Are you looking for the answer to the question “Do motorcycle helmets expire”? If yes, you’ve landed at the right place!
For motorcyclists, a helmet is a must-have item. It’s one of the important gears required to ensure compliance with traffic laws. At the same time, it will protect your head if an accident occurs.
Each helmet’s durability and lifetime are different, depending on its quality. However, if the helmet doesn’t break after a long time of use, how often should you replace it?
Not all users know exactly about this. That’s why you should read this article carefully. We will reveal to you all the necessary information you shouldn’t miss. Let’s get started!
How Long Do Motorcycle Helmets Last?
Motorcycleclick.com bet that you’ve received an overwhelming number of answers to this question. Some manufacturers said that their products could work well for 5 years, 7 years, or even 10 years and more.
As mentioned above, there isn’t a fixed period for replacing your helmet. For example, if your helmet breaks soon after one or two years, purchasing another one is necessary.
However, it isn’t recommended to use your gear for more than 10 years, even when there is no sign of damage. Every 5 to 7 years is the right time to replace a new helmet. Certainly, the quality of your item must be high enough to stay for such a period.
As usual, some products will include expiry dates on them. For example, you can see information such as “Exp date: 1st January, 2022” or “do not use this helmet after January, 2022” that you can know when you should replace it.
On the contrary, many products don’t show this information. That’s why you should, based on your helmet’s condition, replace it when needed.
Constituents Of Helmet
Depending on the design of each helmet, their parts may vary. However, there are some key and fixed parts that any product must have.
This is the hard outer surface that you can easily see. It covers the entire helmet and is responsible for protecting the internal components.
Usually, this part is made from polycarbonate, carbon fiber, Kevlar molded plastics, etc., or a combination of these materials. This surface is often carefully calculated in terms of thickness and hardness to increase the ability to protect the head from impact or friction.
Foam liner is an essential part of most helmets. It’s located between the outliner and one padding layer above your head.
This part acts as a shock absorber. It will absorb most of the impact force and move that energy if a collision occurs to reduce the force on the head.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is often chosen as the material for the manufacture of this lining. Depending on the product, the foam density will be different.
Some higher-end products will have a dense foam density, creating a hard and firm lining. They will also have ESP foam on the chin and cheeks for more comprehensive protection.
This is the separation between the foam liner and head. It will be in direct contact with your scalp, so comfort is one of the most important factors to pay attention to when choosing this detail.
It holds the role of fixing the helmet firmly on your head. Therefore, each helmet will have a different padding layer design to suit each user.
Open-cell foam and clothes are the two main materials for this detail. Usually, it is a removable part that you can wash or replace when needed.
Chin Straps And Buckle
This part is fixed just below the chin when wearing. It will fix and keep the helmet from falling off your head in the event of an accident.
The chin strap is usually made from woven material and has a soft pad. It’s durable and comfortable simultaneously and won’t hurt you even when wearing it for a long time.
Metal and plastic are 2 common materials chosen for buckles. The design of the buckle will vary depending on the type of hat, but the prerequisite is that it must always be sturdy.
Reasons Given For Replacing A Helmet
Many people will wonder why they have to spend money to replace a new one when their item is still usable. Of course, some reasons make you consider doing this after a certain time.
The main use of a helmet is to protect your head. After a long time, there are many factors that make it unsatisfactory for continued use.
Undoubtedly, your safety is the priority. So even when you don’t see any signs of damage or tear, purchasing yourself a new one is essential.
The Helmet’s Condition
The most visible part of a helmet is the outer one, such as the outer shell or chin straps. If these parts are damaged, you can see them easily and immediately replace them.
However, there are many cases where your item has become unqualified without showing any signs. For example, after being exposed to many weather conditions, plastic parts will lose quality, become hard, and break easily.
You don’t realize it and keep using your helmet. This is extremely dangerous, especially when unexpected accidents happen.
Moreover, the inner parts like the foam liner are very difficult to check to know when you should replace your item. The only way you can do this is to remove all the parts of your helmet.
Humidity And Smell
When you wear a helmet, the airflow inside will be tight and less breathable. This also makes your scalp sweat more, gradually moistening the lining inside the helmet.
If this goes on for a long time, your item will become extremely wet. Unless you clean it properly, your item can create mold and smell.
A quality helmet will come with a removable inner lining. It allows you to take it off to clean and wash after a long time when the pad becomes wet from sweat and oil from the scalp.
However, most helmets don’t support this feature. So, instead of purchasing the new liner to replace, you can buy a new helmet only.
As Motorcycleclick.com mentioned above, the weather is one of the most popular reasons that degrades your helmet. Certainly, you have to ride a motorbike under different conditions so you can’t avoid the impacts of this factor.
High temperatures create wear and tear. If you constantly leave your helmet in the sun, it will break the inner linings and cause the plastic parts to melt.
Heavy rain will seep into the internal components and make them susceptible to moisture. The outer shell will become brittle, easy to break if not stored properly, and avoid contact with water for too long.
Although the rate of deterioration will depend on how you use and store it, weather conditions will degrade your helmet. This reason will convince you to pay more attention to replacing your helmet.
After a long time of use, you may feel that your helmet is not as comfortable as before. There are many reasons for this that Motorcycleclick.com can mention 2 main ones:
Low breathability: After you use it for a long time, the ventilation slots of the helmet can become clogged with dirt. They will reduce the level of ventilation and make the air inside more stuffy.
Inner’s parts quality: The quality of the parts will change over time. After degradation, the inner linings or foam liner will not be able to bring you the inherent comfort and security.
If your trip is short, this uncomfortable feeling won’t make too much of an impact. However, imagine when you have to go through an hour-long trip; wearing such a helmet is a big challenge.
Technology changes very quickly over time, and so does your helmet. If you’ve been using an item purchased about 10 years ago, you’ve probably overlooked some of the great things that today’s helmets have.
Hi-tech helmets will include Bluetooth connectivity so you can easily answer your phone while riding. Or you observe behind you thanks to the mini screen without having to turn your head, which reduces the chance of a traffic accident.
Hence, replacing a helmet not only ensures your safety but also supports you more on your trip. Every time you want to purchase a new one, looking for a product with many outstanding features is a good choice.
If your helmet has an expiry date, replacing it is a must. Using it after the expiration may lead to unexpected risks.
When producing, manufacturers have taken into account the product life and performance of the parts and components. After the expiry date, they will no longer work as well as before, and this won’t guarantee safety during your trip.
Helmet Safety Checks
Maybe you’ve heard about many ways to check the helmet. This article will show you the guideline that you should base on to find out the best item that ensures your safety.
The Right Fit
Your helmet can protect you most comprehensively when it properly fits you. It will reduce the majority of injuries and impacts caused by accidents.
So, how to check the right fit? It’s advisable to do this step when choosing a new helmet. You can find the most suitable one for you instead of purchasing the wrong one and needing to replace it.
Each person will have a different head size and shape, so you should consider your needs carefully. It would be better if you spend more time trying different kinds of helmets as you’ll have more chances to choose the best overall.
You can follow this process to check your helmet fit comprehensively:
Measure: Remember to measure your head size first. This is very important because the size affects the ability to protect and determines the comfort when wearing.
Measure the head circumference above the ear and at the level of the forehead. Take note of this, and it will be easy for you to ask for more information when choosing a helmet.
Try it on: After choosing an item that you like, try it on. Wearing a helmet in the right way is when you can fit two fingers between your chin and the straps without feeling too tight or too wide.
When taking off the hat, look for any red marks caused by the size being too tight. Wearing the item you choose for at least 3 or 4 minutes ensures it’s totally comfortable after a period.
Check the fit: Now, start to check its fit by turning your helmet to left and right, and the suitable one will turn your head too. If your helmet slips or moves, this means it’s too wide, and you need to choose one with a smaller size.
Do the same by trying to move the helmet forward and backward. You can also repeat it several times to make sure it really fits.
The last step is leaning your body forward then asking someone to push the helmet out of your head from behind. If it falls off easily, choose another more suitable one.
Check Inner And Outer Parts
The outer shell is an important part as it will be directly impacted by objects or surfaces when an accident or impact occurs. This part is easy to check as you can observe it and check the edges thoroughly.
Check to see if your helmet has any scratches or cracks. These are signs of a collision or friction before. Even when there is no sign, checking your helmet carefully is a must.
Don’t ignore the color of the helmet. If you see the outer shell is faded, this means it has been exposed to UV rays from the sun for a long time.
Such an outer shell can become very brittle and break easily. Therefore, it cannot guarantee your safety, especially when a collision occurs.
Strap And Buckle
Check To see if your struts are worn. Usually, old and worn straps are easy to see. However, there will be small cuts that you need to check carefully in full light conditions to notice.
About the buckle, make sure that it doesn’t lack any parts. Some poor-quality products will have a rather loose lock, and you can even easily unlock it if you pull hard. That’s why you should spend time testing it and make sure it’s totally safe to use.
An inner liner includes the foam liner and a lining layer made from clothes. You can only check it most easily and thoroughly when you take the parts apart.
The fabric lining must be intact with the fabric pieces stitched together. Some old helmets will have this part torn or discolored due to sweat from the scalp.
The inner foam layer is very important because it will be responsible for absorbing most of the impact force of the collision. Make sure that this lining is thick and even enough and that there is no chipping in any part.
How Often Should You Replace A Motorcycle Helmet?
So, when do motorcycle helmets expire? When should you replace your helmet? It’s dependent on your helmet’s condition.
Why do motorcycle helmets expire? There are many reasons for it, and you should check some below to know when to replace it:
After An Accident
After an incident, if an impact occurs, your helmet isn’t advised to continue using. This is something that a lot of people often overlook.
You observe and don’t see any damaged parts; you assume it’s usable and still works well. However, there will be broken internal details that you can hardly check.
As Motorcycleclick.com mentioned above, the foam liner will absorb most of the force from the accident. And this ability will be decreased after each impact. It may have broken or cracked, but with hats with non-removable lining, you can’t check.
For this reason, if an accident occurs and there is a collision at the head part, you should replace your helmet after that even when you find no sign of damage or break.
After You Drop It
If you just accidentally dropped it at a fairly high altitude, this doesn’t matter. Maybe it will cause some small scratches but not affect other parts.
Or you drop it on softer surfaces like lawns or cushions, don’t worry. Your item can still work well and ensure its quality.
However, if you drop it on a hard surface or at a relatively high height, consider replacing it. This creates a large impact force on the helmet, similar to a traffic accident.
Some helmets can even break the outer shell or other details when you accidentally drop them. These parts are not designed to be strong enough, and they will break more easily when larger impacts occur.
Damaged Strap Or Buckle
It is essential to check these details regularly to make sure the helmet is in good condition for continued use. Once having used it for a long time, you will recognize it by the signs on the straps and buckle.
The straps get frayed easily after a long time. In case you find they’re fraying on or even signs of rips, cuts, replace your helmet.
Straps are responsible for fixing the hat on your head, so once worn, it’s very easy to break. This means the helmet can fall off your head if you fall.
Similar to straps, the buckle will also secure the hat to ensure your safety. If any part of it falls out or it starts to become loose, replace it with a new one.
For this detail, you will need to check more closely. Because some products that the buckle will fail first while other parts still work well.
A worn outliner is the clearest evidence of previous bumps or rubbings. When you find that there are too many scratches on the outliner, consider buying a new helmet.
As mentioned above, if the outer liner is faded, you should also remove your helmet. Excessive use will degrade it and make it more fragile.
Furthermore, if your outline is still fresh, check the edges and details. You will need to buy a new one when you see cracks or any missing parts.
It Becomes Fragile
Do you feel that your helmet is no longer as sturdy as it was in the beginning? Is it not as comfortable as it was when you first bought it? Replace a new one!
The quality of a helmet will degrade over time. The parts will gradually wear out, and this is the reason for the reduced performance.
After Expiry Date
When your helmet comes with an expiry date, always adhere to that period. The manufacturer has carefully calculated the time that the parts begin to wear out and no longer work as well as they originally did.
Don’t use it after the expiration date. Even if you can’t find any signs of impact or breakage, purchasing a new one is a must.
5 To 7 Years Rule
The recommended interval for helmet replacement is between 5 and 7 years. Even if you already have a high-quality helmet with many outstanding features, this is just enough time to replace it to ensure your safety on the trip.
Overall, we’ve provided you with all the necessary information. Expectedly, you’ve had your answer to the question “Do motorcycle helmets expire?”
It’s advisable to replace your helmet each 5 to 7 years. However, it’s dependent on your helmet’s condition that this time can be sooner.
Don’t forget to check the “Helmet Safety Checks” part to check your helmet and make sure it’s still quality enough to use. Or check the website Motorcycleclick.com for more information about helmets.