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When should a helmet be replaced?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

The instructions that come with helmets usually suggests replacing them once you have been in an accident (whatever that means to a skier is beyond me).  So what does this mean?  Do I sell my helmet on eBay to some sucker if I drop it on a tile floor?  If I fall on the snow and bump my brain-bucket on the snow it the helmet no good?  OK gearheads, how can you tell when the structural integrity of a helmet is shot to hell?

post #2 of 6

I've certainly dropped my helmet and wondered the same thing.  The helmet currently hanging above my tuning bench is still impregnated with blood and has a big crack in it.  (Reminder not to be an ass....)  I'd dropped it a number of times prior to my accident.  All I can say is, it cracked when I slammed into the tree.  But, I'm not a vegetable and had NO concussion, so it did its job.  But then I don't know at the point I hit the tree how fast I was still going, since I don't remember much about what happened.

post #3 of 6

Your gonna be hard pressed to get actual scientific advice on this one, no one wants the liability of answering to a fact.

 

The reason the helmet label reads to replace after impact is the structural integrity is compromised even if it's not visible.

 

Unless you have a lab in your home, how could you measure the diameter of the inner foam to check for compression? Your head is the same diameter as the inner helmet, there will be no visible compression (dent). Once the foam is compressed to any degree, it's shot.

 

Common sense tells you if it's cracked, damaged, rattles or any other irregularities, don't use it.

 

Why would anyone sell a damaged helmet, could you live with yourself knowing you intentionally contributed to the possible injury of another.

 

Do what the label reads, it's there for a reason, after a sizable impact toss it. Be thankful you had it, spend $100 and get another, your mother will thank you.

post #4 of 6

It is not a question of structural integrity.  It is about the helmets ability to absorb energy.  A helmet does 2 things: distributes impacts to a larger surface area then may otherwise be the case....thus reducing the damage to your head, second it "crushes".  That deformation absorbs energy so your skull and brain doesnt need to.

 

Now if you drop it on a tile floor, it will likley crush some.  How much is hard to say, but what ever amount it did crush, it wont come back.  It is not elastic.  Hence that amount of crush is now lost forever and your helmet is not as effective as it once was.  The more hits, and bangs, the less effecitive it is.

 

So when to replace?  Well my view is that 80% of people who wear helmets dont need them, so if you are one of those, dont worry about it, and just enjoy the false satisfaction of being "in".  If you are one of the 20% who should be in a helmet,then by all means replace after a hit.

 

 

PS: You would be a monumental ass if you sold a shot helmet on Ebay, or by any means for that matter.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

 

PS: You would be a monumental ass if you sold a shot helmet on Ebay, or by any means for that matter.



Of course I wouldn't do that, I was just trying to make a point with a bit of sarcasm.   Buying a used helmet is dumb for that same reason: You have absolutely no idea what you are getting.

post #6 of 6


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

It is not a question of structural integrity.  It is about the helmets ability to absorb energy.  A helmet does 2 things: distributes impacts to a larger surface area then may otherwise be the case....thus reducing the damage to your head, second it "crushes".  That deformation absorbs energy so your skull and brain doesnt need to.

 

Now if you drop it on a tile floor, it will likley crush some. 

Yeah, if you have a bowling ball inside of it when you drop it.  Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.  The stuff inside most helmets is the same stuff they make those cheap styrofoam coolers out of.  It's not too hard to figure out what will crush one of those.  It might be a little hard to realize in the heat of the moment while you are worrying about other things (like avoiding that rock or tree) whether or not you got a glancing blow to the head.  If you can remove the liner and look at the foam, the imprint of your noggin will be easy to see.

 

How much is hard to say, but what ever amount it did crush, it wont come back.  It is not elastic.  Hence that amount of crush is now lost forever and your helmet is not as effective as it once was.  The more hits, and bangs, the less effecitive it is.

 

So when to replace?  Well my view is that 80% of people who wear helmets dont need them, so if you are one of those, dont worry about it, and just enjoy the false satisfaction of being "in".  If you are one of the 20% who should be in a helmet,then by all means replace after a hit.

 

 

PS: You would be a monumental ass if you sold a shot helmet on Ebay, or by any means for that matter.

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