A bike helmet is designed to absorb impact but also needs to be lightweight and practical. Therefore, it can be vulnerable, which is why Consumer Reports says handle a helmet with care if you want it to take care of you when you need it most.
Testers at Consumer Reports say caring for your helmet starts with where you store it. Find a shelf in your house or garage where it’s cool and dry. Never keep it in the car. It gets really hot in your car, especially in the summer. It could degrade the foam and compromise the integrity of the helmet.”
Clean it with good old soap and water. Harsh chemicals like ammonia and bleach may damage the foam and the shell.
Be aware of any dents; even small ones mean the helmet has already absorbed some energy, making it less effective if you crash.
Also, definitely replace a helmet after any crash, whether it appears cracked or not. A bicycle helmet is designed to take just one impact.
Consumer Reports says you should also consider replacing a helmet that is more than five years old, even if it appears undamaged and has never been in a crash. Some manufacturers even recommend replacing your helmet earlier than that.
And think twice before mounting a camera or anything else on the helmet. It not only could damage the helmet, but it could also pose a risk if you crash.
All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.