4 years is a good average lifespan for a swimming wetsuit manufactured from Yamamoto #38 neoprene fabric. During this period your wetsuit will deliver maximum floatation and flexibility. What happens to your wetsuit over this period is that the gas from the tiny nitrogen gas filled bubbles in the Yamamoto fabric is gradually lost. This results in the fabric becoming more compact, less buoyant and ultimately less flexible. As a result older wetsuits are more likely to rip. Another factor that affects older wetsuits is that the glue used for the seams becomes crystallised and hardens over time; adding to the overall inflexibility of the suit. By taking good care of your wetsuit and following the recommended care instructions, you will maximise the lifespan of your wetsuit. A badly cared for suit has a shorter lifespan.