Many of us spend a lot of money on a good quality helmet (or two or three), so when it comes time to replace your helmet, you may be a bit hesitant. It's understandable. I'm the same way. We like the colors or the style. The fit is great and the padding has that "broken-in" feel, plus new helmets aren't cheap. But helmets are designed to keep our noggins safe during a crash (or lightning strike in some cases) and it's important to maintain your helmet and to replace it when the time comes.
How old is your helmet? Do you have several of them that you rotate through for various Powersports equipment? Have you ever dropped your helmet or been in an accident with it? Does your helmet show signs of having been through Hell and back again? Or, like me, do you ever cram a pair of sun glasses or gloves into your helmet while you're not using it? All of these things could be signs that it's time to replace your helmet.
It's Time to Replace Your Helmet When….
Ultimately, the life of a helmet is dependent on the frequency and intensity of its use. However, there are some key things to watch for that indicate it is time to replace your helmet.
If your helmet has been through even ONE of these things, it is time to replace it.
- Your helmet has been in an accident where it was subject to an impact.
- There are indentations or scratches on the internal EPS or internal absorption layer.
- The comfort padding and/or the synthetic foam padding shows signs of deterioration or has a loose fit.
- Your helmet feels loose (turns to the side when you gently shake your head) even with the retention system fastened.
- Your helmet is older than 5 years old.
While the last one is really just a basic rule of thumb and guideline, it is important to keep in mind that the materials in the helmet will deteriorate over time and be less effective in protecting you during an impact. Glues, resins and other materials used in the helmet can affect liner materials. At the same time, hair oils, sweat and even cosmetics can lend to the degradation of a helmet. Environmental conditions such as temperature changes and dampness of the storage area can also affect the longevity of your helmet.
There are many factors that can slowly degrade a helmet no matter how careful or diligent you are about caring for it. Replacing your helmet every 5 years is a good rule of thumb to follow.
I Dropped My Helmet. Do I Need a New One?
Generally speaking, probably not. Any impact or drop of a helmet may degrade a helmet's performance over time but isn't likely to require a replacement. Even if you drop a helmet at highway speeds you can expect a certain level of degradation, but is it to the point of needing to buy a new one? Not necessarily.
The real damage to a helmet comes from an impact between the helmet and another object when the helmet is in use and secured to your head.
If you have dropped your helmet and you are concerned that the effectiveness of the helmet may be compromised you can try contacting the dealer or the manufacturer to find a place that offers helmet inspections by trained professionals. If that is not an option, we recommend you simply replace the helmet.
Your Safety Is Important
The initial investment in a new helmet can seem somewhat daunting and you may dread the effort required in finding a new helmet so you might try to put it off for a little longer. But when you consider that your helmet is designed to save your life, is the time and monetary investment really that much?
Know when it's time to replace your helmet and keep your noggin safe.
Looking For a Helmet? Give Us a Call!
While GearUp2Go doesn't stock many helmets or list them online (due to the vast number of styles and sizes available and the importance of a proper fit), we can order just about anything you might need from our suppliers. So if you find a helmet that fits, give us a call at 1.800.920.7574 before you buy. We'll check with all of our suppliers to find your helmet at the best possible price.
About the Author: J.M. Stickney is a powersports enthusiast working as the Digital Marketing Manager at GearUp2Go. She loves to ride her Suzuki GSX-R600 on the street or at the track. While not on her bike she spends a lot of time outdoors, writing, reading, running or spending time with her family.