Do Motorcycle Helmets Expire? (Why, When, and How)
A helmet is one of the major ways to ensure your head safety during any motorcycle ride. A properly fitted helmet can minimize your head injury chance up to 85%. Even if accidents seem infrequent, they can happen. So it’s important to be prepared.
But, a question may come to your mind before buying a motorcycle helmet, “Do motorcycle helmets expire?” This question is most common among motorcycle riders who are just getting started.
At first look, a motorcycle helmet does not seem expire able. But, it expires throughout its life. In other words, a helmet degrades and loses its efficiency for many reasons throughout time.
This article will explain all possible reasons for how, when, and why motorcycle helmets expire. To get rid of all of your confusion, stay with us till the end of the article. We hope this article will be helpful to you in one way or another.
Let’s get into the main discussion!
How Long Do Helmets Last?
A motorcycle helmet can last for five years, according to helmet industry standards. But if any accident happens, you should not use it anymore.
After using a motorcycle helmet for five years, you should replace it. Because glues, resins, hair oils, cosmetics, and other materials used in helmet production can affect lining materials throughout this time. Moreover, Petroleum-based chemicals used in cleansers, paints, fuels, etc., may damage motorcycle helmets, or reduce performance.
However, this degradation time may vary depending on various factors. Helmets do wear out with use, but there is no evidence that a well-maintained, undamaged helmet will lose its capacity after five years. As with anything, deterioration is gradual. Any average helmet under moderate use will need replacement after five-year.
Furthermore, a lower-quality motorcycle helmet may get damaged before five years of hard use.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Have An Expiration Date?
There is no fixed deadline for motorcycle helmets to expire. It depends on the manufacturing date of the helmet. The motorcycle helmets expire but don’t include any specific “Best Before” or “Expiration” date.
The DOT FMVSS-218 Standard orders the use of a “manufactured date” label. According to DOT FMVSS-218 Standard, “Manufacturers should indicate the issuance date on a sticker inside of the helmet, also at the back of the shell. The date of issue may differ from the date of manufacture.”
By checking the manufactured date, you can identify the age of a motorcycle helmet. Moreover, it’s the standard by which helmet manufacturers determine when you should replace yours. Hence, before you buy a new motorcycle helmet, make sure to check the manufacturer’s date.
Motorcycle helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years after the “manufacture date.” It means you may need to replace your helmet sooner than three years or even five years.
Why Do Motorcycle Helmets Expire?
Helmets wear out, break down, and lose their protective ability over time. But this happens not only because of age. An intact helmet slowly deteriorates on its own, but mostly three factors are responsible for helmet damage. Such as the amount of usage, maintenance practices, and primary build quality.
The amount of usage
The five-year guideline is based on a very approximate estimate of how much you wear a regular helmet during that period. However, just as some riders only ride once a week and others travel long distances every day. The amount of time each rider spends wearing their helmet will vary. As a result, motorcycle helmets degradation times vary according to usage.
A much-used helmet may degrade fast due to dust, sweat, hair products, heat, UV rays, and so on. When you wear your helmet every day, it is often exposed to wear and tear. Regular usage degrades your helmet over time, even if it isn’t visible at once.
On the other hand, a helmet will decay just by sitting in a warehouse; but, this damage is minimal and does not need to be counted.
In addition, If you have experienced a road accident, you need to check your helmet for damage. If you find any severe damage, it’s time to buy a new helmet based on your head size.
Your motorcycle helmet’s lasting period also depends on its maintenance. Excessive use, sweat, dirt, and chemicals damage the helmet’s liner, and helmets come out on your head and shoulders.
If your helmet gets exposed to excessive heat, small cracks may appear in the EPS lining, and plastic parts may melt away.
The EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) liner is a black liner inside of your helmet. As a result, small white cracks appear if the helmet gets degraded.
If you avoid this proper maintenance, your motorcycle helmet will deteriorate faster.
Primary build quality
Building quality is also responsible for the fast or slow damage of motorcycle helmets. As we know, helmets don’t last forever, but a good quality helmet can last longer than a low-quality helmet.
Initially, the quality is a significantfactor in how much a helmet will damage. While helmet manufacturers recommend changing helmets every five years, a lower-quality helmet may deteriorate much sooner under heavy use.
Those three major factors cause a helmet to wear out, and these differ across helmets and the riders who use them. As a result, the five-year rule is only a rough estimate of the amount of damage during that period.
Like a motorcycle, what damages a motorcycle helmet is determined by how many hours or miles traveled in wearing it and how well it is taken care of. However, it’s challenging to keep track of these figures. So, you should follow the default replacement period.
How To Make Helmets Last Longer?
Proper maintenance can save your motorcycle helmet last longer. For good care, follow these procedures.
- You can avoid damage by cleaning the inside of your helmet. You can either remove and wash the liners or spray a foam cleaner straight inside the helmet.
- If you use hair products, be aware of that. Because they may help damage your helmet’s insides.
- In addition, you should not keep your motorcycle helmet under direct sunlight for a long time. Plus, don’t store it at high temperatures for long periods.
- You should always check for cracks inside the EPS lining of the helmet. It can be a sign of the helmets degrading.
- If you’re going to store your helmet, ensure it’s clean before you keep it. You can put it in a dry bag or an airtight box in a cold, dry location.
- Also, don’t keep anything like gloves or balaclavas inside your helmet.
- In general, cheaper helmets will degrade faster. Check the quality of the helmet before buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long are motorcycle helmets good for?
A motorcycle helmet will be good for 3-5 years if it hasn’t been in any accidents. It would be best to consider replacing your helmet with a new one every 3-5 years.
How long does a motorcycle helmet last?
By taking care of your motorcycle helmet, it will last at least five years. However, this lasting time varies depending on usage, maintenance, and helmet quality.
When to replace motorcycle helmets?
You should replace your motorcycle helmet after using it for five years. But you should change it immediately after being in an accident or any heavy impact. Moreover, if the padding on your helmet gets loose or the strap or lock stops working, it’s time to replace it.
How often should I replace my motorcycle helmet?
Motorcycle helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years, depending on the manufacturing date. Experts recommend replacing it every five years, three years of heavy use, and seven years after production even if not used.
We hope now you have got the answer: do motorcycle helmets expire or not?
Motorcycle helmets don’t last forever, and since their primary purpose is protection, it is mandatory to pay attention to them.
Helmets degrade over time because of several causes. The quantity of usage and maintenance of a helmet determines its effectiveness and life duration.
To ensure your safety, buy a good quality helmet even if it’s expensive. You should also maintain it well to make it last longer.
We hope, by now, you have found answers to all of your questions. If you have any extra queries, write them down in the comment box below.