How Long Do Plastic Bowling Balls Last? (Quick Facts)

Bowling enthusiasts know that the right bowling ball can make all the difference in your game.

One crucial factor to consider when choosing a ball is its durability and expected lifespan. After all, you want to invest in something that will last, right?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the average lifespan of plastic bowling balls, factors that contribute to their longevity or wear and tear, and how proper maintenance can extend their life considerably.

How Long Do Plastic Bowling Balls Last?

Plastic bowling balls typically last for 150-300 games or 5-10 years, but this lifespan can vary depending on various factors such as usage, maintenance, and storage conditions.

However, it’s important to note that various factors can impact the longevity of a bowling ball – including its material composition.

For instance, reactive resin bowling balls typically offer improved performance on certain lane conditions but may require more frequent replacement than their plastic counterparts.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of A Plastic Bowling Ball

There are several factors that can affect the lifespan of a plastic bowling ball.

First and foremost, the frequency of use and amount of wear and tear on the ball can greatly impact its durability.

Additionally, the storage conditions for the ball can also play a role in how long it lasts. Properly storing your plastic bowling ball in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight can help prevent damage to the surface or coverstock.

Finally, maintenance is another major factor affecting longevity; regularly cleaning your ball with a non-abrasive cleaner and polish after each use can help remove dirt and oil buildup that might otherwise contribute to wear and tear over time.

The Impact Of Maintenance On A Bowling Ball’s Lifespan

Proper maintenance plays a crucial role in preserving the lifespan of a plastic bowling ball. Consistently cleaning and polishing your ball can help remove accumulated dirt, grime, and oil residue on the surface that might affect its performance over time.

It’s essential to store it in a cool, dry place when not in use to prevent wear and tear or cracking due to excessive heat or cold temperatures.

Regularly checking for any signs of damage is also vital – small cracks or chips may seem insignificant but can significantly impact how well the ball rolls down the lane.

Signs Your Plastic Bowling Ball Needs Replacing

Visible Damage To The Ball

When a plastic bowling ball shows visible signs of damage, it may be time to replace it. Cracks or fractures on the surface can cause the ball to lose its balance and affect its performance.

If there are scratches or chips present in the cover stock, this could also impact the ball’s reaction to lane conditions.

It’s essential to regularly inspect your plastic bowling ball for these types of issues because they can appear gradually over time. Regular maintenance and proper storage practices can help extend a ball’s lifespan, but eventually, all balls will wear out and need replacement.

Changes In Ball Weight Or Grip

One indicator that it may be time to replace your plastic bowling ball is a change in weight or grip. If you notice that the ball feels heavier than usual, it could mean that the core has shifted or there is damage inside.

On the other hand, if you feel like you are gripping the ball differently and it’s affecting your game, this might be due to wear and tear on finger inserts or changes in the cover stock of the ball.

It’s important to pay attention to these signals as they can impact your performance over time.

Reduced Performance

If your plastic bowling ball is not performing as it once did, it may be time to consider replacing it. Signs of reduced performance can include the inability to pick up spares or hitting fewer strikes than before.

Your ball may also feel heavier or harder to control, which could indicate internal damage. Additionally, if you notice changes in the surface of your ball such as scratches and nicks, this can affect its performance since these imperfections will cause variations in how the ball interacts with the lane.

Wear And Tear On The Cover Stock

Over time, the cover stock of a bowling ball can experience wear and tear, which can affect its overall performance. The surface of the ball may become scratched or scuffed after repeated use and exposure to lane conditions, making it less effective at gripping the lane and throwing hooks.

To prevent wear and tear on your plastic bowling ball’s cover stock, it’s important to clean it regularly with a ball cleaner designed specifically for plastic balls. This will help remove any oil buildup that may be affecting its performance.

By taking good care of your bowling ball’s cover stock, you can extend its lifespan and ensure that you’re getting optimal performance every time you step up to bowl.

How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Bowling Ball

How Long Do Plastic Bowling Balls Last

Proper Cleaning And Maintenance

To ensure your plastic bowling ball lasts as long as possible, it’s important to keep it clean and well-maintained. Start by wiping down the ball after each game with a dry towel or microfiber cloth, making sure to remove any dirt or debris from the cover stock.

It’s equally essential to avoid exposing your plastic ball to extreme temperatures or moisture, as this can cause damage and reduce its lifespan significantly. Instead, store your ball in a cool, dry place when not in use, such as a locker or carrying case with good ventilation.

Appropriate Storage

To extend the lifespan of your plastic bowling ball, storing it appropriately is crucial. Avoid leaving it in extreme temperatures, like a car trunk on a hot day or a freezing garage.

Instead, store it at room temperature in a dry place with moderate humidity.

Remember not to stack heavy objects on top of your ball during storage as this could cause damage or deformity over time. When traveling with your bowling ball, make sure you secure it inside its carrying case properly for added protection.

Use A Ball Polish And Cleaner

I highly recommend using a ball polish and cleaner to keep your plastic bowling ball in top condition. A good polish can help remove dirt and oil buildup on the surface of the ball, which in turn helps improve its performance.

Regular cleaning also ensures that your ball doesn’t wear out too quickly, as it prevents grime from getting embedded into the cover stock. I personally use a high-quality bowling ball cleaner designed specifically for plastic balls like mine to help maximize their lifespan, such as those offered by Brunswick or Motiv.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

As a general rule, plastic bowling balls should be kept at room temperature to avoid damage. Extreme heat or cold can cause the ball to become brittle and eventually crack.

For example, leaving your ball in the trunk of your car on a hot summer day can cause significant damage to the material over time.

On the other hand, extreme cold temperatures can also harm your bowling ball by causing structural damage and reducing its overall performance. Therefore, it is essential to avoid exposing the plastic ball to any form of harsh weather conditions that might reduce its lifespan expectancy.

Choosing The Right Ball For Your Skill Level And Style

As a bowler, it’s essential to choose the right ball for your skill level and style to maximize performance and extend the lifespan of your bowling equipment.

For beginner or entry-level bowlers, plastic balls are an excellent choice as they provide a consistent roll and are easy to control.

For intermediate or advanced players, reactive resin bowling balls may be a better option. These types of balls react more strongly to lane conditions and can produce higher scores with more hook potential.

Overall, choosing the right bowling ball is crucial for optimal performance on the lanes and extending its lifespan through proper maintenance.


In conclusion, the lifespan of plastic bowling balls can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as proper maintenance, usage, and storage.

With routine maintenance and care, most quality bowling balls can last for at least 5-10 years or more. It’s important to keep an eye out for wear and tear signs on your ball so you know when it’s time to replace it.

Additionally, choosing the right ball for your skill level and throwing style is important in maximizing its lifespan while also getting optimal performance on the lanes.

Last updated on July 3, 2023