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Whose shocks are you riding on?
Yes, the choice really matters.




Chances are you have never seen your vehicle’s shock absorbers. After all, they are largely hidden beneath your vehicle, where they will perform their safety-critical function millions of times over multiple years of reliable service. In fact, you might not even think about your shocks until an obvious warning sign, such as a clunking sound or sudden change in steering performance, catches your attention.  More likely, your first notice of your car’s shocks will occur when a mechanic at your local auto workshop advises you it is time to invest in new shock absorbers to help keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.

Many vehicle owners think of shock absorbers merely as “comfort” components since they help absorb road-induced noise, vibration and harshness. In truth, shocks are vital to safe driving. Think about what happens when a wheel hits a pothole – it naturally rebounds away from the road surface. By preventing this “wheel hop” and controlling the resulting movement of the vehicle’s suspension, shocks help maintain firm tire-to-road contact and overall vehicle stability. In addition, increased tire grip contributes to steering precision and stopping performance.


Shocks do wear out over time – just like your tires and brakes. The rate of wear can vary based on road condition, driving style, vehicle loads and other factors.  Therefore, it is important to have your shocks inspected every 20,000 km. And if a professional tells you it is time for new shocks, be sure to select replacements that were engineered and constructed to provide the performance, safety and reliability you deserve.


Understanding the Differences: Original Equipment vs. Aftermarket


“Original equipment,” or “OE”, is a term you are likely to encounter when researching any replacement auto part. Another common term is “aftermarket.” Understanding the differences – and, in some cases, similarities – between these terms is key to selecting the right replacement shock absorbers for your vehicle.

OE parts are those that were installed in the factory during the vehicle assembly process. When your vehicle was new, it was equipped with four OE shock absorbers. OE parts are manufactured by suppliers that have met the vehicle manufacturer’s strict standards for quality and performance.

Aftermarket parts are components designed specifically for the repair/replacement market. These components can vary in quality and performance based on a variety of factors, including the manufacturer’s expertise. In some cases, however, aftermarket parts meet – or even exceed – the quality and performance of OE parts. In others, aftermarket parts might not provide the same quality, performance and/or durability, but might be less expensive than the OE parts.

It is never a good idea to compromise vehicle safety and performance by settling for a lower quality replacement shock absorber, brake pad or other part. After all, these parts are intended to help protect your safety. The best approach is to find a high-quality aftermarket part that was engineered and manufactured by a respected supplier that also manufactures OE parts. In other words, when it is time to replace your shock absorbers, it is important to know whose products you will be counting on for safe, reliable performance on the road ahead.




More than 100 years ago the brand now known as Monroe was established in the U.S. Within its first decade, Monroe became one of the predominant brands of shock absorbers for the OE and replacement markets. In 1926, the company introduced the Monroe “Shock Eliminator,” which soon replaced carriage springs on early passenger vehicles. In 1929, Monroe invented the double-action shock, an early version of the shock absorbers found on today’s vehicles.

A full century and millions of customers later, Monroe is one of the largest suppliers of shock absorbers installed in vehicle manufacturing plants and workshops around the globe. In 2019 alone, Monroe manufactured more than 100 million shocks, and an estimated 800 million* kilometers are driven each day on these trusted products. One in every five* vehicles manufactured worldwide is originally equipped with Monroe shocks, the ultimate endorsement of the brand’s commitment to quality, innovation and value. On this page you can find the full list of leaders who ride on Monroe.


The link between OE and aftermarket technology is a key benefit of choosing Monroe shocks. As an OE supplier, Monroe gains unique insight to vehicle manufacturers’ desired ride and handling characteristics for new vehicle models. The corresponding Monroe OE shocks play important roles in helping automakers deliver a superior ride experience. Years later, when many of these vehicles enter the aftermarket repair/replacement cycle, their owners can count on the availability of genuine Monroe aftermarket shocks featuring the same vehicle-specific technologies.

Another advantage of this OE expertise is the “halo” of quality that comes through working with many of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers. Meeting OE requirements is exceedingly difficult; it means maintaining an intense focus on quality in every daily engineering and production process. As a result, every Monroe shock is designed and manufactured by highly skilled professionals working in state-of-the-art facilities, including the brand’s expansive European OE and aftermarket production complex in Gliwice, Poland.



An Electrifying Ride


Vehicle suspensions are becoming more sophisticated each model year. One leading trend is the adoption of highly advanced electronic suspensions which continually sense and respond to changes in the driving environment. The Monroe Intelligent Suspension brand is a leading player in this fast-emerging OE category, with a variety of semi active suspension solutions covering a variety of passenger vehicle, including models from Audi, BMW, Ford, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

To support customers whose vehicles are equipped with one of these adaptive suspensions, Monroe also offers innovative, exact-replacement Monroe RideSense™ electronic shock absorbers for the aftermarket.  These “plug-and-play” units are identical to the electronic shocks installed as original equipment on many popular vehicle models, so consumers can count on like-new ride and handling performance following the repair.




The introduction of Monroe RideSense electronic shock absorbers is just the latest of countless ride performance innovations from this legendary brand. Just as Monroe engineers work each day with vehicle manufacturers to design and deliver a superior ride on new models, they are also incorporating many of their latest OE-inspired ideas in Monroe aftermarket shocks, including conventional passive (non-electronic) shocks, valves and add-on valves. One of the latest Monroe innovations for the OE market is the Monroe RideRefine™ RC1 valve, which utilizes Frequency Dependent Damping to filter high-frequency wheel motions common when driving on brought roads. This new valve technology is now available on many Monroe passive shock absorbers installed as original equipment. 

Every vehicle model is engineered to provide a unique ride and handling experience. Monroe OE shock engineers meet these requirements by designing innovative, high-quality shocks for each corresponding model. This same approach can be seen in the Monroe aftermarket range, where each shock absorber is designed and tuned to provide a truly OE-style ride. For more than a century, this approach has helped make Monroe a leading choice among vehicle manufacturers, mechanics and – above all – drivers worldwide.



The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.
*The calculation for 800 million kilometers is based on Monroe's OE and Aftermarket shock absorber production and the average kilometers driven. The calculation for 1/5 of all new passenger vehicle models is based on worldwide light vehicle production and Monroe's OE shock absorber production of 2019.


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