may vary depending upon driver ability, vehicle type, and type of driving and road conditions.
"It's easy to ignore worn shocks and struts because they're not readily visible and their effects - such as reduced steering precision and degraded stopping performance - might not be obvious in everyday driving situations," Alameddine said. "We liken it to the gradual yet significant change in your eyesight that can occur over time; you might not notice how badly you need a new eyeglass prescription until you take a vision test."
In addition to enhancing ride comfort, shock absorbers and struts help maintain consistent, firm traction by absorbing road-induced impacts and reducing vehicle pitch and roll. They accomplish this by providing resistance to the vertical "pumping" motion of the vehicle's tires and suspension. Without fully functional shock/struts, there would be limited control of this suspension movement, leading to a potentially dangerous loss of traction.
Third-party research has shown the relationship between shock/strut condition and vehicle steering, stopping and stability characteristics. In one series of tests, vehicles equipped with one 50-percent degraded shock absorber and three fully functional units required 4.3 percent more time and 5.7 percent greater distance to brake from 60 to zero miles per hour over a bumpy surface. One popular SUV model required nearly 10 percent more braking time (approximately 16 feet) when equipped with one degraded shock.
For additional information regarding automotive ride control components, please visit www.monroe.com, or write to: Monroe Shocks & Struts, One International Drive, Monroe, MI 48161.
Tenneco Automotive is a $4.2 billion manufacturing company with headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois and approximately 18,400 employees worldwide. Tenneco Automotive 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® global brand names. Among its products are Sensa-Trac® and Monroe Reflex® shocks and struts, Rancho® shock absorbers, Walker® Quiet-Flow® mufflers and Dynomax® performance exhaust products, and Monroe® Clevite® vibration control components.
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