A bike helmet is one of the most magnificent kits that can save your life during an accident. Taking that into your consideration, you have to purchase a quality helmet.

However, there is a lot of confusion regarding how often a bike helmet should be replaced. In practical terms, it depends on the helmet condition, but the United States Government Testing Body, CPSC, suggests replacing a helmet every 5 to 10 years.

Literally, the mainstream bicycle helmet doesn’t come with a specific expiration date. That conveys, a couple of respective factors should be contemplated and checking the helmet to pick out if replacing it is essential or not.

In this write-up, we’ll show how often a bike helmet should be changed and what things should be taken into contemplation.

Why Does Bike Helmet Degrade?

A bike helmet’s material may degrade, and that’s one of the most significant reasons behind replacing a helmet. Now a question may commence in your mind: why do bike helmets degrade, right? Well, as we know, most bike helmets are made of plastic materials that can be degraded due to several reasons, including sun exposures, sweat, etc. But the rate of degradation is so inconsequential you’ll hardly notice.

The interesting fact is, research shows that sweat can never burn your helmet rather than making an unpleasant odor. Helmets are indeed made of plastic, but they are high-tech and rarely damaged by sweat. And the helmets’ straps are made from substances that are usually used in making seat belts.

We would like to remind you, sweat can’t degrade your bike’s helmet but can make the foam unable to confer complete protection.

How Often to Replace a Bike Helmet

Inside bicycle helmet
It is always vital to perceive the ins and outs of your bike helmet.

It is always vital to perceive the ins and outs of your bike helmet, including how often to replace it and the attributes of a good helmet. To understand how often to change your helmet or when to do it, you have to contemplate multiple factors. Below, we have discussed those things.

Involved in a Severe Crash?

If you have been engrossed in an oppressive crash or any bike accident where you got hit on your head, then you may need to replace your helmet. Before replacing, inspect whether it has been cracked or not; if not, no need to replace it.

But, most of the time, the helmet’s protective part got damaged due to excessive hits as it is designed for single-time use. On the grounds of that, after an accident, it is no longer as durable and safeguarding as it once was.

The maximum number of people are not willing to replace their bike helmet if it looks undamaged after a crack-up. Even so, we would like to stir up; not replacing it will only expose you to danger for sure.

If Your Helmet Don’t Fit Properly

It is necessary to replace your helmet if it no longer fits on your head. To be efficacious, a helmet should adjust accurately on your head. If your helmet is so big or so small, it’ll never protect you from an event of a crash. Because of that, we recommend using individual helmets for big heads and small heads.

Dropped on a Hard Surface?

Your favorite helmet can be broken if it is dropped on a hard surface, which happens most of the time. Falling to the ground can cause dents on your helmet, which may not be visible to the bare eyes. That’s why you should check it carefully. To be ensured, you can take it to a technician and let him inspect it to see whether it should be replaced or not.

Made of a Few Decades Ago?

It is another thing that should be taken into your account when replacing a bike helmet. No one can deny that helmets made a few decades ago look attractive, and for that reason, most riders prefer to use them.

But, it should be noted, the substance used in previous decades is not enough to provide complete safety in a severe crash. Apart from that, these helmets don’t hold hard shells and expose your head to extensive injuries, even in a trivial accident.

You may find some 80s helmets that contain hard shells, but the styrofoam liner is comparatively thinner than today’s helmets and can’t confer sufficient protection during an accident. On account of this, you need to get a new one instead of the old one.


If you see your 1980s helmet has ASTM or Snell Standard Sticker, you don’t need to replace it because it will provide you with enough protection like today’s helmet.

Consider The Brand

How often you should replace your bike helmet sometimes depends on the brand. Some manufacturers or dealers suggest changing helmets once after 3 to 5 years. But this is primarily wrong as some brands are providing helmets more durable that can last more than 5 years.

However, if you ride almost regularly, no matter what brand and quality of your helmet, changing it after 3 to 5 years will be an intuitive decision.

A group of people who think that helmets change with the passage of time is entirely wrong. Recently a study has been accomplished by MEA where they tested more than 600 helmets to see if there are any changes over time or not. Strangely, they found no major impact performances change with time.

So, if your helmet is still good-looking and can provide enough protection, no matter how old it is, you don’t need to replace it.

Bicycle helmet
United States Government Testing Body, CPSC, suggests replacing a helmet every 5 to 10 years. Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

What Feature You Have To Consider While Purchasing a Helmet

There are a few things that you’ll get on a good bike helmet, and before purchasing, consider those things.

  • Bicycle helmets must be lightweight
  • These will be unsophisticated
  • Provide ventilation to keep your head cooler
  • Comfortable and fit
  • Confer adequate protection

Final Verdict

How often should you change your bike actually relies on multiple factors that we have given above. But we mostly recommend changing the bike helmet if it is involved in a crash or when it breaks down due to falling on a hard surface. Apart from that, you can change if you notice that the helmet you use is not able to provide your complete protection during an accident or if it doesn’t fit on your head.

Bernita Fregoso

Join the Conversation


  1. Do you know how long the life of a bicycle helmet is? It’s about 3-5 years. That’s so gratifying, but I think you should change your helmet after a collision to ensure your safety when traveling on the road. Because the foam inside the helmet is designed to be used only once, an impact, no matter how strong or light, can weaken the helmet’s foam lining. Or after a hard drop on the surface, there may be some cracks and damage that you cannot see, but this reduces the effectiveness of your helmet in the future.

    1. Bike helmets are specifically designed to absorb a single impact. In case of a crash and deterioration, it is important to replace your headgear immediately. Aside from that, you should consider other factors like years of usage and environmental exposures. Thus, it is ideal to replace them every three to five years.

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