There’s no complete definitive answer for how long your helmet should last because there are several factors that can influence and impact when it’ll need replacing.
Usually, it’ll all depend on the grade of the helmet’s lid, but you should always keep in mind that whether you ride every few weeks or each and every single day your helmet will still deteriorate over time.
Generally, though, a motorcycle helmet has about a 5-6 year lifespan.
But that will all depend on how long you’ve had it, the quality of it, and how often it is used.
If well maintained, it has the potential to last for quite a few years but if you do have an accident or the helmet takes any significant impact then you’ll need to replace it immediately as it will no longer be safe.
Most manufacturers will use the 5-year rule, similar to the lifespan of tires.
What Will Happen If You Ride With An Expired Helmet?
Just in case you were thinking about ignoring the 5-year rule, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about what happens if you wear a helmet that has surpassed its expiration date.
For clarification, an expired helmet is one that was made more than seven years ago or has been used for over 5 years.
If you have been in an impact or accident while wearing your helmet it is also considered expired.
Wearing an expired motorcycle helmet is a severe risk to your safety.
You essentially may as well not be wearing one as it won’t protect you as it should.
Sure you’ll have more protection than if you didn’t wear one at all (which by no means am I advising) but your head will not be protected in this instance.
There is a good chance that if you do get into a crash of some kind while wearing an expired helmet you will increase your chance of neck and head injuries.
There is all likelihood that these injuries could be fatal, so it really isn’t worth the risk.
When Should You Buy A New Helmet?
So, when exactly do you need to replace your helmet?
This is super important information to know as in the case of an accident it could be the deciding factor as to whether you live or die therefore this topic should not be taken lightly.
Below you’ll find reasons that it’s time to replace your current helmet.
The Liner Or Shell Is Damaged
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that a helmet is a vital component of safety equipment.
But that is really its only purpose – to keep you safe.
And so therefore it’s likely that with time, at some point or another the helmet will get hit or damaged which is fine because helmets can be replaced; you can’t.
Now, hopefully, you won’t get into any severe crashes or accidents, but even if you don’t there are still plenty of other ways to cause impact and damage to the helmet.
For example, even just dropping your helmet too hard can cause it to be damaged.
If you have damaged either the shell or the inner lining of your helmet, due to whatever reason, you’ll need to replace it immediately.
This is especially the case if the lid hat has been in part of an incident because even if it doesn’t look damaged at first glance, the outer shell can have micro-cracks throughout it which will stop it from protecting you effectively.
It’s Old Or Worn Out
Nothing in this life lasts forever, not us, and not your helmet, either.
If you’ve maintained it well, it may last quite a few years, but it will eventually reach an age where it can no longer service and protect you, and at that point, it’s time to retire it.
After about 5 years or so the padding inside your helmet will start to deform and shrink, so the padding that is protecting your head becomes too thin to do its job effectively.
This is why both safety organizations and manufacturers insist upon this time limit.
It’s not to keep you constantly purchasing helmets, it’s to ensure that should the unthinkable happen, you’ll be protected against a fatality.
Motorcycle Helmet Care Tips To Make It Last Longer
Here are a couple of tips on how to maintain your helmet so that you can get the maximum life out of it.
- Make sure it’s always clean
- When not in use, keep in a cool and dry place where there is no direct sunlight
- Be aware of what is on or beside your helmet – don’t store it next to anything that may damage it (anything too hot or sharp)
- Take extra caution not to scratch or dent it
- Replace damaged or broken parts immediately so that they don’t impact the health of the helmet
- Don’t wear any headgear that is not designed for riding as it may damage the surface of the helmet
Helmets are amazing pieces of protective equipment that can literally be the difference between a severe crash being fatal or you walking away with minor injuries.
However, like most protective equipment they do become worn down and damaged over time which means they do need replacing.
If this happens, it’s really important that you change your helmet to ensure that you are always safe while riding.
If you look after your helmet really well and it doesn’t become damaged, you will still need to replace it after around 5 years because it will still have deformed and worn down throughout this time period.
But now that you’re all set on helmet safety, you should be ready to hit the roads and enjoy your time!
So, what are you waiting for! Get going, and always remember to stay safe!