When Do I Need To Replace a Motorcycle Helmet?
Helmets don’t last forever…Hard pill to swallow? No matter how advanced or latest your helmet is, the general rule states that you should replace it after every 5 years.
But this shouldn’t always be the case. Sometimes you might be forced to replace your helmet before it hits the 5-year lifespan.
A helmet comes designed to protect you from ONLY once in an accident. After that, it becomes less effective and you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
In the following post, we’ll outline various incidences in which you should consider replacing your motorcycle helmet with a new one.
Replace your helmet when it becomes of age
We have just said it above…helmets have a lifespan of 5 years.
If your helmet hits this 5-year mark, you’ll need to replace it with a new one to continue enjoying protection.
Why does a helmet have a lifespan?
See, as the years go by, the materials used to make the helmet- including the glue, resins, and other materials- lose their effectiveness. The helmet lining also deteriorates.
As you continue wearing your helmet, it gets exposed to various weather elements, UV rays, dirt, and other elements, which will have an impact on its integrity. These elements end up weakening the resins of your motorcycle helmet and the glues holding it together—making it less effective at protecting you.
Even though your helmet still looks okay after it hits the half-decade mark, you should still go ahead and retire it.
How did they come up with 5-years expiration for helmets?
It’s quite hard to figure out why they set 5 years as the expiration period. No definitive research has been carried out about this.
Nonetheless, most of the manufacturers set 5 years as the expiration period for their products. Snell safety standards also enforce a 5-year policy for helmets.
Shoei, one of the most reputable brand, also recommends you to replace your helmet after 5 years.
Replace your helmet if it gets involved in a crash
As we did mention earlier, some circumstances might force you to replace your helmet before it hits its expiration period.
One such instance is when you get involved in a crash.
A helmet comes designed as a one-time protection type of gear, which explains why you need to replace it after than one crash incident.
You might not see any notable damage on your helmet after a crash and you might convince yourself that it’s still in good condition.
But the truth is, the helmet’s structural integrates following a crash. You might not see this with your bare eyes. And if you get involved in another accident while wearing the same helmet, it won’t provide you with any protection!
Just make a point of replacing your helmet if it gets involved in an accident and your head gets hit.
Replace your helmet if you drop it
Yes, you should also consider replacing you motorcycle helmet if you drop it. don’t get it?
Let’s go through some motorcycle helmet basics…
In a typical helmet, the part that protects your head comprises of the foam and cushioning on its interior of the hard shell. The foam comes specially designed to slow down the sped at which your head travels during an impact—thus, preventing brain damage or severe injuries.
However, foam is a one-time user material. And once it gets compressed, it’s not intended to decompress and continue being affective as before.
If you drop your helmet from a significant height of up to 3 feet or more, it’d be a similar scenario like getting involved in an accident. The effectiveness of your helmet will significantly be affected, so you just consider replacing it with a new one.
Want to prevent helmet drops? Consider securing your helmet to your bike or any other secure point with a helmet lock for motorcycle to keep off accidental drops.
Replace your helmet if it no longer feels comfortable
Another reason why you should replace your helmet before it expires is when it starts getting loose and uncomfortable.
When your helmet is brand new, it fits snugly around your head such that when you move or shake your head, it stays in place.
if you wear your helmet more frequently, it might become loose quickly.
A lose helmet not only feels uncomfortable on your noggin, but it also doesn’t you much protection as a good fitting helmet would (lose-fitting helmets have been shown to cause traumatic brain injury).
If you want to know whether your helmet has become lose, trying shaking your head side to side with the helmet on. The helmet sticks in place, then it’s still in good condition.
If it slides around, however, it means the interior padding has become compacted, and you need to replace it with a new one.
Has your helmet started showing tear and wear signs?
Has your helmet started showing any signs of wear, both inside and on the exterior, before the expiry date?
If yes, then you should also consider replacing it with a new one.
Examine the exterior of your helmet…check if the shell has started developing cracks, falling apart, or has become brittle. If you notice any wear signs, you’ll need to replace your helmet. Remember, the shell is the first thing that makes contact during an accident, s it should remain strong and durable.
Now examine the interior of your helmet. Has the inside started flaking off into your hair or your shoulders? Do you notice any liner cracking signs inside your helmet? All these are signs that your helmet interior structure has weakened and it can’t absorb impact effectively.
NOTE: Hair products can contribute to deterioration of your helmet interior. If you do these products and notice your interior deteriorating quickly, then you already have a culprit.
Replace your helmet if the straps and lock has stopped working
If the straps that come with your helmet stop working correctly, it also means you need a replacement.
As you already know, the chin strap plays a critical role of keeping the helmet on your head.
If it doesn’t work properly, the helmet might fall off your head during an accident and leave your dome exposed.
DONTs of Replacing a Helmet
Don’t buy a use helmet
You might get a good deal on a used helmet and think “why not get it and save myself some cash?”
But before you buy that used helmet, pause and think!
The helmet might look perfectly okay on the outside but you don’t have an idea what it has been through. You don’t know if it has been involved in an accident, how the owner used to treat, if it has been dropped countless times, and so on.
If you really mind your safety on the roads, your best bet is to go for a brand new motorcycle that hasn’t been used before.
Don’t risk your brain just to save a few of dollars. No amount of money is worth your life.
Don’t buy a helmet that has stayed on the shelf for years
Before you purchase a brand new helmet, ask the seller on the prove of date manufacture.
Some helmets stay on the shelves for years, which means they’ll only serve you for the remaining years of their lifespan.
You want to get a model that hasn’t sat on the shelves forever so that it serves you for the set period of 5 years.
TIP: If you want to get the best value for money when looking for a motorcycle helmet, take time to research the helmet you want to buy.
Go through the previous user’s full face, open face, or bluetooth motorcycle helmet reviews to get firsthand info on how that helmet performs.
Though the general rule recommends that you replace your motorcycle helmet after every 5 years, some circumstances might force you to replace it before its expiry date.
You should consider replacing your helmet if it gets involved in a crash, dropped from a higher of 3ft or more, starts showing signs of on the inside as well as outside, or if it becomes lose.
These incidences usually weaken the structural integrity of your helmet, making it less effective at protecting your head.
And when making a replacement, don’t make the mistake of buying a used or a cheaply made model just to save a few bucks.