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As the first week of April has now come and (almost) gone, we want to remind readers that this month is National Check Your Helmet Month. As such, don’t forget that the average life span for a helmet is three to five years. Numerous times we’ve seen riders wearing helmets far, far, older than five years simply because a visual inspection with their untrained eye deemed the helmet to be in acceptable working order.

A lot can happen in five years. Constant pounding from the sun’s rays and a five-year buildup of sweat and oils from your head can take their toll on a helmet’s internal composition, even if you don’t see it.

'The number of motorcycle crash fatalities has more than doubled since 1997,' says Ozzie Giglio, Principal of Windy City Motorcycle Company. 'We know that helmets save lives and reduce health care costs. In fact, according to Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety, motorcycle helmets are currently preventing $17 billion in societal harm annually…but $8 billion in harm could be prevented if all motorcyclists wore helmets.'

'It’s not just enough to wear a helmet,' Giglio continues. 'You have to make sure that is functional, well-fitting and able to do its job properly. Additionally, it’s important to be sure that riders properly maintain their helmets, otherwise they could greatly diminish its life-span and performance ability.'

Spring is the ideal time for this reminder, as Giglio says that many riders make unsafe choices about their helmets during the weather. 'Many people leave their helmets in their garage, but if you live in a place like the Midwest that has fluctuating climates, that can be terrible for your helmet. We can swing from 100 degrees in summer to -20 in the winter, and helmets integrity gets questioned as it swells and shrinks in the Midwest weather pattern.'
Read more about Don’t Forget: April Is Check Your Helmet Month at Motorcycle.com.
 

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Mr.Fix It
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I got mine...

Duane
 

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Good reminder...

But, how does 3 - 5 years lifespan come about?

Most modern helmets have replaceable inner liners that make sense to replace every few years, but I doubt the average rider needs a brand new helmet every 3 - 5 years.
A lot of variables....

I'm sure the helmet manufacturers would like this replacement schedule at several $100's per pop.
 

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I bought a new one last Fall and will be replacing my 5 year old one with it this Spring. (I need to put speakers and a mic in it).
 

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Calendar age is understood, but I've never seen a reference to hours used/distance travelled. In five years a low time user may only do 25,000km and wear the helmet for ~350 hours. A high use rider (I do 50,000km a year) would do ten times that distance and hours which surely would put more wear onto the bone dome and thus a more stringent replacement schedule?
 

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The supposed reasoning is the foam starts to break down after about 5 years if not sooner. Sweat, makeup, hair products, etc all help break down the styrofoam liner. If you look at car seats for children and various other products that use a similar liner they all have about 5 years as the max life.

I ride every day so I replace helmets every few years. Not because I am worried about them failing, but I usually find a good deal on the upgraded version of the helmet or a vendor puts out a lighter helmet with more features..
 

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I agree with that, Shiff.

Was it you who illustrated the breakdown by suggesting we hold a styrofoam cup above some gasoline fumes? The cup pretty much melts in your hands. The breakdown of the foam in a helmet may not be as dramatic, but over time, .. well you get the picture.
 
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On a bad year, I do more than 10k miles. In a good month with the annual vacay, I'll do 10k miles. I get my money's worth every 3-4 years. I just wish I'd been saving all my old helmets to put on display.
 

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Thanks for the reminder! One of my helmets just turned six years old. I was surprised to see a chip in the paint after close inspection (something I normally don't do).
 

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Whilst it maybe good practice, I think its an artificial limit to prompt sales. The fun ones were where they had been painted and went soft, and a drop is supposed to trigger a return to manufacturer for xraying.
 
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