If you ride a motorcycle regularly, you’ll understand the necessity of your helmet, and you use it pretty often. However, with such regularity in its usage, you might be confused about when to replace a motorcycle helmet. There’s a general rule in the motorcycle industry for a helmet replacement period. You have to change your motorcycle helmet every 5 years of usage.
The need for replacement might be due to frequent falling of the helmet or even heavy sweat, leaving the inner lining off service. Though this may sound awkward to many, there are still other conditions that could prompt a rider to opt for helmet replacement. So, in this article, you’ll understand when to replace your helmet and how to tell if your helmet is still good.
Quick Article Navigation
- 1 Do Motorcycle Helmets Really Expire?
- 2 When to Replace a Motorcycle Helmet?
- 3 How Do I Know If My Helmet Is Still Good?
- 4 Conclusion
Do Motorcycle Helmets Really Expire?
A good helmet will always appear sturdy and bright. However, since it is meant to protect the head of motorcycle riders, we don’t easily connect it to things that will undergo biodegradation. So, one may wonder if a motorcycle helmet even expires in the first place. Though there are no given expiration dates for helmets, there comes a period that demands you make a replacement.
Manufacturers suggest that a helmet should be replaced every seven years from the manufacturing date and after five years from its first use. You see the helmet manufacturing date from the date stamp inside the helmet. The stamp is like a label with a date print in the YY/MM/DD or MM/YY format.
When to Replace a Motorcycle Helmet?
A helmet has no specified expiration date, but it doesn’t last forever either. There comes a time when you will need to change your helmet. But the quality and durability of a helmet will invariably depend on the manner and frequency of usage and maintenance culture. However, with all conditions kept constant, you should still replace the helmet after every five years.
Here are some signs to know when to replace a motorcycle helmet
1. Manufacturing/Using Date
The age of your helmet is very important to ascertain whether you can replace it or not. Manufacturers recommend a change of helmet after seven years from its production date. This is to ensure that the helmet has not lost its protective ability due to age.
Also, you should change your helmet every five years from its first use. This’s because continuous usage exposes the helmet to wear and tear, which will weaken its grip. Though it may appear to be perfect on you, there are some defects on it caused by several factors, including time.
The helmet’s quality will change with much exposure to weather conditions like rain, sun rays (UV rays), dirt, and others. This is because the elements alter the manufacturing components of the helmet, such as the glue and resin, and makes them weak.
Also, some regulatory bodies like Snell Safety Standards play their part. They demand full compliance from manufacturers to maintain the five years replacement rule on helmet replacement.
2. Frequency of usage
With continuous or daily usage, a helmet becomes loose and weak. Such frequency usually increases the wear and tear of the object after some time. So, you will notice the need for the replacement of your helmet.
3. Failed Strap
The strap of a helmet is what helps to keep it fitted and tight on your head. Once the strap is no longer functional, it could pose a safety issue if you continue to use the helmet. One of the reasons for a strap to fail or the lock to stiffen is much or daily exposure to dirt and weather. This will make the strap lock corrode. A failed strap will result in a replacement for your helmet.
4. Helmet Loses Fitting
At the time of purchase, it should fit you perfectly and tight. However, with time, the helmet may loosen and move around your head. A simple test is by shaking your head from side to side. If the helmet remains stuck on your head, it’s an indication that the helmet is still fitted and good. But where it slides as you shake your head, the helmet has become loose and needs replacement.
A well-fitted helmet should firmly hug your head. This will give you protection from traumatic brain injury if peradventure you are involved in an accident. If you find it hard to fit inside your helmet, that indicates it’s time to look for motorcycle helmets for big heads instead of pushing the limits of the existing one.
5. Involved in Accident
Where you have been involved in an accident with your helmet, the helmet might be compromised. To ensure that it can still give you the needed protection, check it thoroughly.
The ideal test is an x-ray check that will indicate if the helmet has any damage. A broken or damaged helmet can’t protect your head in an accident. Once there’s a compromise from the x-ray check, you should replace the helmet.
6. Deteriorating Interior
The first part of a helmet that deteriorates is the interior. Though the outside may appear to be perfectly fine, the lining and foam within the helmet can start flaking off. This may even happen before three to five years of the helmet’s usage.
Also, you can check if there are cracks within the interior of the helmet. As the EPS lining has black painting, such cracks will show off with white. Such situations demand that you change your helmet.
7. Deteriorating Exterior
Just like the interior, the exterior of your helmet can also deteriorate, even faster. When the shell has cracks, becomes brittle, or starts falling off, it shows a gradual deterioration of the exterior of your helmet.
You must understand that the shell or exterior is the first part to receive impact in accident cases. So, it must remain strong and intact to offer the needed protection for your head. Thus, any sign of deterioration requires that you take immediate action of replacement.
How Do I Know If My Helmet Is Still Good?
Most times, the physical appearance of your helmet may not give you the true picture of its quality and integrity. There could be things beyond your eyes can see when you want to ascertain if your helmet is still good.
Here are some of the signs and checks that indicate your helmet is still good.
- If the manufacturing date of the helmet is still below seven years.
- If the period of usage is still below five years from the date of its first use.
- When you have not been involved in an accident while wearing the helmet.
- If there are no deteriorating signs, both within the interior and exterior part of the helmet.
- If the strap lock still snaps in perfectly and fits you securely.
- When the helmet isn’t loose on your head.
A motorcycle helmet offers protection to the riders in cases of accidents by keeping their head away from injuries. Irrespective of the size of your head, you will definitely find the right one for yourself. Thankfully, there are many motorcycle helmets for both big and small heads to explore in the market, be sure to get the size right with a snug fit one.
Once you’ve been wearing a helmet for long enough, you should know when to replace a motorcycle helmet. It will lose its integrity in several factors and conditions. That includes the deterioration of the interior or exterior, failed strap, loose-fitting and prolonged daily usage. However, you must know that the general rule is to replace your helmet every five years of first use or after seven years from the date of manufacturing.