The questions a lot of riders have but not many ask: how long are motorcycle helmets good for and do they have a lifespan? The answers? They do have a lifespan. How long is it? On average, a helmet can serve for about 5 years or so. However, if you damage it before that time, you’ll need to replace it immediately. Remember, better safe than sorry!
How long do motorcycle helmets last?
What contributes to helmet degradation?
As I’ve just mentioned, the motorcycle helmet lifespan is 5 years (or 60 months). Wondering who’s coined this “five-year rule” and what exact reasons stand behind it?
As it turns out, this rule has been applied by the Snell Foundation (yep, the one with the strictest standard safety ratings) and helmet producers. This decision was made on a consensus that materials such as glue, resins, foam liner, paints, etc. that a helmet is made of tend to degrade over time and thus weaken its performance and impact resistance.
Whether it’s just a measure of precaution or there was some fundamental research behind this judgment, I can’t say, but it does make sense. Seeing that even untouched gear tends to wear out during about the same time kind of proves the point. However, age is not the only factor. The other three factors that notably affect the life of your gear are: how extensively you use it, how good it’s built, and how you care for it overall.
So to get some point, although this five-year rule exists, it doesn’t mean that once the helmet passes the mark of 5 years, it’ll become all weak and ineffective. Just like it doesn’t mean that you should wait until the end of this term if you have noticed signs of deterioration. The risk is not worth it!
When to replace your motorcycle helmet?
- You’ve been involved in a crash or collision.
- You’ve noticed that a helmet liner or retention system has lost its stiffness or shows signs of deterioration.
- The helmet doesn’t adjust to your head properly because the padding inside the helmet has become too soft. Run a quick test: fasten the retention system and shake your head. If the helmet turns to the side, it’s time to replace it.
- Things such as scratches and indentations in the liner indicate that the deterioration process has already started and it’s best to replace the motorcycle helmet.
Does a motorcycle helmet deteriorate when it is in the warehouse?
Though we’ve already stated that age isn’t the primary reason for the helmet’s deterioration, it will deteriorate nevertheless even if you keep it in the warehouse and never actually put your head in it. As a rule, this happens in the period of 5-7 years, the exact term specified by the Snell Foundation.
Do all helmets have a lifespan of approximately 5 years?
The average lifespan of a helmet is 5 years, however, this number may vary based on the initial quality of the helmet. If you go for a novelty helmet that doesn’t follow the safety regulations, for example, more likely than not, it will wear out well before that time.
What to do with an old motorcycle helmet
If you live in an area where recycling is available, you could recycle some of the helmet parts. Some wonder if it’s possible to reuse the helmet. Well, I strongly recommend against doing so. Even if you replaced some of its parts, no one would give you a guarantee that the helmet would be safe and provide the needed protection. The only viable option, in this case, would be to repurpose the expired helmet and do something artistic with it.