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How Long Do Bike Helmets Last?

How Long Do Bike Helmets Last? Find Out The Truth

Do you wonder how long do bike helmets last? Do you worry about how to care for your helmet? Under what conditions should you replace your helmet?

Most helmet manufacturers recommend you replace a helmet every five years. Some, such as Bell and Giro, recommend every three years. People may tell you this is just marketing. According to Snell, this is not the case and the five years rule should be followed.

There are many reasons that degrade your helmet’s life cycle to under 5 years, such as if it is:


helmet crashed

If you have crashed, you should stop using that helmet immediately. This is because your helmet will no longer protect you. Even if it looks ok, it will fly apart on any future accident, giving you no coverage.

Before you bin it, though, make sure the company that made it does not offer a crash replacement warranty. Bell and Giro offer this on some of their helmets, so remember and keep details when you buy a new helmet.


drop helmet

Repeated drops will break your helmet. Bike helmets are a one use item, but they can take a drop on the floor. You should however not try and bounce your helmet off the floor.

If you think a drop has damaged it, get it checked by a professional and do not use it again until it has been okayed. It is your head's weight inside the helmet that causes the damage to the helmet.

Slowly Degrading

slowly degrading

Everyday life throws a lot of different properties at your helmet

  • Cleaning agents and other petroleum based products will degrade the materials your helmet is made from.
  • Hair products, sweat, and cosmetics, will all degrade your helmet from the inside out
  • UV rays will also, according to Met, deteriorate the plastic of your helmet. This damage is invisible to the naked eye but will shorten the lifetime of your helmet

Snell states that you should regularly check your helmet for signs of degradation. Small cracks around the edge of your helmet will indicate aging. If this happens, it is time to replace your helmet.

Incorrectly Stored


Leaving your helmet in the car, in direct sunlight, or even in a dark kit bag on a sunny day can all lead to your helmet suffering from heat damage. Storing your helmet correctly will make sure your helmet does not prematurely die.

If your helmet is damaged in this way, the surface of your helmet will look uneven or bubbly. As such always store your helmet in a cool, dry, and dark area.

Poorly Cleaned


Poorly cleaned helmets can also affect their age

  • Solvent based cleaner: it will destroy the foam of your helmet
  • Petroleum based cleaners: they turn helmet foam into a liquid
  • Putting your helmet in a washing machine or dishwasher to wash it: They will cause the helmet's plastic shell to separate from the foam inner.
  • Drying your helmet in a microwave or an oven: the helmet will melt

Pro Tips:

In order to make sure your helmet makes the age limit, specified by the manufacturer. The best tip for cleaning is to follow the manufacturer's advice. If you have lost that advice, then we want you to use warm water, a soft cloth and a mild soap, such as a dish washing soap, we then need to leave the helmet to air dry.

If your helmet has begun to smell. Try Bennett's Helmet Fresh. This product does not have a masking agent; it just cleans deeply. Use it sparingly and only if needed


outdated helmet

Snell point out that every five years, helmets have advanced in their safety properties, so it is good thinking to buy a new one. Being safer has got to be a good reason for the purchase of a new helmet.


How long do bike helmets last ? Now we know we want a helmet that is younger than five years old , has not been crashed and has been stored correctly. We also need to check it for damage, remember that even though it should last five years. If you crash on the way home after buying it, you have to head back and buy a new one. It is also worth keeping some Bennett's Helmet Fresh, for those warm summer days.

Check our checklist below, and if you have any further questions, please comment below, and we will do our best to answer them for you.

  • Is it under 5 (3 for Bell or Giro) years old?
  • Does the internal foam look ok?
  • Has it no cracks?
  • Has it no dents?
  • Check for bubbly, uneven surfaces
  • Has it had a lot of sun exposure?
  • Followed our cleaning rules?

Remember though that not all damage is visible. If you are unsure have it checked by an expert or do not use it again

About the Author Nick Soros

Hi, I'm Nick Soros. I have been an cycling enthusiast from 2006. is my personal blog where I share my pedaling experience. No matter you are a new cyclist or skillful one, you would find useful topics in my site. Have a great cycling...