Replacing A Motorcycle Helmet
Helmets take on a ton of wear and tear over time. You’ve surely dropped yours a time or two, and maybe even had an accident in it. Think back to when to you last purchased your helmet. Was it just last year? 5 or more years ago? Most safety organizations like DOT and SNELL recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years if you haven’t been in an accident. However, there are several circumstances that will call for you to upgrade to a new helmet right away. Before heading out on the next ride, take a few minutes to check over your helmet. You may not even be aware that you were due an upgrade!
You’ve Been in An Accident: If you were involved in an accident in your helmet, this is a scenario where a new helmet is needed – no exceptions. If you hit your head on the asphalt or anything else, it’s safe to assume the helmet has taken on damage. The plastic or fiberglass will be damaged first, as it’s the first point of contact. When the helmet takes on impact, it’s the interior foam’s job to keep your head protected. During this moment, this foam can crack inside the helmet. While interior damage isn’t visible, we can assume that the interior foam has fractures or large cracks in it after you’ve been in a crash or other type of accident. You could have x-rays done on your helmet to make certain, but in our opinion, it isn’t worth the cost.
You Use Your Helmet Every Day: With everyday use, your helmet will naturally wear down. Minor scratches and scrapes aren’t an issue. However, larger gashes or rips in the straps are cause for concern. Generally, the interior lining and foam will start to deteriorate first. Maybe you’ve noticed small flakes falling out of your helmet. If your helmet is painted black on the inside, you can even check for cracks, as they’ll be more visible.
One thing to keep in mind is to not use your helmet as a carrying device. It’s easy to throw your wallet, keys, or other stuff into the helmet when you walk into a store or the garage. These items compress the foam, and when done on a regular basis, cause damage.
Your Helmet 5 Years or Older: After 5 years, the likelihood of your helmet deteriorating is high. Even if it looks great, we can’t assume that the interior of the helmet is as good as it was when you first purchased it. Factors like dust, dirt, UV rays, sweat, and natural body oils take a toll on the interior of your helmet. The exterior may have damage as well in the form of brittle plastic or fiberglass. If it’s been 5 years, it’s time to say goodbye to your helmet.
When you purchase your next helmet, keep the receipt somewhere you’ll remember. This way, you can find it should 5 years pass you by and you’re in need of another helmet.
The Helmet Straps are Compromised: How are your straps looking? Are they corroded or brittle? Not fastening as tightly as they once did? Since straps are what keep the helmet locked into place, you can’t risk them becoming ineffective. If they’re anything less than excellent, replace your motorcycle helmet, especially if the locks aren’t functioning at 100%.
The Helmet No Longer Fits Correctly: Does your motorcycle helmet fit strangely now? When on, the helmet should not jiggle or slip to one side. The fit should be snug, not tight. If there are indentions present in the interior foam, this could be contributing to the poor fit. Make sure the helmet and the straps fit to a T, which will require you to know your proper helmet size.
Perform a check like this one every year. Feeling down that you have to get rid of your awesome motorcycle helmet? Think of it this way. As the years go on, helmet technology improves. An upgrade gives you newer safety tech that will help keep your head safe and sound while you’re riding. After all, you want the best you can get so you, should it come to it, come out alright after a crash. One thing to keep in mind is to never buy a used helmet. Sure, someone you know might have a crazy deal on an otherwise expensive helmet, but it’s not new. You don’t know exactly how often it was worn and what oils or sweat have already seeped into the interior. It’s best to only buy new.