How old is your helmet? if you have worn your helmet for over 5 years, then it might be time to replace it.
But why should you replace your helmet every 5 years? After 5 years of consistent wear and tear, your helmet will have more than likely weakened. I know it may look like it is in perfect condition but you should consider its age and the impact it has on the components of the helmet.
If you wear your helmet consistently, it becomes exposed to weather, dirt, UV rays, and other elements that you may not think about having an effect on the integrity of your helmet. These elements ultimately weaken the resins and glues that hold it together.
Although there is no definitive research on this, the 5 year age expiration date is enforced by most manufacturers. There are other factors that can play into the lifespan of your helmet. So even though 5 years is the recommended age limit for a replacement, it could be a few years less or more.
2 – Usage
If you wear your helmet every day, it becomes exposed to constant wear and tear. It may not be entirely apparent but consistent use weakens the integrity of your helmet over time.
You can compare it to riding your bike or driving your car every day. As the miles stack up, you need to either perform more maintenance or purchase a new one.
3 – Have You Been In An Accident?
This should be completely obvious but this fact needs to be mentioned. If you have experienced an accident then it may be time for a new helmet. You need to thoroughly check your helmet and possibly get it x-rayed for any damage.
Wearing a broken helmet will not serve you any protection. I can’t stress this enough. Do not wear a helmet that has been in an accident. It is simply not worth your life to save a few dollars.
4 – Helmet Becomes Loose
When you buy a new helmet it fits very snug. If you turn or shake your head it remains stuck to your noggin like glue.
To determine if your helmet has loosened try this test. Shake your head side-to-side. Does it remain stuck to your head or does it slide around? If your helmet slides around while shaking your head, this means your padding has become compacted and may be time for a replacement. You can also check for indentations in the foam lining.
Your helmet should hug your head firmly. You do not want to be in an accident wearing a loose helmet. Traumatic brain injury has been linked to loose-fitting helmets so make sure yours fits tightly or get a new one.
5 – Interior Starts Deteriorating
Usually, it is not the outside shell that deteriorates first. It is typically the lining and foam inside of the helmet. If the inside of your helmet starts to flake off into your hair or onto your shoulders, that is a good sign you need a helmet replacement.
Whether this happens after 3 years of use or 5, I would seriously consider purchasing a new helmet. Since the EPS liner is usually painted black, you can also check for tiny white cracks forming inside of your helmet.
If this happens that means the integrity of the helmet is weakening and will not be able to absorb impact effectively. Be mindful if you use hair product as that can assist in deteriorating the insides of your helmet.
6 – Exterior Start Deteriorating
If the shell of your helmet becomes brittle, has cracks, or begins to fall apart then you need to replace your helmet. I’m hoping this is obvious but just want to make sure that wearing a helmet in this weakened condition is not safe.
The shell is the first point of contact during an accident. Therefore this part should be very strong and durable. Any cracks in the shell will instantly expose your head to injury if you are in an accident.
7 – Strap or Lock Failure
Have the straps stopped working properly on your helmet? For those of you who wear your helmets often you may notice that your strap locks have become corroded due to weather and dirt.
Your helmet chin strap is a critical component to keeping your helmet on your head. If this part does not work properly then it might be time to buy a new helmet or find a chin strap replacement.