How Long Do Bike Helmets Last?

  • By: Zane
  • Date: August 16, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

When to replace your bike helmet? There are some common signs of damage. How long should you wait before replacing your helmet? How to clean and inspect your bike helmet to avoid causing more damage. This article will cover all of these topics and more. Keep reading for some great tips! Hopefully, you will find this information helpful and better understand bike helmets’ life span.

The Durability of Bike Helmets

Bicycle helmets are not meant to last forever but should be replaced after frequent use. The shell material may become brittle or erode over time. Besides, the helmet’s protective property may be compromised if you constantly expose it to sunlight and extreme temperatures. If you have accidentally dropped the helmet, you should replace it immediately. The foam layer under the helmet may also break apart with subsequent crashes. To avoid these problems, replacing your helmet after every collision is essential.

When considering the durability of a bike helmet, consider the type of material it’s made of. The foam in helmets is typically made of polystyrene, the same material used to keep coolers cool. This material does not age and does not wear out and is virtually unaffected by exposure to sunlight. Moreover, most manufacturers add UV inhibitors to the plastic material they use. If you notice fading colors of your helmet shell, it has likely been exposed to too much sunlight. In addition, helmets made of polycarbonate or EPP foam are less likely to detach from the EPS liner in the event of heavy impacts.

Signs of Damage on A Bike Helmet

Signs of Damage on A Bike Helmet

When the outer shell of your bike helmet is worn or damaged, it may be time for a replacement. This is because the outer shell protects the inner foam layer, which degrades more quickly when exposed to UV light. Without the outer shell, the inner foam layer cannot absorb as much energy as it should, which means more energy will be directed at the rider’s head. The outer shell can also show signs of wear and tear, such as a crack in the foam liner, a crack or crush on the liner, and a broken buckle. Damaged helmets may also show compromised structural integrity in the rear stabilizer and the EPS liner.

Inspect the shell regularly to look for fading or dents. If the color of the surface is faded or the stitching has become weak, it is time to replace it. In addition to checking the shell, you should also check the straps and buckles for wear and tear. If significant wear is in any of these areas, it’s time to replace the helmet. You’ll save yourself the expense of replacing the helmet if you notice the damage early enough.

Replacement Intervals

If you ride a bike, you should check your bike helmet for cracks or damage every so often. It is time to replace your helmet if you notice cracks or damage. Depending on your helmet type, replacement intervals can vary from a year to five years. Here are the general guidelines for helmet replacements:

Check the EPS foam liner. It is made to dissipate energy and should not be worn again for the same reason. If it is scuffed or has a crack, it could compromise the outer shell. If you’re unsure, read the guidelines by the Snell Memorial Foundation. Replacement intervals for bike helmets vary by brand. Make sure to check the safety standards before purchasing a new bike helmet.

Replace the EPS liner of the bike helmet when it is damaged. EPS liner will become brittle and start to show cracks sooner than the outer shell. The liner is often painted black and can reveal tiny white cracks. You’ll need to replace the liner every few years to keep the EPS liner in good condition. When you notice a crack, take it to a bike shop and get it fixed.

Cleaning and Inspecting a Bike Helmet

If you’re unsure how long your helmet should last, check its EPS foam liner. This liner degrades faster than the shell, so a damaged or missing liner can compromise your helmet’s safety. Look for cracks and splits in the EPS foam and check for glue lifting from the helmet’s foam. The production date of the helmet should be visible on the sticker, and if it’s worn or faded, it’s probably time for a new helmet.

Besides EPS foam, looking for dents and cracked outer shells is essential. Cracks and stains indicate damage and need to be repaired or replaced. If the helmet has a hard outer shell, it’s time to replace it, especially if you have children or other dependents. Cracks in this part of the helmet can cause serious head injuries. It’s also important to check the straps, buckles, and rear stabilizer. If you’re renting a bike helmet, this inspection is crucial.

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