It’s often been said that a helmet should be replaced after 5 years regardless of the frequency it’s used or how it’s cared for. With helmets ranging in price anywhere from $60 to $800, they can be a very spendy item to make every few years. We did some digging and found out what the Snell Foundation had to say since Snell certification is the most widely recognized standard for helmets used in motor sports and motorcycle racing. We also dug up some helmets out of the garage to see how they stood up. Here’s what we found:
Replace Helmet Every 5 Years?
- According to Snell on www.smf.org, it is recommended that helmets be replaced
after 5 years. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet construction can affect liner material. Hair product, body fluids, cleaners, and gasoline (don’t set your helmet on your gas tank) as well as normal wear and tear from use will degrade the helmet over time. Helmet materials are improving all the time as well, so having a new helmet means having the latest in safety features, materials, and standards. You may be fine keeping and using a helmet after 5 years, but it’s your head, so you decide what it’s worth.
- The date of manufacture for the helmet should be on a sticker or stamp on the
rear outside of the helmet or inside the helmet usually beneath the liner. It should show the month and year. When you buy a helmet at a store, especially when it’s on clearance, make sure to check the date on the helmet and make sure it was manufactured within the last year or two as some helmets may sit on the shelf for some time before being sold.
- If you simply dropped your helmet a foot or two, you’re probably okay using it
still. However if you wrecked and hit your head, cracked the helmet, or if you have any reason to suspect your helmet integrity may be compromised, you should replace it.
- Keep in mind that a helmet may also be damaged from solvents in a garage where it’s stored, UV light, gasoline (sitting helmet on gas tank) and normal wear and tear. If you have doubt about whether the helmet needs to be replaced or not, you should replace it.