Not sure if you should replace your helmet? Unfortunately many people are unaware of a helmet’s useful life. If your helmet looks like it has some visible scratches to the outside, you may want to inspect the inner lining for signs of damage. Helmet replacement is largely based on use, exposure to the elements, and treatment of the helmet. However, due to evolving helmet standards, technologies, and the potential for unseen material deterioration, it is recommended that you replace your helmet at least every five years from the date of purchase. Any helmet involved in an accident needs to be replaced immediately. Here is a great helmet replacement strategy to follow:
Knowing when it’s time to replace a helmet is as critical to rider safety as wearing one. Even with limited use, a helmet’s hard foam lining can break down over time, says Drusilla Malavase, co-chair of the Equestrian Headgear Subcommittee for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
To make the most of a helmet’s longevity, Malavase recommends storing it in an area where the temperature is moderate and consistent. “I tell people to treat their helmets like a beloved dog or child,” she says. “Never store it in a hot car or in the tack room when it’s below zero [degrees Fahrenheit].”
Regardless of their purchase date, helmets should be replaced immediately when they are involved in a serious fall or other hard blow. Some warranties require that damaged helmets be returned to the manufacturer in order for owners to qualify for discounted replacement costs (learn more about the Troxel Accident Replacement Program).
“At Troxel, our technical staff carefully examines select helmets that have been sent to us after accidents,” says Jorge Garcia, VP of engineering at Troxel. “The outer shell often doesn’t show any damage, but after we disassemble the helmet, we find hairline cracks or compressed areas in the protective foam that absorbed the impact. All that means is that the helmet did its job by giving up its structural integrity to absorb some of the energy of the impact. Once the structure is compromised, the helmet would not perform the same way again if involved in a second accident. That is why we at Troxel urge riders to immediately replace a helmet that has been involved in any accident, even if the helmet does not appear to be damaged.”
The content above originally appeared on the Troxel blog.
Helmet Replacement Programs
- Troxel – Will replace helmets involved in an accident within 2 years after purchase for a replacement fee. Learn more.
- IRH – Will replace helmets involved in an accident within 3 years after purchase for a replacement fee. Learn more.
- Ovation – Will replace helmets involved in an accident within 3 years after purchase for a replacement fee. Learn more.
- Tipperary – Will replace helmets involved in an accident within 1 year after purchase for a replacement fee. Learn more.
- One K – Will replace helmets involved in an accident within 3 years after purchase for a replacement fee. Learn more.
Prolong the Life of your Helmet
Not only should helmets be retired after a significant fall, but after a severe blow of any kind as well. This includes being dropped on a hard surface, even though it may not immediately appear damaged visually.
A helmet’s interior is made of a high-grade expanded polystyrene, full of microscopic bubbles. The layers of bubbles burst upon an impact, and as they burst they protect your head and reduce the risk of injury. Once these bubbles have burst, they cannot be replaced. In addition, these polystyrene bubbles inside your helmet will melt in extreme heat (158°F+), so never store your helmet in direct sunlight or a hot car.
Always clean your helmet with products specifically made for that purpose. Dry-cleaning, solvents, and dishwashers will irreversibly damage your helmet.
A good rule of thumb to prolong the life of your helmet is to never do anything to your helmet that you would not do to your head!
Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day July 12, 2014
The Cheshire Horse will be participating in Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day at all of our retail locations and online on Saturday, July 12, 2014 by offering 20% off all helmets in stock. We carry helmets from Charles Owen, Troxel, GPA, Ovation, IRH, Tipperary, One K, and more. We are certified Charles Owen helmet fitters, and we are here to ensure the best helmet fit for you.