Skip to Content

How Long Do Bowling Balls Last? Can Bowling Balls Go Dead?

New bowling balls of various colors sitting on a ball return in a bowling alley

It’s the utmost will of everyone that everything that wears off stays intact forever. Bowling business owners tend to wish bowling balls would last a little longer than they do due to their cost of purchase.

Do bowling balls have different qualities? How long should the bowling ball last? How do you know when to replace a bowling ball? When should you have your bowling ball maintenance routine?

Read on to get all the answers and many more.

How Long Do Bowling Balls Last?

Short answers- it depends. Long answer, unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule for determining how long a bowling ball will last; and here’s why.

It depends on a variety of factors, including the amount and frequency of uses, the frequency of maintenance, and even the climate where you live and the temperatures it’s subjected to. A quality bowling ball could last at least 5-10 years if properly maintained.

Close-up view of an old bowling ball that is yellow

Signs of Wear and Tear on Your Bowling Ball

From re-polishing to resurfacing, replacing finger inserts to removing apparent tracks, regular maintenance may remedy many of the signs of wear and tear on a bowling ball.

Although a damaged coverstock may be repairable, depending on the severity and duration of the crack, you may be better suited to purchase a new ball.

Loss of response and hook is another affliction of old age in bowling balls. If you’re finding that you can’t seem to hook the ball like you used to, it’s time to get a new one.

If you hear a hollow sound when you hit the pins or a rattling as the ball hits the floor, you’re probably dealing with a detached core.

What Is A Reactive Resin Bowling Ball?

A reactive resin ball is composed of polyurethane material. The most significant distinction between urethane and plastic bowling balls is that the ball is permeable. As the ball glides down the lane, the pores create greater traction. The reactivity of the ball is due to this grip.

A reactive resin ball will perform best for intermediate to advanced bowlers with a hook shot. Hook shots can also be made with plastic and urethane balls, but they are more difficult to execute.

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

As spare balls, plastic, and urethane balls are frequently utilized. If you just have one pin to hit with your spare shot, you should shoot straight at it without any hook. After a reactive resin ball loses its reactivity, the same may be said. It can still be used as a spare ball for straight aim.

How Long Does a Reactive Resin Bowling Ball’s Surface Last?

When stored at room temperature and cleaned regularly, the average reactive bowling ball has a lifespan of 5-10 years. That’s roughly 150-300 games before the sensitivity begins to diminish significantly. The less you clean your reactive resin ball and the more oil it absorbs, the shorter its life’s lifetime will be.

How Long Does a Urethane Bowling Ball Last?

Based on characteristics like longevity, usage, and maintenance, a urethane bowling ball could last up to ten years. To get there, you’d have to play between 250 and 300 games. Urethane balls, one of the most durable coverstock materials used in bowling balls, provide a high level of durability.

How Long Does the Surface of a Plastic Ball Last?

While plastic bowling balls may not absorb oil as readily as reactive bowling balls, they do wear down in distinct ways over time. The core arrangements for less expensive plastic balls sometimes have shorter usage lives.

When the ball hits the pins, it makes a hollow or rattling sound, which indicates a split core. Older plastic balls are also prone to shattering near the finger holes. Depending on proper care and your throwing habits, a decent plastic ball can last 5-10 years or longer.

Red urethane ball in ball return on a  lane with pins in the background

How Do Lane Conditions Affect the Life of a Bowling Ball?

Your equipment is only as good as its surroundings and the conditions it must face. If you throw your ball at a run-down alley regularly, each shot shortens the life of your ball.

If your alley’s operator fails to adequately oil the back end of their lanes as the day progresses, your ball may experience depletion conditions, which could lead to further cracking or fissures.

How Do You Know When to Replace Your Own Bowling Ball?

If you’ve kept your ball in good condition but are still having problems with it, you should consider replacing it. Also, if the ball is cracked, bent, or has a core split, you should assess your options because fixing a ball isn’t always worth it.

Sometimes it’s preferable to spend that money on a new ball. But that doesn’t imply you should abandon your old ball. Your bowling ball has the potential to last longer!

Keep reading for tips to make it last longer.

Variety of coloful bowling balls but the orange is their own ball

How Do You Make a New Bowling Ball Last Longer?

Invest in a microfiber towel and use it to completely clean down your ball between throws. Excess oil, filth, and grime must be removed to keep your coverstock healthy for many more games. You can also use a variety of bowling-specific cleansers to clean your ball once a week or so.

Furthermore, rotate your ball once a week and keep it at room temperature. Too hot or too cold ambient temperatures might damage your ball’s coverstock and shorten its lifespan.

How to Clean Your Bowling Ball for Peak Performance

How Do You Rejuvenate Old Bowling Balls for Extended Use?

It depends on the problems you’re facing. The routine care we recommended for a new bowling ball also applies to older bowling balls. With an older ball, however, you’ll have to be considerably more cautious.

Consider rebuffing the coverstock closer to the original factory finish and having it entirely resurfaced if it’s starting to break. Inquire at your local pro shop for advice on your specific ball, and remember to clean it after each usage.

You can either have your ball carefully baked to remove excess oil, or you can learn how to do it yourself in your dishwasher.

Maximizing Your Bowling Balls Performance

Should You Take Your Reactive Ball To A Local Pro Shop or Clean It Yourself

If you want to keep a reactive resin bowling ball in good shape for years, you’ll have to clean it shot after shot, game after game.

 It’s vital to take good care of it when it’s in use if you want it to last as long as possible. However, some maintenance difficulties, ranging from finger inserts to coverstocks, may necessitate contacting a pro shop. 

DIY (do-it-yourself)-style, you can keep a reactive ball in good working order. However, calling in a pro (regardless of your bowling skill level or knowledge base) is occasionally better — especially if you don’t have the tools they do for regenerating bowling balls for dozens of others in the community.

How Many Games Can You Get Out of a Bowling Ball?

200 to 300 games, but it depends on how many games you play and how well you keep track of your bowling ball. It also depends on the type of oil you’re using.

Bowling on dry lanes, where your bowling ball absorbs less oil, can last longer than bowling on oily lanes, where your bowling ball absorbs more oil and, if not cleaned off, can harm your bowling ball over time.

A lane and pin that where the bowling ball's life was expired and  no longer grips the lane

Best 3 Long Lasting Bowling Balls

1. Brunswick T Zone

Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball (Plastic)

A great option to consider is the TZone Deep Space bowling ball by Brunswick. A plastic ball that is great for straight line bowling. The Brunswick TZone Deep Space is not to be overlooked. It's also a great entry-level bowling ball for beginners trying to get a handle on different lane conditions.

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

Key Features

  • Polyester Coverstock with crown factory polish
  • Very low hook potential (25 on a scale of 10-175) for pinpoint accuracy to catch spares
  • Nine different ball colors are available with gorgeous galaxy swirl designs
  • Available in 6 to 16 pounds weight range
  • Brunswick T Zone balls have a 1-Year polyester bowling ball warranty

Brunswick T Zone bowling balls are an affordable spare ball for players of all skill levels, as well as an excellent first ball for beginners. 

T Zone bowling balls have a long-lasting polyester cover material that allows for straight-line accuracy and consistency. 

Beginner bowlers can use some of their funds for other necessary items, such as gloves and bowling shoes, thanks to the lower price tag of this ball. Brunswick T Zone balls are a superb straight-shot second ball option for intermediate and expert bowlers as a spare bowling ball. 

The symmetrical core and low hook capability of the ball provide good lane length and consistency in finding your spare shot mark.

2. Pyramid Path Rising

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

Key Features

  • Pearl reactive coverstock with factory polish finish
  • Symmetric core type and medium flare potential
  • Versatile drilling options for various bowling styles
  • Eight different ball colors are available
  • Available in a 12-pound weight

On medium to medium-dry lane conditions, Pyramid Path Rising allows any type of bowler to attain top performance.

For a clean aesthetic and sharp ball responsiveness, the ball is polished to 1500 grit. The pearl reactive resin coverstock gives the ball a delicate hooking effect.

 Pyramid Path Rising Bowling Balls include a variety of drilling options, allowing you to customize your ball to your skill level and needs.

3. Storm Phaze III 

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

Key Features

  • Hybrid reactive coverstock
  • Available in 12 to 16 pounds weight range
  • Velocity symmetric core
  • Suitable for all oil conditions
  • Grapevine scented bowling ball

The Storm Phaze III incorporates the most advanced bowling ball technology to provide you with a fantastic gaming experience. 

The Phaze III is finished with a 1500-grit polished hybrid reactive cover. It has a fast-revving Velocity symmetric core that propels the ball down the lane while conserving energy for when you need it without over-reacting.

The ball works well in a wide range of bowling techniques and oil patterns. The grapevine aroma is all the rage among critics, although it isn’t as vital as its performance.

Life Expectancy of Modern Bowling Balls

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Old Bowling Balls Any Good?

Dull surface bowling ball is best for the cheetah pattern

Yes, older reactive balls can be quite reliable reacting pieces of equipment. If you’re bowling on a lane that requires you to play an outside line, such as the PBA Cheetah pattern, resurfacing an older bowling ball can be a good option.

Does a Bowling Ball Lose Its Hook?

A bowling ball can lose its hooking potential without proper care and maintenance

Yes, the oil and grime gathered on the lanes, as well as inadequate care and aging, cause bowling balls to lose their hook. If not properly cleaned and stored at suitable temperatures, the oil is absorbed into the pores of the coverstock, causing your ball’s performance to deteriorate over time.

What Is a Good Price for a Used Bowling Ball?

Ball bowling refitting and finding the positive axis point

Prices for used bowling balls range between $50 and $125.

The price of bowling balls ranges because of the materials used, the weight, and the customization. If you’re purchasing a used ball, more than likely, you’ll need to plug the old finger holes and have the ball refitted to your hand.

How Often Should You Clean Most Bowling Balls?

Easy street oil pattern affects throw

Most bowling ball manufacturers and expert bowlers throughout the world recommend that you clean your bowling ball thoroughly every six games. That doesn’t include cleaning your bowling ball with a microfiber cloth after each shot or properly storing it between games. Every six games, a full cleansing should be conducted, and routine maintenance approaches should be used in the meantime.

Do Bowling Balls Have a Shelf Life?

Bowling balls on return that has absorbed oil from bowling lane

It depends on a variety of factors, including the amount and frequency of uses, the frequency of maintenance, and even the climate where you live and the temperatures it is subjected to. A quality bowling ball should last at least 5-10 years if properly maintained.

Related Articles

Bowling ball surely lasts longer than we expected. With maintenance and purchase of the required quality bowling ball, your bowling can last longer than you expected.

Regarding the post above, now you know when you should replace your bowling ball. Make your bowling ball last longer, and save your money!