Even though I'm bound to get a few wise cracks out of this one. In all seriousness how often should someone change the pinballs in their game...is it after X amount of plays..????
I'm sure you are going to get a very wide range of responses - even the serious ones.
I replace the balls when I get a new (used but "new to me") game.
The amount that I use my games is probably quite less than some folks, and certainly less than a game on location. Since I tend to clean my games periodically, and when I do - I'll inspect the balls for damage or wear and clean them as well. I would say it will be quite some time before I need to replace them again. When you use better quality premium balls and you have many of them to replace (multiple games and a few games that use more than one ball) it's not really cheap to replace them at some regular interval when it is not really necessary.
The other end of the spectrum, if you feel the need - I would suggest replace perhaps when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors or pins.
I keep an eye on them.
If any big nicks or cracks toss immediately. When I clean if they look less shiny, more of a satin finish - it's time.
A ball with issues can be like sandpaper on a playfield. Cheap insurance to keep your game better.
LTG : )
Disclaimer : Had to refrain from what I really wanted to post.
depends on how nice your playfeild is your trying to protect.
there pretty hard and take a lot of abuse, sadly multiball smashes them into each other.
you can tumble them a time or two and refinish them up, and i wax mine as often as i do the payfeild. it helps fill the smallest of scratches.
look at them admire them, its all in the shine, when they start to haze and go satin your looking at surface irregularities. these irregs will soon contain dirt which is way harder than the ball and anything eles in the machine- your pinballs become wrecking balls.
I am with Lloyd on this. I inspect them everytime I lift the playfield or remove the balls for any tech issues. If any scratches scuffs or general overall milkyness to the luster I just change them all out.
Ill guess 127 on the gumball machine.