A cycling helmet is a very important piece of gear that can literally save your life. So you need to make sure your helmet is in its peak condition when you use it for riding. Some people will say that you must replace your helmet after a certain period even if you haven’t had a crash. This can be true because polystyrene foam degrades over time and it makes the helmet more prone to crash easily. It also depends on how good you cared about the helmet. Sometimes it’ll be obvious when you need to replace your helmet. But other times a minor crash or bump will have you wondering whether it’s safe to riding again.
How Long Do They Last?
As long as the helmet is in good condition and it hasn’t had any bumps or incidents or crashes, it should last around 3 to 4 years depending on how much you use it. But it is recommended that even if you haven’t crashed, check it after every three to four months for any cracks and crashes. Also, if the polycarbonate shell shows any dent, then replace it. The shell separating from the EPS also means it’s time to replace.
How Does Crash Affect The Helmet?
A crash from everyday life affects the helmet and it could be a sign that it can’t be used anymore. Sometimes it is impossible or very complicated to see internal tracking. But in any case, each crash is absorbing energy and affecting the internal structure.
Signs That Helmet Is Compromised
It is always a good idea to regularly inspect your helmet. Look for any exposed EPS that has started to chip or worn. If you see that the shell shows any kind of dent then replace it. Some people think that a missing piece is not a big deal but again there may be some hidden damages inside the construction. Also, inspect the vents for cracks or splitting in the EPS. Finally, carefully watch if the polycarbonate shell is separating from the EPS, it’s time to throw your helmet.
How To Care For Your Bicycle Helmet?
It’s obvious that your bike helmet will not last forever. Every helmet comes with a safety manual that says you need to replace them in the event of an accident, or regardless, just every few years. The following are a few things to extend the lifespan of a bicycle helmet:
- General Protection: Protect your helmet from wear and tear, bumps, and knocks. When you store or transport your helmet, keep it in a safe place.
- Avoid Extreme Temperatures: The EPS can be temperature sensitive. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions when using, storing, or transporting your helmet. You can also check the temperature range at the back of the helmet. Don’t leave your helmet in your car because UV in the sunlight can have a negative effect on the EPS thus reducing the overall lifespan.
- Avoid Chemical Exposure: EPS can be damaged by chemicals. Here, I am not talking about dangerous toxic chemicals rather the chemicals we use in our everyday life when cycling like degreasers, lubricants, or even Vaseline. Prolong exposure to these chemicals can degrade EPS. That’s why manufacturers recommend cleaning helmets regularly with clean water. If you are concern about stinky helmets, remove the pads and wash them with soap and water.
The Bottom Line
A cycling helmet should be replaced every 3-4 years even if it not showing any kind of visible damage. If your helmet shows any dents or visible damage, replace your helmet immediately.
Hopefully, much of the advice in this article seems like common sense. Some of it may seem like I was a bit too cautious but again, a helmet is the major piece of equipment when it comes to riding. So, it is a better idea to pay a little more attention to your helmet.