Looking for a few tips to make your helmet last longer? (Yeah, not crashing is the most obvious one…but we were talking about preventative maintenance.) We got together with Bret Milan, who in addition to being Garth's older, smarter, and better-looking brother (or so he claims) is the Racing Director for Shoei Helmets for some useful tips on making your lid last longer.
"The helmet liners should be hand-washed in cold water, and air dried. I like to use a shampoo to wash the liners, because if there's any residue left, it's a little easier on your hair and scalp. That works pretty well."
"Be sure not to use hot water, because it'll damage the glues if you use water that's too hot."
"One thing that's really good to do with your helmet when you first get it is to apply a coat of wax to the outside of the helmet. That'll help protect the paint from chipping, and also just get it shiny and make the dirt not stick as easily."
"For periodic cleaning, just take the liner and pads out and hose it off with water and dish soap. Clean it with dish soap or mild detergent. Something else that also works well is Honda Spray Cleaner and Polish. In addition to cleaning the helmet, it also leave another layer of wax on it. It makes the bugs and dirt not stick as easily."
"If you're storing your helmet for a period of time, it's a good idea to put some silicone spray on the rubber parts to keep them from drying out."
"As far as storing the helmet, you never want to store it in direct sunlight, because that will age the helmet prematurely. It can also harm the EPS (expanded polystyrene), which is the hard foam that protects your head in the event of an accident. It makes it more brittle if you leave it out in the sun. In extreme temperatures, say where you leave it in your car, you can actually melt the polystyrene."
"Another thing to be really careful of, is don't store it anywhere near gasoline or aerosols of any kind, because chemicals can harm the polystyrene, and will actually eat it away. If you put a drop of gasoline in the polystyrene, it'll start eating it away. It's easily damaged."
"Try to avoid storing it in temperatures above 100 degrees for an extended period."
"If you follow all these directions, keep it stored cool and keep it clean, a helmet should last for five years from the date of purchase."
Next week Bret will give us the low-down on how to tell when your helmet needs to be sent back to the manufacturer for inspection.