Motor oil shelf life

Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
9,846
Location
Virginia
I’m not going to mention the brand of oil, but a few months ago I had several quarts of oil that started to leak on me. This was all the same brand, was fresh stock when purchased, was stored in my heated basement, and was purchased less than two years ago.
So maybe it’s the container the manufacturer is worried about instead of what’s inside of it.
I do remember having my S.L.O.B.(remember that stuff, veterans? 🙂) containers all start to seep after awhile.


You know that brand was ...... Pennzoil....

:LOL:

Those containers leaked routinely on the shelf in the store...
 

SR5

Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
6,162
Location
Down Under
“The response from pennzoil Hibnello: Finding sediment or deposits at the bottom of new bottles of motor oil is a common and harmless occurrence in all conventional and synthetic motor oil products in the market today. This may occur regardless of the base oil used and does not negatively impact the performance of a motor oil. Most often, the sediment found is a by-product of a type of nanotechnology used in motor oils to keep the pH balance correct in storage, and then in use inside a motor. The practice is commonly referred to as over-basing a motor oil and is designed to account for the acids formed in an engine during the combustion process. Periodically, some cosmetic dropout from motor oil is observed in a bottle, and that is most typically due to the result of effective nanotechnology in action, or the slow release of over-based detergents to help neutralize acids. Motor oil formulations are highly specified to help reduce the incidence, but ultimately over time some harmless molecular dropout will occur. The filtration process employed when formulating the motor oils removes much of the sediment, and then once in use in an engine, any remaining particles are removed through normal operation. ”




 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
733
Location
KY, USA
We're going to have to boot you off of BITOG, that kind of practicality is not permitted around here. ;)
I guess I'll just have to leave the site then because I'm not giving up my 12-15 cases of 15+ year old oil. I think all total I have bout 20 cases but a few of them are less than 5 years old. I think oil is like good whiskey, the longer it ages the better it gets. At the rate I drive now I'll probably have oil left in the garage when I die. I bought all this when I was younger when I often drove 35-50K miles a year to and from work on construction sites. For the last 15 years I've been disabled. That cut my driving back to around 15-20K miles a year. Some of my newer oil is Pennzoil Platinum that I bought about 15 or so years ago during a time when they had 5 qt. jugs at Walmart for $10. with a $5. rebate. I think I ended up with about a dozen jugs of it. Since most people use synthetic now including my son I'm using up the conventional and leaving the synthetic for him in case I die before it gets used. I just had the oil changed in my mom's '99 Grand Marquis a few weeks ago and used oil that dad had in the garage when he died in 2010. It was Amoco Ultimate. The same oil I used to often buy back in the mid late 80's. Western Auto would run it on sale by the 12qt case with a rebate that made the oil free after rebate. At the time my work car was an oil leaker/burner so when they ran the sale where it was free I'd buy a few cases and keep it in the trunk so when I needed to top off. I remember giving dad a few cases of it way back then so it's very likely this oil was between 30-35 years old. I think this was the last of dad's oil so next time mom's car needs an oil change I'll just use some of my old stock.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
263
Location
USA
This would be my concern too. The oil inside might be more durable than the packaging (plastic bottles, jugs, boxed). I feel that maybe I have bought too much. Currently at 145qts after approx just 2 months of accumulating. I don't even know what I am buying for. I only have 2 vehicles. How big of a stash is enough? How much do you guys have? Any tips on how to stop? Please help...
Tempted today to buy more CS at walmart for $9.99 but I really don't need any more.
We are brothers, separated at birth... I have to reign myself in. I have over 120 qts in the garage of various weights to feed my 7 cars, and real mismatch of over 80 oil filters...

At 6qts qts per change, that's about 20 oil changes or about 3 per car which works out to be about 3 years for annual changes.
80 filters is ~11 per car on average, so over a decade of filters on hand if doing annual changes...
 
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
2
Hi all, newbie here and confused as heck, and nothing seems to make anything clearer. BTW I'm in Manitoba, Canada.
It's nice to see the same type of debates you find on TN regarding tire pressure and winter vs all season "debates" here but regarding oil.

Now my problem is OIL especially synthetic is way more expensive than south of the border and suggesting Rock Auto is not an option since shipping and fees cost more than the price of the oil making it more expensive than buying it locally. I'm also a hoarder and can't resist a bargain. Oil and filters were never a problem when I bought dino oil for my cars. Then Last September I went and upgraded my 2000 Ford focus which cost nothing to run and maintain for a 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited. Only one original PO. And he got all the little expensive dealer upsells so I have everything except the remote start (or it's not working but haven't been bothered to check)

Now contrary to all you American neighbors quart bottles of 0W20 synthetic are half the price of a 5L jug. wasn't a problem with cheap conventional oil because there was oil left in the jug filling up a 2.0L engine. Now I need 6.1L to fill her up. I bought 3 x5L of Cdn Tire 0W20 OEPlus synthetic import oil (Shell bottles the stuff). So I'll need to open a second jug just to top it up 1L. Now the only consensus I've read anywhere is 6 month shelf life open. I barely do 3K miles a year. I have no desire to change it every six months. Works out to under 20$ a jug with the CT CC rewards and spend 80$ get 20$ CT$. which is on top of all the discounts. Which they have been offering every week for a month. I would have bought another 3 this week but they had the MotoMaster Heavy-Duty Low-Profile Maintenance Ramps, 16,000-lbs 1/3 off at 99$ and I get 24$ back in CT$. And being longer and wider than Rhinos I might actually be able to get up on them without throwing F bombs and throwing them to the trash as they hopefully don't slide all over the garage floor with the longer and lower incline. I always used a jack and stands but those ramps are cool. (Curb side pickup today)

So I was thinking of squeezing the jug that I'll have to open to get 1 L out of to get as much air out as possible so it can be used a year after opening and then continue the process. And I had a can of Tomato soup this month that was B/B July 2016 and tasted as good as new. So I'm in the screw the 2 to 5 years recommendations clan regarding oil. And with our winter and summer extremes temperatures it'll live in my apartment storage area in a Rubbermaid bin in case one leaks. I was thinking of switching to Penzoil Platinum after the next 2 changes but I'll have 3L left in the last jug. would mixing Penzoil with the OEPlus be OK? for one oil change if I swap? And can I go 1 year with a stored inside in the dark opened bottle?

Sorry for the long winded first post. The guys at Toyota Nation told me to look here for oil info. And not finding any answers I had to post a "Help please" request. All answers even smarty pants ones are accepted and appreciated as long as I'm not called names regardless of the fact I'm an idiot when it comes to oil and these stupid no canister filters I can't seem to find out if I can I stock up on them too when on sale or will they die unused after a year or 2?

Thanks for letting me join. I hope that decision isn't already regretted LOL
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
263
Location
USA
Hi all, newbie here and confused as heck, and nothing seems to make anything clearer. BTW I'm in Manitoba, Canada.
It's nice to see the same type of debates you find on TN regarding tire pressure and winter vs all season "debates" here but regarding oil.

Now my problem is OIL especially synthetic is way more expensive than south of the border and suggesting Rock Auto is not an option since shipping and fees cost more than the price of the oil making it more expensive than buying it locally. I'm also a hoarder and can't resist a bargain. Oil and filters were never a problem when I bought dino oil for my cars. Then Last September I went and upgraded my 2000 Ford focus which cost nothing to run and maintain for a 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited. Only one original PO. And he got all the little expensive dealer upsells so I have everything except the remote start (or it's not working but haven't been bothered to check)

Now contrary to all you American neighbors quart bottles of 0W20 synthetic are half the price of a 5L jug. wasn't a problem with cheap conventional oil because there was oil left in the jug filling up a 2.0L engine. Now I need 6.1L to fill her up. I bought 3 x5L of Cdn Tire 0W20 OEPlus synthetic import oil (Shell bottles the stuff). So I'll need to open a second jug just to top it up 1L. Now the only consensus I've read anywhere is 6 month shelf life open. I barely do 3K miles a year. I have no desire to change it every six months. Works out to under 20$ a jug with the CT CC rewards and spend 80$ get 20$ CT$. which is on top of all the discounts. Which they have been offering every week for a month. I would have bought another 3 this week but they had the MotoMaster Heavy-Duty Low-Profile Maintenance Ramps, 16,000-lbs 1/3 off at 99$ and I get 24$ back in CT$. And being longer and wider than Rhinos I might actually be able to get up on them without throwing F bombs and throwing them to the trash as they hopefully don't slide all over the garage floor with the longer and lower incline. I always used a jack and stands but those ramps are cool. (Curb side pickup today)

So I was thinking of squeezing the jug that I'll have to open to get 1 L out of to get as much air out as possible so it can be used a year after opening and then continue the process. And I had a can of Tomato soup this month that was B/B July 2016 and tasted as good as new. So I'm in the screw the 2 to 5 years recommendations clan regarding oil. And with our winter and summer extremes temperatures it'll live in my apartment storage area in a Rubbermaid bin in case one leaks. I was thinking of switching to Penzoil Platinum after the next 2 changes but I'll have 3L left in the last jug. would mixing Penzoil with the OEPlus be OK? for one oil change if I swap? And can I go 1 year with a stored inside in the dark opened bottle?

Sorry for the long winded first post. The guys at Toyota Nation told me to look here for oil info. And not finding any answers I had to post a "Help please" request. All answers even smarty pants ones are accepted and appreciated as long as I'm not called names regardless of the fact I'm an idiot when it comes to oil and these stupid no canister filters I can't seem to find out if I can I stock up on them too when on sale or will they die unused after a year or 2?

Thanks for letting me join. I hope that decision isn't already regretted LOL

To summarize, your question, you are concerned about the shelf life of both sealed and opened bottles of oil. Let me summarize the answer I've gleaned from years of reading on this. Store in a cool dry ideally dark location out of UV sunlight, in a non-leaching container ideally the original container if opened. The manufacturers seem to suggest a 5 year shelf life. I suspect, and the consensus here seems to be, that oil properly stored will last beyond 5 years, and into 10-20+ years, possibly indefinitely unless it is contaminated or stored poorly or leaches/bursts the bottles. Personally I wouldn't even pause at using oil 5-10 years old. Beyond that or for opened or unknown oils, I'd probably get a clean jug and first pour into the clean just to ensure visually no contamination or separation. If it's milky or separated, do not use it.

In your 1+ year oil changes, that oil is going to be completely fine if stored properly.
 
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
2
To summarize, your question, you are concerned about the shelf life of both sealed and opened bottles of oil. Let me summarize the answer I've gleaned from years of reading on this. Store in a cool dry ideally dark location out of UV sunlight, in a non-leaching container ideally the original container if opened. The manufacturers seem to suggest a 5 year shelf life. I suspect, and the consensus here seems to be, that oil properly stored will last beyond 5 years, and into 10-20+ years, possibly indefinitely unless it is contaminated or stored poorly or leaches/bursts the bottles. Personally I wouldn't even pause at using oil 5-10 years old. Beyond that or for opened or unknown oils, I'd probably get a clean jug and first pour into the clean just to ensure visually no contamination or separation. If it's milky or separated, do not use it.

In your 1+ year oil changes, that oil is going to be completely fine if stored properly.

Thanks for the prompt detailed response (Especially since it's what I was hoping to hear). And the idea to pour it into another jug to check is an awesome suggestion, Better safe than sorry and it's something I never would have thought of. So many thanks for that tip! I use distilled water for some things so I'll keep a couple empty jugs and dry them out well. I'll make sure to shake the oil jugs once in a while and when using. I read something about storing the oil jugs lying down vs standing up. Not sure I'm a big fan of that idea, Probably for if there's separation it would be easier to remix.? Storing will be in the exact conditions you mentioned. I like putting the odds in my favor. Plus I have no other option available since I'll most likely be without a garage starting this summer. Lady I'm renting it from will be taking it back. Great find out as I was going to get my new ramps. I was supposed to get my own garage in Dec and that fell through right after these were delivered. Now I have one in my living room and one in my bedroom. Good thing no wife anymore or I wouldn't hear the end if it all. These need pictures LOL

1- 52.jpg

2-46.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
2,016
Location
Crawfordville FL
Hi all, newbie here and confused as heck, and nothing seems to make anything clearer. BTW I'm in Manitoba, Canada.
It's nice to see the same type of debates you find on TN regarding tire pressure and winter vs all season "debates" here but regarding oil.

Now my problem is OIL especially synthetic is way more expensive than south of the border and suggesting Rock Auto is not an option since shipping and fees cost more than the price of the oil making it more expensive than buying it locally. I'm also a hoarder and can't resist a bargain. Oil and filters were never a problem when I bought dino oil for my cars. Then Last September I went and upgraded my 2000 Ford focus which cost nothing to run and maintain for a 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited. Only one original PO. And he got all the little expensive dealer upsells so I have everything except the remote start (or it's not working but haven't been bothered to check)

Now contrary to all you American neighbors quart bottles of 0W20 synthetic are half the price of a 5L jug. wasn't a problem with cheap conventional oil because there was oil left in the jug filling up a 2.0L engine. Now I need 6.1L to fill her up. I bought 3 x5L of Cdn Tire 0W20 OEPlus synthetic import oil (Shell bottles the stuff). So I'll need to open a second jug just to top it up 1L. Now the only consensus I've read anywhere is 6 month shelf life open. I barely do 3K miles a year. I have no desire to change it every six months. Works out to under 20$ a jug with the CT CC rewards and spend 80$ get 20$ CT$. which is on top of all the discounts. Which they have been offering every week for a month. I would have bought another 3 this week but they had the MotoMaster Heavy-Duty Low-Profile Maintenance Ramps, 16,000-lbs 1/3 off at 99$ and I get 24$ back in CT$. And being longer and wider than Rhinos I might actually be able to get up on them without throwing F bombs and throwing them to the trash as they hopefully don't slide all over the garage floor with the longer and lower incline. I always used a jack and stands but those ramps are cool. (Curb side pickup today)

So I was thinking of squeezing the jug that I'll have to open to get 1 L out of to get as much air out as possible so it can be used a year after opening and then continue the process. And I had a can of Tomato soup this month that was B/B July 2016 and tasted as good as new. So I'm in the screw the 2 to 5 years recommendations clan regarding oil. And with our winter and summer extremes temperatures it'll live in my apartment storage area in a Rubbermaid bin in case one leaks. I was thinking of switching to Penzoil Platinum after the next 2 changes but I'll have 3L left in the last jug. would mixing Penzoil with the OEPlus be OK? for one oil change if I swap? And can I go 1 year with a stored inside in the dark opened bottle?

Sorry for the long winded first post. The guys at Toyota Nation told me to look here for oil info. And not finding any answers I had to post a "Help please" request. All answers even smarty pants ones are accepted and appreciated as long as I'm not called names regardless of the fact I'm an idiot when it comes to oil and these stupid no canister filters I can't seem to find out if I can I stock up on them too when on sale or will they die unused after a year or 2?

Thanks for letting me join. I hope that decision isn't already regretted LOL
I drove a Ford Fusion with a 6qt sump for a long time. I buy 2 5qt jugs on sale and get the rebate, change my oil and have 4qt left in the garage for top ups and the next change I only have to buy 1 jug. I've never had a problem with oil sitting on the shelf in the garage opened or unopened. Take it FWIW
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Messages
286
Location
Carolinas
Funny how Scotch that is 25-30 years old, matured (adulterated) in ex-sherry casks is more expensive and desirable than 3-5 year old grain juice.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
105
Location
Sun and snow
If the bottle is at room temp then shake it until your arm starts getting tired and pour. Most older old oil bottles with the additive fall out just need a few heat cycles and they’ll work well. I’ve been using 10+ year old oils for the most part because I buy oil on sale, and have it available.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
222
Location
USA
If engine oils really have a shelf life, then why don't any of the bottles/jugs have expiration dates or best-by or use-by dates warnings printed on them?

Or maybe two date-related warnings: one for sealed unopened bottles/jugs, and another such as "Best when used within 5 years after opening if stored in a dry climate controlled environment" printed on them?
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
616
Location
Jupiter, FL
If engine oils really have a shelf life, then why don't any of the bottles/jugs have expiration dates or best-by or use-by dates warnings printed on them?

Or maybe two date-related warnings: one for sealed unopened bottles/jugs, and another such as "Best when used within 5 years after opening if stored in a dry climate controlled environment" printed on them?
Because they are not food and only the FDA gives a shelf life? Maybe, I don't know haha
Either way, it's good practice to shake the oil real well before pouring it. Most mixtures will begin to separate given enough time.
 
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