How Warranties Work.
The Arai Warranty and the Snell Standard
Warranties can be a confusing subject: What’s covered, for how long? What if my helmet is damaged during the warranty period? How do I know when my helmet was made? Do I have to replace my helmet when the warranty expires if I only wear it a little, if I wear it an average amount? What’s a average amount of use …?
Sound familiar? That’s why we want you to know how Arai’s warranty works - because a little knowledge can go a long way.
> First, did you know Arai helmets were the first to carry a full five-year warranty? (Fact is, for 9 years Arai was the only helmet company we know of that offered a warranty longer than one year. Which is a pretty good demonstration of a company’s faith in how well its products are made.) <
Today, Arai follows the Snell Memorial Foundation’s statement on warranties in setting a baseline for our coverage parameters. Snell recommends that a helmet be replaced within five years from its date of first use, and no more than seven years from its date of manufacture.
The current Snell standard for motorcycles is M2005, denoting its 2005 inception. The standards are usually updated every five years, meaning the next standard update will be the M2010.
An Arai helmet has its Snell certification and manufacturing information in three places:
The current standards compliance sticker contains the certification and a unique Snell serial number for each individual helmet. In other words, your Snell number identifies your specific helmet. This label is adhered to the side of the interior EPS liner, as shown in the photo. Note that on Arai models with removable comfort liners the Snell sticker may be obscured until the liner is moved or removed.
The information label sewn onto the interior comfort liner is shown in the photo. Part of it contains important information about how certain modifications to your helmet can compromise its protective capabilities.
Point #4 also states Snell’s statement on helmet age and safety: “Warning: No helmet can protect the wearer against all possible impacts. This helmet is warranted as servicable only for properly fitted first user. It should be replaced after no more than 5 years of use.”
The manufacturing date for your Arai helmet, along with the warranty information can be found stamped on your chinstrap or on the sewn-in label tag on some models. The “warranty” chinstrap is shown here; the opposite strap has the date of manufacture as Month/Year (for example 08/01, 04/04, 10/06, etc.).
Now, about that question on how much helmet use is too much, and what if you rarely wear it, etc., etc.
The simple truth is, even a helmet as good as an Arai won’t last forever.
Why? Think of a helmet in terms of your body. No matter how good it may look, or how well you take care of it, age takes its toll. Even with minimal use, a helmet is affected by things like acids and oils in sweat, hair care products, pollution, exposure to UV rays, etc. At about the five-year mark, helmet interiors begin to show normal wear, which should serve as an alert to its overall condition. The helmet’s fit may begin to feel a little “loose,” not as snug as it once did. This unseen, but normal, aging of the EPS liner and fiberglass shell can affect the helmet’s ability to perform in an impact as it was originally designed to do.
Also, if a helmet suffers an impact and any doubt exists as to its integrity, it should either be returned to the manufacturer for competent inspection or discarded and replaced.
A helmet that was used only a few times and then stored for a long period of time (even if properly stored under good conditions) may experience as much, if not more, interior material deterioration due to the fact that the acids and oils in the sweat that was left behind continue to interact and attack the comfort lining materials, robbing them of moisture and leaving them less resilient and more prone to premature breakdown.
These are the reasons to replace your helmets after five years. Of course, if your helmet becomes less than snug in fit, or it becomes damaged, it should be replaced before the five-year mark.