To optimise performance, equipment reliability is imperative. By making a habit of checking and cleaning your tri gear before and after an event, it will typically last longer and save you money long term.
Swim goggles need care. Wash after each use with hand-wash liquid soap and air dry. Reduce chances of scratching by storing in a case. Once scratched, replace.
Tri-suits and compression clothing lose elasticity from sweat and chlorine. Change every year, and calf guards every four months if you use them at least four times a week. Bacteria eats into tri clothing so wash and rinse promptly after training and competing, and avoid leaving wet clothing in your kit bag. Change your race/fuel belt once it loses elasticity.
Sunlight reduces the protective strength of your cycle helmet so change if the outer plastic shell is fading, and always change immediately if you see the slightest of cracks. The straps are a weak point and deteriorate with sweat and dirt – you may notice how they stretch over time.
Bike tyres and chains are priority replacements at least every season. Once a race tyre picks up a cut from debris change immediately and just use for training. A shark fin chain-wear tool will check for chain stretch. Caring for you chain doesn’t need to be expensive, just clean, oil and replace. Also check cleats regularly as they crack when you run in them – replace immediately when there are the minimal signs of damage.