Maximize your motorcycle helmet life with these pro tips

Hey there, motorcycle enthusiast! Are you wondering how to make your motorcycle helmet last longer? Have you ever asked yourself if your good helmet should be replaced even though it “seems okay”?

Here, we explain everything there is to know about the life of a motorcycle helmet. We also throw in some helpful tips on how to maximize their life and performance so you can keep riding happily and safely!

It’s important to know about all the layers of a helmet and how best to preserve it for its optimal lifespan.

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Understanding helmet life cycles

Your motorcycle helmet will start brand-new, offering optimal protection, comfort, and performance. However, as you ride your bike and spend time exposing your helmet to extreme temperatures and conditions — like rain, sweat, and dirt — the helmet will gradually degrade over time.

So how can you maximize the life of your helmet? Some key factors include:

  • Proper maintenance. Regularly cleaning your helmet with a mild soap solution can help reduce grime build-up that could affect performance over time.
  • Storing properly. Exposure to extreme temperatures like direct sunlight can cause damage that can accelerate the need for a new helmet sooner than you’d like.
  • Examine for wear. Inspect your motorcycle helmet frequently for any signs of wear or tear that could indicate it’s time to search for a helmet replacement.

Ultimately, understanding the life cycle of a motorcycle helmet will ensure that you get the most out of your helmet and give you peace of mind on your rides!

Do helmets have an expiration date?

Whether you ride a motorcycle for the long haul or the occasional weekend road trip, it’s important to make sure that you are taking proper care of your motorcycle helmet.

Although there is no “best before date” sticker on a helmet, they do have a maximum shelf life.

That expiration date is usually around five years after the initial manufacture stamped date, but this might vary depending on the type and quality of the helmet.

So your first step should be to check the label on your helmet with the manufacture date. Make sure that you’re replacing your helmet before the expiration date is up — if it’s past due, then it’s time to invest in a new motorcycle helmet! An expired helmet indicates a lid produced more than seven years ago or used for more than five years.

Of course, other signs might indicate that your helmet has expired besides just its age. The most common reason why helmets expire is degradation from wear and tear or exposure to chemicals or extremes in temperatures.

Pay attention to these signs and replace your helmet when needed!

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What causes helmet degradation?

Whether you’re looking for a new helmet or trying to extend the life of your current one, understanding why helmets degrade is key.

Generally, there are two main causes for helmet degradation: ultraviolet light exposure and sweat

  • UV Exposure

UV rays from the sun can lead to oxidation, discoloration, and brittleness of the foam and plastic material used in helmets. Helmets that are exposed frequently to sunlight may have a shorter life expectancy than those kept out of it.

  • Sweat

Regular trips out in inclement weather can lead to an accumulation of sweat inside your helmet — and continued sweat build-up can accumulate bacteria which in turn causes the helmet’s materials to break down faster.

How to extend the life of your motorcycle helmet?

Extending the life of your motorcycle helmet is pretty simple, providing you do your part. With a few pro tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your helmet and make sure it still does its job if (God forbid) you ever need it to.

Avoid damage

It might sound obvious, but make sure you take extra special care to avoid accidental damage when handling and storing your helmet.

damaged helmet is not something to mess around with — the best practice is always to replace it immediately if this happens.

Don’t leave it in the sun

Ultraviolet (UV) light is like Kryptonite for helmets, so try your best to find a cool, dry place for storage when not using it. Leaving your helmet out regularly can cause deterioration of the outer shell composition over time.

Clean the helmet

Cleaning the outside of the helmet regularly will help extend its life by removing any dirt or build-up that can degrade components or reduce protection levels. Look for mild cleaning products that won’t damage the outer shell and have anti-bacterial properties if needed — they’ll help keep mildew and mold away too!

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Proper care for your motorcycle helmet

You’ve probably heard that motorcycle helmets expire — what does that even mean?

They should be replaced at least once every five yearsno matter how well you take care of them. That’s because over time, the materials used to make them begin to degrade and wear down due to normal wear and tear, exposure to the elements, and more.

Here are some things you can do to keep your helmet in top shape:

  1. Make sure your helmet is always stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight when it’s not in use. This will help protect it from excessive heat and UV exposure.
  2. Regularly inspect your helmet for cracks or damage that may have occurred over time. If you find any such damage, replace your helmet immediately.
  3. Clean your helmet regularly with a mild detergent and soft microfiber cloth — you mustn’t use any harsh chemicals or abrasives as this could damage the protective outer layer of your helmet.

When is it time to replace your helmet?

When it comes to maximizing your helmet life, you should know that motorcycle helmets expire eventually. So how do you know when it’s time to replace your helmet?

  • Crash damage

If a helmet has been damaged in a crash, and/or you’ve suffered a head injury while wearing it — it’s time to replace the old helmet.

The same goes if your helmet has been dropped on a hard surface. No matter how insignificant the impact may have been, that helmet can no longer be considered safe for use.

  • Helmet age

In addition to crash damage, the age of your helmet is also something to consider when deciding whether or not to replace your motorcycle helmet.

Although it is not a crime to wear an older helmetit is certainly not safe in the event of a crash or fall.

Generally speaking, safety organizations recommend replacing old helmet every 5 years as the comfort liner materials and technology just aren’t meant to last forever.

Another reason to buy a new helmet, beyond the normal wear and tear, is the advances in helmet technology. Your helmet chin strap is a critical component to keeping your helmet on your head. If this part does not work properly then it might be time to buy a new helmet or find a chin strap replacement.

  • Chemical oxidation

One of the main ways helmets become damaged over time is through chemical oxidation caused by natural elements like sun, rain, and wind exposure, as well as sweat, etc.

The polystyrene foam of the inner liner absorbs water and this greatly reduces its capacity for shock attenuation.

So if your helmet is looking a little worse for wear due to extensive exposure — it might be wise to take another look at that “5-year rule” and start shopping around for a new helmet!

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Smart shopping tips for your next motorcycle helmet

Wondering how to get the most out of your next motorcycle helmet purchase?

Here are some smart shopping tips so you can maximize your helmet life.

  • Choose the right size

Make sure that the helmet fits properly and snugly against your head. Measure your head and check the manufacturer’s size chart before buying a brand-new helmet.

  • Pick a properly tested helmet

Don’t settle for anything less than a safety-rated, Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet.

You can verify whether your helmet meets standards specific to your area by checking out its label or website. Be sure that it also has appropriate certifications from independent organizations like Snell or ECE helmet testing standards.

  • Buy from a reliable source

Buy only from reputable online retailers or actual stores that specialize in selling motorcycle helmets since they are likely to have the best selection, advice, and prices.

Buying safety equipment from an unknown seller or thrift store should be avoided at all costs.

By following these simple shopping tips, you’ll be able to find a dependable, quality motorcycle helmet that offers maximum safety, protection, and longevity.

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Helmets are relatively simple in construction but are still very purpose-driven, and helmet technology updates constantly.

Ultimately, if you’re a regular rider, it pays to understand the factors that influence the life of your helmet and take proper care of it. You want to prioritize safety, and that starts with making sure you and your passengers are wearing the right ones.

Remember: motorcycle helmets do expire. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and look out for signs of wear and tear. You don’t want to put your safety at risk.

Maintain this standard for yourself or your riding partners because certain parts of a helmet, such as a shell or comfort liner, can break down over time and provide less protection.


Do motorcycle helmets have an expiry date?

Yes, motorcycle helmets do expire. If a helmet has been in a crash and/ or had head injuries, then it must be replaced immediately — even if it shows no signs of damage, even if it is a high-end one that uses Kevlar and carbon fiber, which is extremely durable.

Manufacturers typically recommend replacing helmets every 3-5 years, even if they’ve never been used, to ensure optimal safety.

How long should a motorcycle helmet last?

On average, motorcycle helmets are designed to last between three to five years before they need replacing. To be sure, check with your helmet manufacturer for specific recommendations.

If you are an avid rider or are wearing a used helmet, check the manufacturer’s date to see when the helmet was made.

What causes helmet degradation?

The biggest cause of helmet degradation is exposure to sunlight and bad weather. Over time this exposure leads to the degradation of the outer shell material and other components like the chin strap webbing and padding inside the helmet.

Is a 20 year old helmet still good?

They can expire if they become outdated or don’t meet newer safety regulations like upgraded inner padding for improved comfort or shell impact requirements for greater protection against external impacts or forces.

A 20-year-old helmet is likely not safe to use, as they degrade over time due to factors like UV exposure, sweat, and general wear and tear. Most helmet manufacturers recommend replacing safety gear every 3-5 years to ensure optimal protection.

Do motorcycle helmets expire if never worn?

Even if never worn, motorcycle helmets do expire over time. The materials in the helmet, such as the EPS liner and the shell, can degrade due to factors like temperature changes, humidity, and exposure to sunlight.

If you need to read about when to replace your motorcycle helmet, please read our article.

Robert Miles

I have an immense love for fast motorcycling and a deep passion for motorcycles. With a decade-long involvement in motorsport, I have experienced thrilling adventures and have had the opportunity to explore various aspects of this exciting world.

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