How Long Are Motorcycle Helmets Good For And Degradation Causes

Motorcycle riders should always have a reliable safety helmet on their next ride. However, these safety buckets don’t last forever. Helmets will constantly degrade over time due to various causes. That’s why you must know how long motorcycle helmets are good for so that you can replace them with a new, more durable helmet when necessary. Depending on how you store and use your helmet, it could degrade much faster than you think.

Motorcycle helmet specialists say helmets can last between 4 and 6 years. However, if you have a high-quality helmet and use it properly, it may last longer. Even if the helmet looks fine and seems in great shape, it might be time to replace and upgrade.

Throughout this page, we will share tips from motorcycle experts to help you determine if your helmet is expired or going to expire. You can use the information below to help decide if you need a helmet replacement.

How Many Accidents Can a Standard Motorcycle Helmet Survive on Average?

How Long Can Motorcycle Helmets Stay Good

If you are someone who rides your motorcycle every day on the fantastic roads of the united states, you will likely face minor crashes a couple of times. We can’t say if a helmet can survive a single road accident or 100 of them. The lifespan depends upon usage, impact intensity, and many other factors. But fortunately, we have found a study where experts have given us a minimum idea to satisfy our curiosity.

Based on the MIPS crash test results, we can say that a helmet can survive horizons of 50 to 150 minor impacts. The protection is from its shell and in head form. A helmet consists of polystyrene material. Hence, we can imagine how well it protects you from all corners of the crash.

In general, you might get away with replacing your helmet every couple of years if it is doing its job well, but make sure you check with the manufacturer’s guidelines to maintain proper safety levels with helmets.

The manufacturer’s guidelines should give you an idea of how long the manufacturer recommends the usage of the helmet. A quick rule of thumb is that suppose your helmet has a certified longevity rating above 125 impacts. In that case, if it’s above 200 hits, you would want to replace it soon after having several crashes.


Also Read:  Pros and Cons of Motorcycle Helmets


This answer would depend on the helmet that you have and also your riding habits. That’s because helmets can protect different areas of your head in various circumstances so that a certain one might be more protective against impacts in a particular direction.

You may want to replace your helmet every 5 or 7 years if it has been certified for 100 impacts or less; any time after that is up to personal discretion/usage. You may investigate and consider replacing helmets yearly if you’re an aggressive rider with many high-speed chases through twisties!

During Crashes

Obviously, the longer you can keep your helmet on your head during a crash, the better. Removing a motorcycle helmet after an accident increases your risk of getting injured or killed. Be sure to tighten firmly after putting it on and adjust appropriately before taking it off. In other words, A helmet should be worn during every ride, even when you’re unlikely to get into a collision.

Like most helmets, the Giro Protection is rugged. If a crash does happen, its flexible face will cushion your head and help it bounce back into position. It means you’ll likely get back on your bike and ride again.

Motorcycle Helmet Degradation Causes

Different Components Of A Motorcycle Helmet

Helmets don’t last forever. Over time, their outer shell and liner materials break down.

One crucial factor that impacts how long a helmet will last is the quality of materials used, along with the age and condition of each component. The more sensitive parts in your helmet comprise gel padding, which can collapse if not properly maintained. This all affects how much protection it offers and when it is best to replace it.

In this case, Helmets with a polycarbonate shell offer excellent impact resistance and feature a removable, washable liner.

Knowing how your helmet may get affected by the environment, including humidity, temperature, and sunlight exposure is essential. In particular, three main characteristics affect how quickly a helmet will expire:

  • The weight and shape of the helmet.
  • Helmet material corrosion.
  • Resistance.

Getting a new helmet will not make a difference. With exercise, and even breathing, general wear and tear will cause minor cracks and other damage to a helmet. In the long run, when you put that helmet on and off, the ventilation holes get blocked with dirt or hair. As a whole, the helmet becomes less effective at cooling your head during intense activity. This means motorcycle helmets never stay good forever.

In addition to these issues, helmet materials can degrade by moisture present on the head. We’ve all heard that the smell of sweaty heads is not a problem for clothing, but it will eventually degrade materials in helmets. If you use the helmet in a sweaty environment, the leather will sweat and probably stain the padding.

To best understand how long motorcycle helmets are suitable for, we must look at the various components of a helmet and know how they work.

Chin Straps

Over time, the chin strap on a motorcycle helmet can wear out and fray. If you don’t replace it with a new one before something goes wrong, your helmet will fail when you need it most.

If the chin strap of your motorcycle helmet breaks, there are several ways it can take place. You may notice the ends fraying, or the whole thing may break! In most cases, this happens by poor artistry and poor materials. A replacement chin strap can sometimes be purchased online or from other shops.

The Comfort Liner

Your motorcycle helmet’s padding/comfort liner protects and keeps you mobile. Ultimately, the padding absorbs a broad range of impacts and risks, but if you ride for a long time, you will probably be the one doing most of the damage.

After years of wear, it’s normal for the padding to go flat, especially around the cheek areas. The interior padding will also gradually compress, creating a loose-fitting helmet. Asymmetrical padding can also lead to decreased comfort.

Ultimately, the padding absorbs a broad range of impacts and risks. But if you ride for a long time, you will probably be the one doing most of the damage. The interior padding will also gradually compress, creating a loose-fitting helmet.

How to Avoid Comfort Liner Damage Over Time

Many factors can contribute to your helmet breaking-in period. These include the size, shape, and quality of the padding. However, the main one is usually time — the time you’ll need to wear your new helmet so that the padding adjusts.

That’s why you need to try on your helmet for a good fit and spend some time on the bike to test it out. Please do not rely on the fitting instructions provided by the manufacturer; they are usually very generic and only tell you how to put it on without any specific sizing information.

The extra friction and repeated pulling on the liner cause premature wear and tear. Accessories like glasses, face masks, and certain clothing items can put a significant amount of pressure on the padding in the helmet itself.

Replacing the helmet liner on a motorcycle is an easy and inexpensive way to refresh your helmet. Primarily if you use the helmet daily, it hasn’t been in an accident or dropped. In some cases, you may even be able to reuse the original liner and replace the foam instead of going through the laborious process of replacing all the components of your helmet.

EPS Liner

EPS is a well-known material for the packaging industry. However, EPS in helmets has some limitations as an insulating material, so it must be maintained to ensure longevity. It can include regular cleaning, including removing dust and debris.

In terms of EPS, the most common degradation causes are natural, such as moisture, excessive heat, or high humidity. Hence, if you find yourself with cracks inside your EPS, this could indicate an issue in the EPS itself.

Most of the time, styrofoam liners/ EPS Liners are not replaceable. If your helmet has the EPS inner liner and it has started to degrade, the foam inside is likely beginning to break down, which will cause several issues.

First, it will wear out faster than it should. Second, wind noise may increase when you put on an old helmet since there are no longer any crumbly pieces of foam behind that may provide some dampening effect for your head.

The necessity of EPS Liners in Your Helmet’s Lifespan

The EPS Liner significantly impacts how long your motorcycle helmet will stay good. They are not specifically protective, but they are a material that is hard to quality control. Sometimes they can degrade due to improper storage, and there is no knowing if one is damaged or impaired until you use your helmet. Therefore, getting a helmet after a crash is prudent if you inspect any cracks, holes, or dents.

It all comes down to the intensity of pressure you put on the helmet and any external stress factors like water or impact. You can then check with your dealer for any options for warranty repair or replacement or try to work out what caused it yourself by looking at the size and color code of your liner.

As an added safety feature, the EPS liner does a fantastic job absorbing energy during impact, helping save you from a nasty bruise or concussion. There have been several cases of memory loss after a motorcycle accident. And only helmets can give you up to an 82% protection rate from brain damage.

It is an excellent insulator against heat and cold, but it would be a terrible idea to shave the EPS liner down to make room for your headphones. While it is true that people can survive with the EPS liner cut away, this could cause severe problems in case of an accident.

Outer Layer

A helmet’s outer shell can degrade over time because of multiple reasons. The main one is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which makes it brittle and ineffective. There are many materials used to produce helmets. Polycarbonate, ABS (thermoplastic), fiberglass, carbon fiber, and kevlar composites are used.

We all know the problem with cheap helmet liners and how they are vulnerable to UV light. This is where Thermo-plastic comes in. It is very tough and hardwearing by nature, meaning it lasts longer than other brands and has less chance of cracking. Many helmets use this material today as a base layer between an inner liner and outer shell and can often be found on the cheaper end of the scale.

With regular use, an outer stabilizer will last approximately 4-5 years before the hard inner lining starts showing symptoms of wear and tear. By switching to a sturdy synthetic casing, we can ensure that the stabilizer will last longer.

Glue Used in The Helmet

The third reason is all the chemicals, oils, and other chemicals a helmet can get exposed to. As time goes on, these materials can cause the glue to deteriorate.

Thankfully, glues are, after all, easily replaceable and have little impact on how long motorcycle helmets are Good For

Glues holding up all the components together are especially vulnerable to the effects of physical and environmental forces. And gradually, those oils, chemicals, cosmetics, sweat, etc., can affect the strength of the glue.

The Styrofoam’s outer layer is the hardest to break down. This process can take a long time, so be aware if you think your Styrofoam may have become detached, and do not attempt to open or move it.


Also Read: Head Injuries From Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet


How Do I Tell If My Helmet Lifespan is Finished? Understanding How Long Are Motorcycle Helmets Good For

Motorcycle Helmet Lifespan

Certified longevity ratings are based on laboratory tests that simulate a broad range of impacts. So, while your helmet may have passed the test in theory, it might not survive repeated real-world effects. Therefore, you should understand: how to tell if a motorcycle helmet is still good. Consequentially, You can significantly decrease accidental risks in your personal riding life.

A helmet’s certification status means that it has met specific safety requirements and has withstood testing against various levels of impact. However, this doesn’t mean the helmet will last forever if you ride aggressively or take lots of hard falls. Sooner or later, even a certified helmet will start to fail at protecting your head in significant crashes.

If you’re concerned that the certification of your helmet may be nearing its end, it’s best to check for the following errors in your helmet:

  • Cracks in the shell.
  • Loose screws/hinges.
  • Little tears or holes in the liner.
  • Missing or cracked facemask.
  • Rusting of the cage or hardware.
  • Bulging or warping of the shell.

Do Unused Motorcycle Helmets Expire?

Your helmet is an investment in your safety. There is no hard and fast rule, but the consensus is that helmets will last longer when used sparingly.

Remember that the lifespan of your helmet depends on your usage and care. If you ride frequently and take hard falls, your helmet may not last as long as if you only use it occasionally.

However, most helmets will provide some level of protection for some time after they have been certified to meet safety requirements. It protects the head in any crash and helps to reduce severe injuries in the event of an accident. To maximize the lifespan of your helmet, follow these tips on taking care of your motorcycle helmet:

  • Dry Wash your helmet after every use. Dust, hair, and other debris can accumulate inside the helmet, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and molds.
  • Remove the chin strap if you are not wearing a face shield or have corrective glasses that fit over the mask instead of under it. These straps can pinch nerves in your neck when not appropriately buckled, causing discomfort or even pain.
  • Check your helmet for cracks, loose screws and hinges, liner tears, and cage and hardware rust. If you find any such problems, do not ride without a new helmet until correcting those errors.
  • Remember to store your helmet in a cool, dry place. Exposure to extreme heat or cold can cause the shell and fabric to deteriorate more quickly.

Be a safe and responsible rider by following these tips. If you have questions about how to care for your helmet correctly, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. Also, you can let others know how long motorcycle helmets are suitable for, according to your experience.