The helmets are made with materials that lose their properties after five years aproximately. That is why we should to start thinking on replacing our helmet after this time.
Why do we must to change our helmet?
Helmets are made from various materials that offer resistance and energy disipation in an event of an impact. These materials can become useless after five or more years, even if they have a fiber or polycarbonate construction.
General overview of the new Shoei Qwest (left) and the same helmet after five years of use (right).
When do we have to change our helmet?
As we said, we estimate the materials can start losing their properties after five years. That does not mean after five years all their properties are gone, but it is time to start thinking on replace it. Apart from the shell and its materials, there is the EPS, located between the external shell and the internal padding, that through the time, it degradates.
Obviously, in case of an accident or a severe impact on the helmet, we should to replace it inmediately. All the helmets have been designed to resist the impact(s) of an accident once, not more.
Replacing the internal paddings
Inside the helmet there are materials that need to be replaced periodically. It is easier than replacing the whole helmet and we should do it when we notice the helmet's adjustment is not as effective as the first day. It is a very important fact, because our comfort and security depends on it. The helmet has to be well adjusted to our head at all moment.
Detail of the helmet's internal padding. It is reccomended to replace them periodically.
A helmet's life
As an example, we have a Shoei Qwest, a sport-touring helmet that has been my last choice when I had to get a new helmet. I have used it during the last five years on a varied use: daily, for commuting home and work, holidays on bike, even on racing days; that means the helmet has been used for an intensive use. If we compare this helmet with a new Shoei Qwest, we realise that in general aspects, the helmet presents some scratches but has resisted the intensive and daily use. The old Shoei has a minimum of 150.000 kilometers (120.000 miles).
The only changes I have done to the helmet is replacing twice the internal padding, on the second and fourth year. Replacing the padding will depend of the use you do to the helmet and your adjustment feeling. There are people that need to replace it more often.
The helmet's finishes on a new helmet offer greater comfort than the old ones, that are losing properties through the use and the time.
Buying a new helmet
We reccomend you to choose helmets from well-known brands, that do severe crash and resistance tests, according to offer the best protective equipment. Remember that you are buying your safety, and this is the most important thing when we ride our bike.