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Comparing shock absorbers

Understanding the differences: Monroe® OESpectrum vs. Reflex vs. Original





Choosing the best product for any need – whether a computer, mobile phone or even a piece of furniture – can be hard work. It can be even more difficult when it comes to vehicle parts such as tires, brake pads, wipers and ride control components. This is because many of the most important differences are not easily visible.

Consider shock absorbers and struts, for example. Global ride control brand Monroe offers several designs to meet the unique requirements of each corresponding vehicle. Monroe OESpectrum…Monroe Reflex…Monroe Original – each of these options shares a four-speed valving technology that helps enhance control of vehicle roll, squat and dive. This, in turn, helps improve driving safety and comfort.


But there are also significant differences between these Monroe designs. The key is to identify which of these products offers the right blend of benefits for your vehicle or customer.

Making the right choice is important. New shocks and struts help protect driver and passenger safety by controlling vehicle body roll, improving steering precision and reducing braking distance. They should also improve comfort by eliminating noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) before it reaches the car’s interior. 


Choosing the right shocks and struts can even make a vehicle more exciting to operate and own – and who doesn’t want that?

Given these possibilities, let compare these three Monroe shock and strut designs:


Monroe OESpectrum vs. Monroe Reflex


Monroe OESpectrum and Reflex shocks are premium-level replacement units for passenger vehicles.

The following are some important differences to consider when selecting between the two:

  • As its name implies, the Monroe OESpectrum range features the full spectrum of the Monroe brand’s latest original equipment valving technologies. In fact, many of these technologies – offered with monotube or twin-tube shock construction, based on the vehicle – are preferred by several of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers and can be found in late-model sedans, coupes, crossovers, SUVs and more. Given this modern engineering focus, the OESpectrum range is continually being expanded with new late-model car references.





  • OESpectrum shocks feature an exclusive design called M-RTECH2 Rebound Valve Technology, which provides virtually instantaneous feedback and response to changing driving conditions. This results in excellent road-holding capability, a smoother ride and increased driver control and confidence.


  • Another important advantage of OESpectrum units is their new impact control valve (ICV) design. This compression valve is designed to offer faster, more consistent response under conditions of high-compression stress, such as when driving at relatively high speed over potholes, speed limiters, road bumps and when operating the vehicle off-road. The new ICV valve features a new, “clamp-disk” design with high-resistance, lightweight disks that help provide much faster reaction speed.


  • Monroe OESpectrum shocks and struts include several additional improvements over Reflex units. The piston rod is protected by a stronger chromium plating.  An improved top oil seal, along with a new semi-synthetic oil, help further enhance durability. These improvements and others enable Monroe to offer OESpectrum units with the brand’s first five-year warranty for a replacement shock. By comparison, Monroe Reflex shocks are offered with a two-year warranty.

Monroe Original


Monroe Original shocks and struts include the same technologies that were originally specified as OE for millions of passenger vehicles. If the vehicle came from the factory with gas-charged twin-tube shocks, the Monroe Original replacement shock will, too.  If monotube construction was the OE choice, the same design will be offered in the Monroe Original range.


Unlike some competing shocks, Monroe Original shocks and struts are engineered to compensate for the normal wear and tear that might have affected the vehicle’s springs and other suspension components. This helps ensure noticeably improved ride and handling after the repair.

Monroe Original shocks and struts are covered by a two-year limited warranty.


More Choices. More Possibilities.


Remember, there are many choices of shocks and struts for most passenger vehicles. Some will offer a premium ride, outstanding control and longer service life.  Some will match the technology that originally came with the vehicle. Some are designed for more punishing loads and almost around-the-clock use.  Some will help restore proper ride control performance at a more economical price.

The same range of choices is available for utility/light-commercial and heavy-duty vehicles, whether a delivery van or over-the-road truck, trailer or bus. Here are some addition choices:


Monroe Van-Magnum Shocks


Monroe Van-Magnum shocks are engineered to handle the heavier loads and extreme use of   utility vehicles. They feature an oversize design, reinforced welds and piston rods that are manufactured from industrial-strength steel and coated with a wear-resistant chrome.


Monroe Magnum Commercial Vehicle Shocks


Monroe Magnum commercial vehicle axle shocks are engineered and built to enhance vehicle control and safety and driver comfort under true heavy-duty operating conditions.  These shocks include an array of design enhancements – high-strength steel, reinforced welds, high-temperature resistant sealing system, single-bond bushing and more – to help vehicle owners achieve longer service life and lower operating costs.








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.


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