Lifespan of a Benz Micro MC Silver cartridge?

Mine has just died, and my dealer tells me they're only meant to last 3-5 years. Is this true? Is this typical of all moving coil cartridges?
3 to 5 years is a long time for any cartridge. If you want to count hours, the usual time for replacement would come around 800 to 1000 hours of play. This varies greatly depending on the condition of the records you play, and if they have dirt on them. It could be good even out to 1600 hours, if well taken care of. Even if you don't play the cartridge alot, after 5 years, the rubber donut that is part of the suspension usually gets hard, and is not sounding the same as when new. This is why even a NIB cartridge that is over 5 years old is questionable as to its performance levels. Shelf life of the rubber.
Van Den Hul rates their cartridges at 3000 hours. I think that 1500-2000 is typical. Yours has died prematurely. Tom's point about the rubber donut is well taken, but applies primarily to cartridges produced before the 1990s. Natural rubber and volatile synthetics were replaced by much more stable compounds at that time and this no longer seems to be an issue with modern phono cartridges. Airborne polutants have a lot to do with aging as does photochemical exposure. But assuming that no one smokes in the room and the table is not in direct sunlight it should last a lot longer.
Yes, line contact styli such as VDH will last longer than the conical or regular elliptical, due to the shape. I guess that I change my cartridges a little sooner than Marty does.
No, actually Tom. You probably keep them longer. I usually get bored or roach the cantilever fooling around with alignment at well under 800 hours. The sole exception is my Denon 103D, which I have had since the 70s.
Ooooh! I just hate it when I break a cantilever! Luckily, I never did it on anything expensive, yet.
Aw, jeez, I-I-I-I just hate when that happens, too. Kinda like pokin' your ear with an, um, um, an

"an ice pick?"

yeah, an ice pick. I HATE when I do that.
Actually, that what it usually takes me to break one, just 4yanx.
Thanks, guys!