For bikers who look to the fine print in regards to what’s covered and for how long, Clutch and Chrome reviews the range and depth of warranties behind some popular helmet brands. Just a point of clarification, this article looks at the warranties offered by helmet manufacturers, not the return policies of the retailers actually selling the product.
Riders can spend anywhere from fifty dollars to well over one thousand dollars to purchase a certified motorcycle helmet. While a manufacturer’s warranty will most likely carry less weight in the buying decision of a lower-priced helmet, rider’s forking out the bigger bucks should certainly want to know what’s covered and for how long.
This round-up of information was encouraged by a recent press release from German manufacturer Schuberth promoting a five-year warranty from date of purchase on all its motorcycle helmets.
‘Schuberth has ambitious goals: the highest standards of quality, maximum safety and the best possible helmets,’ states the press release dated September 20th, 2016. ‘This also includes having the best possible warranty, which is why Schuberth offers a five-year warranty from date of purchase on all its motorcycle helmets – worldwide, without any additional cost, covering the entire helmet and without any loopholes.’
One of the phrases used in the above statement highlights a standard buyers should consider about any warranty, when exactly the clock starts ticking on this magical manufacturer guarantee. This period is determined by two standards, when the product was manufactured and the purchase date. Some warranties only use the purchase date to determine when it starts while others consider both. In typical warranty fashion, if both standards are applied whichever date comes first is usually the deciding date.
Either way, riders serious about being able to take advantage of a helmet's warranty should know when the helmet was made and have proof when they bought it. There are a variety of ways riders can save the receipt, or proof of purchase, with some manufacturers allowing registration of a new helmet. The manufacturing date can be found on the helmet itself.
Even holding this HJC helmet carefully, she only enjoys a twelve month warranty
The other facet of helmet warranties would be what’s actually covered. This subject is broader and contains much more legal-speak, but basically protects buyers from any problems arising from ‘defective materials or workmanship’. Damage to a helmet caused by an accident or one that has been modified in any way isn’t covered. For those wondering what a warranty may consider as modification, Scorpion helmet explains it as ‘[including] but is not limited to the installation of audio systems, drilling the shell or liner, carving or compressing the liner and painting of the shell’.
One of the highlights of the warranty guarantee Schuberth promoted with its press release is how it will handle helmets that have been involved in an accident.
‘Although damage to the helmet caused by an accident is not covered by the guarantee and will not be repaired for safety reasons in any circumstances, Schuberth does offer the owner the opportunity to purchase an identically constructed helmet at a third of the current, non-binding recommended retail price,’ the press release reads.
Other vague terms such as misuse and improper storage voids warranties with those covering fading paint and decals coming down to the manufacturer.
For the most part, helmet manufacturers agree with Scorpion who explains, ‘All dyed/pigmented fabrics, polycarbonites (ie: helmets) and vinyl will fade under UV exposure (sunlight) over time. Scorpion fabrics are highly UV resistant, but HI-VIS fabrics will fade at a faster rate than normal fabrics under the same UV exposure. This is a normal property of all HI-VIS pigments/fabrics and is not considered a manufacturer defect.’
However, Arai helmets does include fading paint under their warranty.
‘Significant paint fading within the first year of use will be covered by the warranty, but fading claims submitted after 12 months from date of purchase will be handled on a pro-rated basis, based on the 60 months of the 5 year warranty period,’ Arai helmets promises.
Just as important as what a warranty covers is how long it lasts. The shortest warranty period found among the manufacturers considered for this article was one year which is offered by Bell, Harley-Davidson and Icon helmets, using the purchase date as the start of the coverage. This is certainly the shortest of warranties and surprising of Bell as they offer an interesting service to its customers, a free helmet inspection.
‘Our technician will thoroughly inspect your helmet, note any damage found and make our recommendations on whether the helmet should continue to be used,' explains Bell on its website.
Also using the date of purchase, HJC offers a warranty lasting three years while AGV, Nolan and Shark warranties are valid for five years.
Moving to the warranties that look to either the purchase or manufacturing date, Arai and Shoei helmet are covered under warranty for five years from purchase date or seven years from the date of manufacture.
Fading paint, not a problem with Arai - Just make sure its significant!
Riders interested in Scorpion helmets need to do a little more homework as they offered differing warranties based on the model. The Scorpion helmets carry ether a 3 year purchase / 5 year manufacture date warranty, or a 5 year purchase/ 7 year manufacture date warranty. An interesting addition to Scorpions warranty is the addition of faceshields, covering them for one year from original purchase date.
As if all the above wasn’t involved enough, helmet owners who are successfully covered by a warranty may find repairs or replacement could be limited to the current cost of the helmet, regardless of what they originally paid. Legally, this is stated as ‘the current, non-binding recommended retail price’ leaving any excess amount being picked up by the rider.
It’s at this point we should note, the information used in this article was brought together using online resources and is only meant for general discussion. Riders genuinely interested in what any warranty covers should make their own efforts to gather current information for a particular helmet before purchasing.
Ultimately, a ride through the different motorcycle warranties takes us to the firm conclusion that riders should head to the appropriate page on the helmet manufacturers website and read through what their warranty covers and what it doesn’t.
For those spending larger amounts on a motorcycle helmet, a thought should be given to not voiding the warranty. Although the warranty language is pretty vague, riders shouldn’t tamper or modify a helmet in any way. Riders can take care of their investment by storing it correctly using a helmet bag and avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions.