Our helmet is a pretty important accessory when riding a motorcycle. A decent helmet may not be cheap, but it’s an investment that can save your life or prevent a serious head injury. But does your new helmet have durability? Is it something you should replace after a certain amount of time?
How long do motorcycle helmets last?
THE FIVE-YEAR RULE
Once you start digging into the research for an answer, you’re bound to come across the five-year rule, which, as the name suggests, requires you to replace your helmet every five years. The rule is based on a consensus between the Snell Foundation and helmet manufacturers.
Helmets tend to deteriorate as the linear materials in the helmet deteriorate over time. This is due to a number of factors, including adhesives, resins and other materials used in the helmet, body, hair oils and other environmental factors.
What influences the five-year rule?
The five-year rule is a good guide, but it’s not set in stone. There are three main factors that influence the longevity of a helmet:
Useful life: The number of hours or miles it has been worn.
Maintenance: whether it has been cared for. Properly storing your helmet when you’re not using it and keeping it clean and tidy also contribute to a helmet’s longevity.
Initial quality: materials and workmanship matter. A quality helmet will easily last five years, although cheaper helmets may need to be replaced more often.
The five-year rule is not the final answer to how long a helmet will last. Whether your helmet is old or new, it’s important to check it regularly to ensure its integrity is maintained.
Five years is considered by some to be the perfect time to replace your helmet. The technology associated with helmets is rapidly evolving, with new materials and designs offering riders better protection.
Although these improvements are made in small increments over a long period of time, this means that technological changes add up over a three to five year period and are easily noticed.
A regular helmet check will help keep your helmet ready for use. When performing a helmet check, there are a few things you should keep in mind, including:
- Check that the EPS liner is firmly attached to the outer shell.
- Make sure the tethers are in place and not fraying or worn out
- Make sure your clip system is easily attached
- Inspect the outer shell for chips and cracks. While chips can often be repaired, a crack usually means it’s time for a new helmet.
- Make sure the moving parts of the helmet can move freely
- Check that the clip system is working as it should be
After an accident
Regardless of whether your helmet looks damaged, it is best to replace your helmet if you are involved in an accident and hit your head. This is because the foam in the helmet has been dented and will not return to its original shape.
If you continue to use the helmet and have had the misfortune of another accident, the foam in the helmet may not absorb the impact.
The five-year rule is a good general guide. However, the importance of regular wear checks should not be underestimated as not all helmets are the same.