What degrades a motorcycle helmet?

what degrades a motorcycle helmet

Helmets are the ultimate protectors of your head, nose, teeth, cheeks, and eyes in an accident. They not only protect you during an accident, but they also protect you from sun rays, ultraviolet radiation, excessive heat, and cold. Not wearing a helmet while riding is an invitation to fatal injuries and other health issues.

Wearing helmets is also legalized in many countries around the world. The ECE approves these helmets after being thoroughly examined and tested. Those helmets which the ECE approves are long-lasting. But as it is said that for everything, there is a fall and everything decays, so there are decay and fall helmets.

After several years the helmets start decaying and degrading. The life span of a helmet can be from 5 to 7 years, depending on the conditions you kept them. This article will give you a brief overview of how helmets degrade with time.

How long does a helmet last?

The causes of degrading helmets can range from a crash to ultraviolet rays and human errors. When you wear your helmet daily and are exposed to direct ultraviolet radiation, replacing it would be a good option after a few years. Many companies would give your life insurance but you should provide an unbiased look at your helmet and if it is not working properly, you should change it.

The Snell foundation advises bikers to replace their helmets after 5 to 7 years if they take care of them and do not wear them regularly. But if they do wear them daily, and these helmets are exposed to light, they should be changed much earlier.


Following are some of the causes of the helmets degrading.


The apparent reason for changing and replacing your helmet is a crash or accident. During the accident, the helmet is the ultimate protector of your head; thus, it has more chances of being crashed as compared to your head. So if your helmet has seen a crash, it must be replaced or can be renewed.

Ultraviolet rays

If you are someone who wears the helmet daily and is exposed to the sunlight daily, then the probability of its degradation is much higher. Most of the materials inside the helmets are sensitive to ultraviolet radiation. You might not see the effect of these radiations immediately, but over time, you will see that most of the material starts to decay because of ultraviolet rays.

So if you want your helmet to last long, keep it away from the ultraviolet rays as much as possible.


The solvent is another reason why your helmet does not last long. The solvent can be anything, like gasoline, the solvent gas, or the fuel you use for your bike. All these solvents work as decaying agents. The solvent gas can affect the plastic and the resins used in your helmets. Primarily, the solvent gas affects the helmet’s inner shell, and the outer is protected.

The gasoline is also dangerous for the helmet, so ensure that the helmet is kept away from the gasoline when you are about to fuel your bike.


The inner and outer shells of the helmet separate from each other over time. When you wear your helmet for an extended period, the bonding agent which keeps these two shells together starts to lose its grasp. Thus, it becomes very difficult to wear these helmets from then onward.

Inner lining

Due to the frequent use of the helmet, the inner lining and foam comfort lining can no longer work. When these two things are compressed, the helmet size increases slightly, and your head no longer fits into it. When your head does not fit into it, it may bounce while you ride. This situation can cause injury or damage to you.

So when you see that the inner lining is foam lining is no more there in the helmet, do replace your helmet.


Both hot and cold temperatures can affect the lifetime of your helmet. If your helmet is mainly exposed to hot weather, the sun rays can affect the silver materials used in your helmet. Similarly, exposure to freezing weather can also affect your helmet.


There are a lot of companies that give you a lifetime guarantee of the helmets. But it is a myth. One way or the other, the helmets are to degrade. There is no single way you can discover how your helmets will long last for a lifetime.

So as mentioned earlier, the Snell Foundation recommends that you should change or replace your helmet after every five to seven years.

Joost Smith

A Perpetual motorcycle rider with the sound experience & knowledge to analyze and write about motorcycle helmets. You would get to read the most practical reviews, honest opinions, and best possible recommendations through my review articles.