When To Replace A Motorcycle Helmet? Look At These 7 Signs

As a motorcyclist, you should have something to cover your head and know when to replace a motorcycle helmet. The more you ride, the more you should pay attention to the changes in your protective hat. 

Noticing the signs indicating when you should have a new protector helps protect yourself from unwanted injuries. Let’s find out more about it!

When To Replace A Motorcycle Helmet
Helmet – A necessary thing for all motorcyclists

What Is A Motorcycle Helmet Made Of?

It consists of two main parts: the outer shell and the interior (known as the eps).  

The outer shell is usually made of sturdy materials such as durable carbon, plastic, or fiberglass. Those materials can last for years; that’s why it’s chosen for the external part. Since they have high resilience and durability, there will be no damage if you drop your protector.

The eps is the dense foam that is in charge of absorbing impact. It can be deformed due to a heavy hit. Besides absorbing energy, the interior is good at dispersing impact. A simple drop can not negatively affect its integrity, and you don’t need a replacement.   

In addition, you may see some lining inside, which works as a sweat and moisture absorbent to keep your head dry and comfortable while riding in hot or rainy conditions.

What Is A Motorcycle Helmet Made Of
The outer shell helps dissipate the impact

How Can It Protect Us?

As mentioned above, the equipment is made of different compounds, each with its own protecting purposes. Any dramatic damage to any part causes it to be unsafe to wear.

There can be a crack on the outer shell, leading it to lose its ability to dissipate the impact of energy. Furthermore, some sharp objects can come through the external layer and cause damage. If you don’t feel the rough materials are out or don’t see any deformation except minor chips on the paint layers, then it’s not a big deal.

As for the eps, it plays an important role when an accident happens. After a strong hit, the interior is compressed and left a dent. The problem is that the inner part is one-time use and can’t perform as well as the first time. It’s not compulsory, but you’d better swap out your worn one in this case.

A helmets components
A helmet’s components

When To Replace A Motorcycle Helmet? 7 Signs You Need to Know

It’s recommended to replace your motorcycle helmet every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often you use it. Consider changing this protector if you ride every day since it degrades faster. This replacing mile stone can even be shorter if your helmet experiences serious impacts or accidents. 

1. Helmet’s Age

Most manufacturers suggest the time to change your protective hat is within five years. It’s the average number, and the real lifespan also depends on different elements that affect the components.

Moreover, even if the recommended expiration date is five years, you may need to throw it immediately after an accident. 

2. Using Frequency

It’s difficult to maintain the integrity of your head-protecting outfit when you wear it often. There’s nothing strange if you need to change your protector before it reaches its age limit.

Your helmet becomes weaker faster if it’s used frequently. The resins and glue can come off due to factors you might not think about. The more it is exposed to the outside climate, such as rain, sun, and dirt, the less effective it works. 

3. Terrible Crash

Everybody understands it’s not a good idea to wear a broken head-protecting outfit after an accident. However, few people think that you can save money this way. That’s why we need to mention this sign here.

Using the protector that has already lost its ability to protect doesn’t save you anything but puts you in danger. Change your equipment as soon as possible if you experience any crash, especially a terrible one.

When To Replace A Motorcycle Helmet1
Your protective hat can lose its ability after an accident

4. Interior Damage

Surprisingly, the deterioration starts from the interior first, not the outer shell. A clear indicator for it is the flake off of the inside part. You can see it drop on your hair or your shoulders. 

The black-painted EPS liner can also tell you when to buy a new helmet. If there’s a small white gap inside, it may be the time to say goodbye to your old one as it can’t absorb impact properly anymore.

5. Exterior Deterioration

The outer shell is the first part that contacts the outside objects when you’re in an accident. Thus, it’s usually sturdy and durable. If there’s any crack, it will increase the risk of your head getting injured. 

Don’t hesitate to purchase the new replacement when the crack appears, or the equipment starts breaking apart. In any case, putting on a helmet that doesn’t meet the safety requirement is not suggested. 

6. Chin Strap Failure

The chin strap is in charge of keeping your protective hat fit neatly on your head. The longer your protector is in use, the more deteriorated the strap becomes due to outside environmental factors such as dirt or climate.

A tight chin lock means your protector will stay on your head properly and do its job during an accident. If you feel any loose or corrosion in this part, think about changing it or the whole helmet.

7. Feeling Loose When Using

You can shake your head from side to side to check if your protective hat properly hugs your head. If not, the stuffing inside is likely compressed. You can also have a loose feeling when the lining has indentations. 

This not-so-good feeling indicates you should go for another protector, not only because of the uncomfort while using but also for your safety. When the helmet doesn’t fit firmly on your head, there’s no guarantee that it can protect you in case of a crash.

Your protector should fit tightly on your head
Your protector should fit tightly on your head


1. Should I Change An Old Helmet But Never Use It?

Although it’s weird, the scenario of having an old forgotten helmet can occur. It may work well after staying in the box for five years, but nobody knows when it won’t. The degradation of the outer lamination or the damaged interior due to evaporation may happen, causing it to be less safe to use. So, it’s suggested not to risk your safety with this kind of head-protecting outfit. 

2. Is There Any Helmet Inspection Service?

There is a service using the laser to inspect the damage to the shell. However, what they detect is not enough to tell us whether it’s safe to keep wearing our helmets. It’s not a reliable and authoritative service.

Pay attention to the signs stated above to consider a replacement. You’d better have a new one earlier before it’s really game over! 

Last Thought

The exact answer to the questions about when to replace a motorcycle helmet depends on your situation. In case there’s no terrible crash or impact, you can use it for around five years. 

You may need to change it before that time if you see any of the tell-tale signs above. Remember, your safety is more important than saving a few quid.

4.8/5 - (5 votes)