Reader Question: When to Get a New Helmet?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Marks asks: I have an old HJC helmet that’s super comfortable! It’s lightweight, easy to put on, and feels like an old, well worn baseball cap. Unfortunately, it’s 10-12 years old, and the helmet makers recommend replacement after 3-5 years. While I understand that everything wears out eventually; while I understand that almost everything has to replaced eventually; I can’ t help but wonder if the helmet makers are being self-serving. After all it’s in their interest for motorcycle riders to buy more helmets. Having said that, I have newer helmets, but I still like that old HJC.

My reply: This is one of those pros and cons, shades-of-gray things. Older helmets with non-styrofoam liners or other materials that shrink over time might not fit properly (leading to fatigue and other issues) and that’s always a good reason to replace the thing. But other than that – unless it struck the pavement hard (as during a wreck) – it is mostly a question of whether you like it vs. a newer one.

The standards are, of course, regularly changing. And on account of that, your helmet probably (almost certainly) doesn’t meet the current/latest saaaaafety standards. Does that mean it’s “unsafe”? I don’t think it does – for the same reason I don’t think a 2005 Mercedes S-Class that doesn’t meet the latest saaaaaaafety standards is “unsafe.”

For me, the primary considerations are: Does it fit well? Does it not feel heavy? Does it provide decent visibility? Does it ventilate well? If it does, I keep it until I feel the need for a new one that does a better job.

Here’s some good additional info on this topic.

. . .

Got a question about cars, bikes, or Sickness Psychosis? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at and I will send you a copy directly!


  1. Eric is right. They are probably ‘safe’ for a long time. I would think it’s mostly a visual inspection thing. Like when you see/find a helmet from the 60-70’s and it’s got surface cracks and the inside is ratted out, probably not a good idea to wear that one.
    Whenever I have done roadracing stuff, they require Snell approved helmets that are not older than 10 years. There is a Snell sticker with a date on it. Probably due to lawyer speak.
    For me personally, I only wear Snell stuff on the street, but it’s probably been ingrained into me from years of roadracing. I believe it is a much better standard than DOT.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here