A helmet is an essential part of the protective gear of any motorcyclist. The helmet should always be in perfect condition since it is mainly designed as a one-time use product, and it should always be capable of saving your life. Sometimes, we can drop our helmets by mistake, but does that mean the helmet has lost its usefulness? We’ve got the answer.
Helmets are manufactured in such a way that they do not show any visible signs of damage even if they are not at 100% health. There are a lot of factors that affect the interior damage on your helmet, but even a slight drop to the ground can reduce the health of your helmet and might even become a safety risk.
Should I replace a dropped helmet?
Usually, helmets come with a date that has been put there by the helmet manufacturer. The general rule is that you should replace your motorcycle helmets after five years of helmet life, even if it looks like that your helmet is in perfect condition.
It doesn’t mean that you should always wait at least five years, even if your helmet has dropped to the ground a couple of times or has suffered a crash or an accident. If it feels like your helmet is too old or if you’re slightly less confident in your riding helmet, then it is time to get a new helmet.
However, keep in mind that dropping the helmet from a couple of feet high doesn’t mean it has lost much of its health, even on a rough and hard surface. But, if your helmet falls from a height of more than 5 feet, then you should know that some damage has been done to your helmet, and it is recommended that you buy a new one. This fact is also actual for bike helmets and motorcycle helmets.
Once a helmet has been dropped from a high enough height, it won’t be able to protect your head in case of a collision completely. The materials used in the helmet construction play a huge part in its durability. The carbon fibre outer shell and other materials make sure your head can come out of the helmet without a single scratch in an accident.
If the helmet has been dropped, there’s a high chance the interior material has a few fractures and cracks, which might affect the helmet performance. In short, it is time to replace your old helmet if you’ve dropped it on a hard surface from over 5 feet of height.
10 Signs to Replace Motorcycle Helmet
Dropping a helmet isn’t the only reason you should consider buying a helmet. There are a lot of factors that affect the helmet life and cause helmet degradation. Some of these factors are given below so you can know when is the right time to replace your older helmet with a brand new one. If you do decide to buy a helmet, check out our highly detailed buying guide for tips to know before buying a helmet.
1- Dropping on a rock
Most helmets that go through the safety standards tests are able to withstand minor falls on hard surfaces from a specific height. However, it is a different story if your helmet is dropped on a rock or any small crack on the concrete or pavement. If your helmet dropped anywhere near such a place, it is recommended to get a brand new helmet.
2- Using the same helmet after a crash
Sometimes, it appears that your helmet is in almost perfect condition since there are only a few small cracks or there is no visible damage on the outside shell of the helmet. It is not true as there might be some invisible damage on the inside of the helmet, which is not visible to the naked eye, and your helmet might require replacement.
3- Checking the helmet foam
It is possible that if your helmet took a small fall to the ground or got a hit from any source, the EPS liner on the inside absorbed the hit and is now slightly deformed. It means that the helmet foam will not be able to absorb the impact accurately in the same place again.
4- Liner degradation
When you put your head inside the helmet, your hair oils, body fluids such as sweat, and cosmetics all contribute to the degradation of the helmet’s inner liner. Once the liner has been degraded, it will not be able to protect your head and might show signs of wear and tear. It is recommended to replace the helmet not to compromise your protection since it won’t be able to absorb the impact accurately.
Now, if you have long hair, you should check out our guide on maintaining the perfect hairstyle while wearing a helmet.
5- Advancements in helmet technology
Helmet technology indeed continues to advance each day, so it is always a good idea to replace your helmet often, instead of following the good rule of replacing your helmet every five years. The safety standards also get updated from time to time, and the design and shell quality gets upgraded by the manufacturers from time to time.
While we’re talking about the technological advancements in the helmet industry, have a look at our collection of the best moto-racing helmets, which are the fruits of that.
6- Sending your helmet for inspection
If you’re unsure if your helmet is completely fine or need that extra bit of assurance for your safety and protection, you can contact the manufacturers of the helmet to get it thoroughly inspected. They’ll let you know if your older helmet is in good shape or not. Once you’ve got their response, you’ll know if it’s time to replace your helmet or keep using the old one.
7- Plastic degradation
Like other parts of the helmet, the plastic might also face degradation with time. It is important to note that you’ll need the helmet to be in top condition to keep your head safe in case of a hit. Direct sunlight and dry air are two of the biggest enemies of your helmets’ plastic. Your helmet’s plastic shell will continue to wear down with time due to sun exposure, so make sure you keep that in check and if there are any signs of degradation, you should get a new one.
8- No Safety Standard Sticker
If your helmet doesn’t have proper safety certification, it is useless. Even if it’s some cheap helmet that feels comfortable or fits correctly, if it doesn’t pass the required safety requirements, then it won’t be able to protect you. If you’re in the US, your helmet would need to have a DOT-approved sticker on its back. Your helmet will have an ECE-approved sticker if you’re from anywhere in the EU.
9- Your new helmet was sitting on a shelf for years
Suppose it has only been a year since you bought your new full-face helmet, but the manufacturing date of the helmet says it’s more than five years old, or maybe it is a used one. It would be common sense to replace the helmet since it has crossed its expiry date, and if you continue using it, you might put your protection at risk in case of a crash.
10- Only buy helmets from a renowned brand:
Motorcycle riders should never compromise on their safety and protection. Your head is one of the most important parts of your body, and you shouldn’t trust any no-name manufacturers with its safety and protection.
A helmet protects your head, so in turn, you should also take care of it so that it can last for a long while. Keep the helmet in a helmet bag at room temperature in storage away from rainwater and direct sunlight. Keep a good eye on its condition from the outside and from the inside to make sure it’s in top condition to protect you.
Also, be sure to pay a visit to your detailed guide regarding the different types of helmets out there. Knowing about the types and what they offer will help you make a better decision about your next helmet purchase.
Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need to replace my helmet if I drop it?
If your helmet fell from at least above 5 feet height or if it fell on a sharp object or a crack, then it is time to replace the helmet and get a new one.
Is a helmet still good if you drop it?
It depends on what height and what surface it fell from. If it only fell from a couple of feet height and there’s no damage on the shell and no other signs of wear, then your helmet might still be good to use.
Should I replace my bike helmet if I drop it?
If your bike helmet fell from 5 feet above the ground or took a hit from a sharp object as it fell, then you should replace your helmet and get a new one.What happens if you drop a bike helmet?
What happens if you drop a bike helmet?
The bike helmet suffers damage, but it might not be visible to the naked eye. For that reason, if your helmet fell from a big height, it is recommended that you get it replaced since it might not be able to protect you completely.
What is the life of a bike helmet?
Generally, bike helmets come with a life of 5 years after manufacture. However, there are other factors such as falling on the ground, getting through a crash, and many other things that reduce the life of a helmet.
How often should I change my helmet?
Riders should change their helmets every five years if they stay in perfect condition. If your helmet survives a crash or takes a hit from any other source, you should replace it as soon as possible. The 10 signs in the above section will help you know when to replace your helmet.