There is a lot of debate on whether or not bowling balls go bad and wear out.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what goes into making a bowling ball and how long they typically last.
We’ll also address some of the myths about whether or not bowling balls expire.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a good understanding of when it might be time to replace the ball.
See more: Bowling ball prices (updated numbers)
Do bowling balls go bad?
Yes, bowling balls do go bad eventually.
Bowling balls range anywhere from $25 to $300+.
This is one of the most important aspects to consider when purchasing a bowling ball.
The durability, life expectancy, and overall value will vary based on the price they are sold at.
Obviously, you’ll find many low-end (inexpensive) bowling balls that will only last for 20-30 games.
Some mid-range bowling balls have been known to last up to a year or two before they start giving problems.
High-end bowling balls can sometimes last 5 to 10 years easily, depending on the owner and frequency of play.
Most professional bowlers will follow this general rule of thumb – Replace your ball after 300 games (12 months).
It’s important to note that this is a general rule of thumb and may vary based on the number of games/practices you bowl in a week.
If you’re only bowling 1-2 hours per week, then your ball should last much longer than someone who bowls 4+ hours per week.
When do bowling balls go bad and how do you know?
There are many factors that will determine when a bowling ball goes bad and begins to show signs of wear.
For example, your average speed/bowling style can play a huge role in how fast your ball breaks down.
Someone with a 3-5 mph faster average speed might have issues with their ball after 65 games or less, while someone with an average speed of 15 mph might get over 100 games before any noticeable changes.
Most common issues you will experience when your ball begins to go bad:
A. The coverstock is too worn out and there isn’t enough traction.
If the coverstock on the ball becomes too smooth and doesn’t grip the lane as well as it should, then it’s time to upgrade.
B. The lanes start to burn up before the ball does.
As bowling balls have become more technologically advanced, they have changed how drastically a ball reacts on the lane once it hits the friction.
When you see your oil pattern come up early and there is a lot of “movement” at the front part of the lane, it’s time to replace your ball.
C. The coverstock cracks or chips.
I’ve seen many situations where people either take their bowling balls to the pro shop too late or ignore small cracks that are developing on their ball.
If you have a small crack in your coverstock that is only a few inches long, please don’t try to repair it and think the crack isn’t a big deal.
I see small cracks turn into huge chips all the time because people were too lazy to take care of them right away.
Why should you replace your old, worn-out bowling ball with a new one?
I always recommend that bowlers replace their old bowling ball when they start to see issues with it.
There are many variables in play here, from the average speed on your ball, to how much you use it, and even what type of oil pattern you’re bowling on.
If you don’t keep up with replacing your old ball with a fresh, new one, you will end up with a ball that is totally ineffective for your game.
Where can you get replacement bowling balls for cheap prices?
eBay – You can find an amazing variety of used and preowned bowling balls on eBay for super cheap prices.
The downside is that you don’t really know what you’re getting until it arrives.
It’s typically a buyer beware situation, so make sure you read the description of each ball very carefully before purchasing so there aren’t any surprises.
Craigslist – You can typically find a few people in your general area that are willing to part with their old bowling balls for cheap prices.
The downside is you will have to travel and meet up with the other person, which takes time and gas money.
B-Level Bowling Pro Shop – We typically sell used or preowned bowling balls that have been professionally resurfaced or reconditioned to factory specs.
If you’re not sure what type of ball would best fit your game, then stop by our pro shop and we can help you find a great deal on a replacement bowling ball.
Amazon – You can always buy a new bowling ball from Amazon for super cheap prices.
The downside is, you will have to find a way to ship it to your house and typically the ball won’t arrive for a few days.
You’ll also have to deal with any return policies if the ball isn’t what you expected.
And many other online and offline stores you can find near you.
How to extend the life of your current bowling balls?
The first tip is to have your ball resurfaced every now and then to help it retain its shine longer.
This will give you a few more weeks, even months of use out of the ball before you need to think about replacing it.
The second tip is to store the balls in cool dry places so they don’t warp.
Having them stored in areas where there is a lot of humidity and moisture can lead to your ball warping over time.
The third tip is to keep them clean.
Over time, bowling balls will get oil residue on them from being used so much.
This build-up acts as the lowest form of traction when you throw the ball.
If you have a dirty or oily bowling ball, you will notice the oil pattern coming up earlier or not looking as crisp on the lane.
Can you use old bowling balls?
Yes, you can use old bowling balls as long as they aren’t totally worn out.
If your ball has a lot of scratches or grooves that are deep from being used too much, then it’s time to replace them with a new one.
Why did my bowling ball crack in half?
Bowling balls will crack in half for a variety of reasons.
The most common reason they crack is from being stored in areas with high humidity and moisture.
This type of environment can lead to warping over time, which can lead to cracks or chips on the ball.
If the ball has a lot of scratches and grooves on it and it is not resurfaced often, then your ball can become chipped and cracked too.
This will lead to the ball cracking in half.
Finally, if you drop the ball on a hard surface, such as a tile floor or concrete, it can cause cracks and chips over time.
Eventually, this will lead the ball to crack in half.
Ultimately, it’s up to you when your ball starts showing signs of wear.
If the coverstock on the ball becomes too smooth and doesn’t grip the lane as well as it should, then it’s time for an upgrade.
We recommend replacing your old-worn out bowling ball with a new one if you start experiencing any issues related to how well your ball is performing for you.
By taking these steps, not only will you get more use of your equipment but also have a better chance at success in this competitive sport.
Last updated on March 2, 2023
Jerry Coleman is a professional bowler and experienced bowling blogger. He founded and owns the voelkersbowling.net website, which provides news and information about the sport of bowling. Jerry has competed in numerous tournaments over the years and has won several awards for his bowling skills.