When to Replace Your Helmet?

When to Replace Your Helmet?

May 16, 2014

Five Times You Should Replace Your Helmet Immediately


This list describes the time to absolutely replace a helmet if you care about it protecting you in an accident.

If you missed our blog on the full subject you can link to the full article below.
READ: Do You Really Need to Replace Motorcycle Helmets Every 3 to 5 Years That Were Never in an Accident?

  1. Helmets are single use. They are designed for maximum protection by absorbing impact once and once only. Snell has a great distinction here. If you drop an empty helmet it isn’t ruined. An impact with a head inside is typically what causes the helmet to lose function. If you drop it at highway speeds or drop a bike on it better to be safe than sorry. Many manufacturers will test a helmet for damage or you can simply replace it. It is very risky to buy a used helmet since you don’t know what happened to it before you bought it. If you are devoting the time and expense to have it tested, it is better to just get a new one that will also have modern advancements in safety and comfort.
  2. Beware of novelty helmets. We certainly appreciate if you are fighting for freedom of choice to wear a helmet or not in your state. If we are required to wear a helmet anyway, we are of the opinion we may as well wear one that will protect our head in an event of an accident. The Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) has minimum requirements for helmet effectiveness, FMVSS No. 218-certified. If your helmet isn’t DOT certified it was made as a novelty helmet. All novelty helmets failed impact attenuation & penetration tests performed by the DOT.
  3. If you have a beanie style helmet that failed Snell certification be careful. All Snell certified helmets do meet DOT criteria. All DOT helmets do not meet Snell standards. Snell Certification means that Snell technicians in Snell labs tested samples of the helmet to Snell Standards before the helmet was certified. Furthermore, as a condition of certification, Snell regularly buys samples of all Snell certified products and brings them into our lab for follow-up testing. DOT certification is done on the honor system. The helmet's manufacturer determines whether its helmets satisfy DOT and then claims the qualification for himself. There is not even a reporting requirement. The government does contract for some spot check testing at commercial and private labs but not very much. In recent years much of their effort has been spent against so-called beanie helmets that are obviously substandard and are worn only by helmet law protesters.
  4. If your helmet doesn’t fit properly nothing else matters. The most expensive helmet with the best certifications won’t protect you if it doesn’t fit properly or worse, falls off in an accident. Often we put the ones we love most on the back of our bike with our spare helmet. Protect your kids, spouses, and friends with a properly fitting helmet. Eagle Leather staff are trained to help you get the right fit.
  5. Old helmets may not be safe. Sunlight, time, and petroleum based products in cleaners and paint all degrade helmets. All helmet manufactures, safety counsels, and independent associations recommend replacing a helmet every 3-5 years. Considering the cost of a helmet this may seem excessive. The blog mentioned above does a more in depth discussion of the subject, but here are the obvious times to replace a helmet. Anytime it has worn or degraded straps or padding. Not only could this jeopardize fit, but could also be a sign of what is going on with the foam that protects you from impact. We all love our old helmets, but if you have an old helmet, especially one that has been painted or cleaned with chemicals, do yourself a favor and protect yourself with a new one. All manufacturers are consistently making progress on safety, fit, and design. You may be pleasantly surprised that the new one feels and looks better and as a bonus, protects you better too.

Be safe and enjoy the ride,
Mike Toursal
Owner, Eagle Leather