Can I use 20 year old Red Line oil?

Feb 21, 2013
West Michigan USA
I have 8 quarts of SAE 20W50 High Performance Motor Oil (all synthetic formula) left over from a 12 quart case I purchased from Red Line about 20 years ago. The label shows it meets API SG/SG/SF/CC/CD/CE. These bottles have been stored in non-climate controlled garages and pole buildings in MI and have never been opened. Would this oil be safe to use in my air cooled motorcycles?
I wouldn’t. Additives fall out if suspension. Go by some new oil and properly dispose of the old stuff.
All my cars are using 15-25 year old oils that have been stored in my non climate controlled garage all these years. The oil still looks fine and has been doing fine in my cars for the last several years. If you don't want to use it send it my way I'll put it to use. Last oil change in my mom's car was done using oil that my dad had in his garage when he died in 2010. It was Amoco Ultimate and was in the same type bottle that I used to buy by the case back in the mid-late '80's. Western Auto used to run it on sale years ago 12qts./$5 with a $5. rebate. It wasn't uncommon for me to buy several cases at a time. I remember giving dad some of it so, it's very likely it's the same oil I gave him all those years ago. The newest oil I have in my garage is probably around 5 years old now.
Last edited:
Maybe, with caveats. I recently did 3 fleet vehicle oil changes with a Frankenbrew of various oil that I would estimate was between 10 and 20 years old, some maybe even older than 25 years; purchased at various garage sales generally for like 25 cents per quart, or often just free when people are moving away. Unknown storage conditions before I acquired, but in my decade of ownership they've been in a non-climate controlled insulated garage in mild temps. Some conventional, some mixed.

I have ~25+ qts of this various oil on hand. Too valuable to pitch but a little risky to use without inspection. I got some clean clear jugs (leftover juice or whiskey bottles, etc.), and poured one by one each oil into the jug to inspect the fluids AND the container for any abnormalities, settling, water, etc. I tested about 25 qts, various brands. One (cannot recall brand) was contaminated with water and immediately noted as having white milky appearance, so that was tossed. Three Valvoline 20w50 all had a identical green hue to them, and I'm not sure if that's the formula of if they have gone bad, so I noted that and set them aside for further inspection. The rest were all visually perfect, golden color, consistent texture and appearance with no issues at all. These went into the vehicles and performed just fine and are still in said vehicles doing their job; short OCIs will be done, this is being used to help just clean out the engines/maintenance.

I would only use really old oil such as this by inspecting each container as I did for contamination, separation, sedimentation, discoloration or lack of uniform appearance or texture. You might also just run a shorter OCI or just keep a closer eye on the oil.

Good luck!
Last edited:
in the few responses I have seen posted here from redline, they say to not to use anything older than 4 years.

Me personally, I would pour them into a clear container and see if there is any separation or fallout. If not, use it, if so, dispose of it.
You need to ship it to me , since it is 20 years old it is very hazardous material and that requires me to properly recycle such old and radioactive oil.

I have state of the art internal combustion engines to properly and safely recycle such hazardous waste.

I even do cash refunds on such hazardous waste, every quart is a dollar.
Would this oil be safe to use in my air cooled motorcycles?

Yes... all Red Line products have no shelf life because fresh crude is
still oil has been unused in the ground for millions upon millions of
years before we got our hands on it and that the additives still test
The RED LINE oil has no shelf life. I was a RED LINE Distributor for years. I have NOS still. I will say that the plastic bottles do deteriorate and may add something to the oil. But RED Line seems to think it is not a problem.
Look at the Mobile 1 bottles. These have been stored in this container since 2001.