There’s nothing worse than breaking your bindings right in the middle of a great snowboarding session. To make sure this won’t happen to you, you need to know exactly when it is time to replace your snowboard bindings.
I would say the only moment you absolutely must replace them is when they break. You can prevent this by replacing them when they don’t feel responsive enough for your style. On average, you can expect them to last at least 3-4 years (depending on how hard you ride) before they start showing signs of weaknesses. Of course, if you’ve got the money and want to try out new bindings, nothing is stopping you from switching after 1 or 2 full seasons.
I’m personally on the “wear until it breaks” camp, as long as my set-up fits me, I’ll keep riding it till I can’t no more. On the other hand, I have friends that like having a clean set-up and switch it up as soon as something is not feeling right.
Do Snowboard Bindings Wear Out?
Like any parts of a snowboard, bindings will wear out after a while. It is important to know how long you can expect to ride them before replacing them.
Pro tip: A simple indicator to recognize quality bindings is to see which part breaks first. The first piece that should break is the ladder of the straps, which is an easy fix. If the binding’s high-back gives up on you before the straps, you should probably try other models.
Bindings Average Lifetime
Some manufacturers indicate a lifespan of 50 to 100 sessions for most bindings, while other brands advise switching pairs after 4-5 years.
The truth is, it depends on how much and how hard you ride. Some snowboarders may do 50 sessions in 2 years while for some more occasional riders, it might take up them a whole decade to reach this number of snowboarding hours. Some riders like to do big airs, some love to skim through the pines, and some prefer sticking to the trails. Either way, there isn’t a definitive number that could fit all people.
Most Common Bindings Issues & How to Fix Them
If you don’t want to wear out your material faster than normal, you should look out for these common problems you might run into while snowboarding.
Iced Up Footbeds
I remember when I first started snowboarding, I just didn’t care about having snow between my boots and my bindings. I just couldn’t be bothered to remove the layer of ice that kept forming during the chair lift.
It was until I broke a strap mid-jump and exploded at the landing that I understood how important it was to take care of your bindings.
Take care of your bindings. Always keep your footbeds ice-free!
Pro tip: Smash your heel on the baseplate to remove the ice stuck in your binding. Don’t worry about breaking it, the baseplate is the most solid part.
Iced Up Ladders
If you ride a lot of powder, you’ve probably experienced having snow coming in your straps and ladders. By cold temperature, this snow will turn into ice. If you don’t remove it, your ladders will turn into slip and slides. Your straps may open by themselves while you’re carving. Depending on the situation, it may result in all sorts of disasters.
Pro tip: If you happen to surf or to have a surf swimsuit, you can take out the wax tool that is usually attached to the pocket and use it as an ice scraper to remove the snow from the ladders.
Breaking a Strap
As I mentioned in the beginning, the first part of your binding that should break is the strap – or the ladder to be more specific. There aren’t many ways to prevent it from happening, but you can always check your straps before a session to see what’s up. Most time than not, you will see fatigue sign before the strap eventually break. Check the base of the ankle and toe straps as well as the overall status of the ladders.
On the other hand, if you break your binding ladders frequently, then it may be a sign your straps are adjusted too tightly. Try leaving more slack on the ankle ladder. It’s usually the strap that gives in first.
Pro tip: You should always have at least one ladder in your bag, in case you need a quick fix after breaking one of your straps at the top of the mountain.
Although the most common issue people have with bindings is definitely having their screws coming loose.
Why Do My Snowboard Bindings Keep Coming Loose?
Maintaining your feet locked in place on the board is a hard task. With all the twists of the ankles, switching constantly your weight from front to back, from left foot to right foot causes a lot of stress on the bindings. So, it’s normal they may come loose.
- If your bindings have a metal disc, it’s normal to have some wiggling after years. Metal doesn’t handle the best being put through constant heat and cold cycles.
- If your bindings have a plastic disc, you should be able to tighten them enough so that you won’t feel any wiggle room.
- However, by constantly tightening the bindings, your hardware can become loose quicker and more prone to breaking.
How to Fix Snowboard Bindings that Loosen Up All the Time?
They are many tips you can apply to make sure your bindings stay in place. Here is a compilation of the best ways to prevent your screws from going loose. Tested and approved.
Tighten Your Bindings
Duh. I’m sure you already tried that one. But still. Make sure to always check your set-up before every session and tighten what needs to be.
Sometimes you just don’t tighten enough the screws from the get-go and there’s a slight amount of play between the screw and the nut that installs. When you get new bindings, you should always tighten them at maximum from the bat.
Use Teflon Tape
Like a lot of things in life, a good old Teflon tape can save you much trouble. You can stack multiple layers of tape over the screws to prevent your bindings from coming loose. Not the most stylish set-up. But who cares when you can ride safely, right?
Put a Drop of Nail Polish in the Inserts
The number one trick I was told to counter wiggly hardware is to apply clear nail polish on the inserts. Usually, you want to do it when your bindings are still brand new and you’re adjusting them for the first time. Still, if your hardware is beaten up, you might want to give it a shot.
Apply Loctite or any Threadlockers on Your Screws
If your screws really don’t want to stick in place. So much that you’ve resorted to taking a screwdriver with you, you might want to take the straight-forward approach and glue your screws to the disk directly. One thing I can tell you, they won’t come loose anymore. Don’t apply more than a dip per screw or you won’t be able to unfix your bindings from your snowboard.
Disclaimer: This could damage the plastic in the disk of your binding depending on how much you put. This should only be used in last resort, when you accepted you’re going to switch set-up anyway and you ride what is left out of it.
Buy a New Set of Hardware
If you’ve already tried some of the DIY methods but still have your bindings wiggling like crazy. You should try switching up your binding screws first. A complete set shouldn’t cost you more than 10 bucks depending on where you live, and you will know immediately if your problem comes from the hardware.
Switch Your Binding Discs
If the hardware didn’t do it for you, then your issue probably comes from the disc. For a similar price to the hardware, you can have a brand-new pair of plastic discs that will surely fix the issue.
Replace Your Bindings
At some point, you must learn to say goodbye to parts of your equipment and move on. If you’ve tried everything and your bindings keep coming loose after half an hour of snowboarding, then it’s time to replace them.
Now, I understand. It can be hard to switch models when you’ve had so many great sessions with your bindings. Will the new ones fit your style? Won’t you lose control over your snowboard? Or even worst, won’t they break in only 3 sessions?
Well, there’s only one way to find out. Unless you’ve loved your last bindings so much that you want to just buy the exact same. That’s works too.