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Helmet Life


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Hello Ice.  It all depends on how it's treated and what kind of shape it's in.  If:

a.  The shell is cracked anywhere (including edge cracks) it's u/s (the shell is the primary force absorber and it can't be compromised);

b. The shell has been dropped and there is a soft spot or indentation on the shell surface, it's u/s (see above);

c. You have a Styrofoam liner and it's badly gouged, cracked, or dented, replace the styrofoam liner (the Styrofoam is the secondary force absorber and will be "activated" for heavier impacts - it can't be compromised);

d. You have a "bubble" skull cap liner and the "bubbles" have flattened, replace the liner (you should have at least 2 layers of the bubble liner minimum to augment impact protection - one layer doesn't cut it.  The bubble liner works in conjunction with the Styrofoam liner for heavier impact absorption);

e.  Some paints will eat into the Kevlar/carbon shell material and compromise the structure (makes it soft).  Not an issue unless your helmet was re-painted by "Bob down the street"'

f. Visors are scratched, replace them;

g. Chinstrap or attached webbing is frayed/damaged, replace them;

h. Earcup shells are cracked, they're u/s and replace them (earcups are the primary force absorber for helmets whose shells don't cover the earcups; and earcup shells are secondary force absorbers for helmets that have shells extending over top of them - they can't be compromised).   

If the helmet was involved in an accident/incident and used in anger (ie it saved your skull), retire it and replace it with a new one.  It's like an airbag, one use and done, no matter how "minor" the damage appears to be. 



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That is a great summary of inspection points.  The table on the webpage that NCR posted addresses the one point that I am focused on - the table seems to indicate that once the helmet is 12 years old it needs complete replacement.  This implies that Gentex says your helmet will not meet spec after 12 years of regular usage.

Anybody seen similar documents from other helmet manufacturers?

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