Helpful Tips to Let You Know When It’s Time for a New Helmet
A general rule of thumb says you should replace your helmet every 3-5 years. However, many factors can compromise the integrity of the protective EPS – Expanded Poly Styrene – foam and negatively affect your helmets ability to protect you. In this journal post we’ll discuss the obvious and not so obvious signs that it’s time for a new lid.
Regular visual inspections of your helmet are essential. Be on the lookout for a crack or scuff in the outer shell, frayed or torn webbing or fit system attachments that may have pulled out of position. If your helmet is equipped with MIPS, make sure the MIPS elastomeric bands that attach to your helmet are in place and not damaged or torn. Look for dents and cracked or crushed EPS foam. These are all signs that your helmets structural integrity may be compromised. A dent or crack in the EPS reduces its ability to dissipate energy during an impact. Damage to the outer shell also negatively affects the helmets ability to absorb energy. Frayed or torn webbing could cause the straps to fail when you need them most.
A non-negotiable truth is, if you hit your head in a crash, you need a new helmet. External signs of damage might be obvious after an incident, such as scuffs or dents but make sure to also inspect the inside. More subtle imperfections like a small crack or compression of the foam decrease your helmets ability to do its job. Unfortunately, you can’t always see the damage that reduces the helmet’s protection. Play it safe, if you hit your head during a crash, replace your helmet.
Just like your skin, prolonged exposure to outside elements such as ultraviolet light, and air pollution can cause damage and reduce the effectiveness of your helmet. Even the chemicals in your sunscreen can degrade the EPS foam over time. To increase the longevity of your helmet, keep it in a cool and dry location, indoors and wipe off excess sunscreen that may have transferred from your skin to the helmet before storing.
Generally speaking, the more your helmet gets used, the sooner it will need to be replaced.
Helmets have been proven to dramatically reduce head injuries during crashes. Your brain is your most important asset, so please, follow the simple suggestions above to ensure your helmet can do its job when you need it most.