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Motor oil shelf life #5106892
05/16/19 01:07 PM
05/16/19 01:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 5,572
Katy, Republic of Texas
blupupher Offline OP
blupupher  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 5,572
Katy, Republic of Texas
This question keeps getting brought up. so I figured I would post some links with info on it here.

Several manufacturers give a shelf life for their motor oils.
Some have no information available online that I have been able to find.

Mobil gives a 5 year shelf life in their FAQ.
[Linked Image]

Pennzoil says a 4 year shelf life in their FAQ.
[Linked Image]

Amsoil gives a 5 year shelf life in this TSB.
[Linked Image]

Chevron (marine products, can't find anything for PCMO or HDEO) is 5 years.
[Linked Image]

Valvoline says no documented expiration date. Go by API rating.
[Linked Image]


For Shell/Rotella, Redline, Castrol, Royal Purple and Warren (Supertech/Amazon Basics) I can't find any information online.
I did read somewhere that someone had called Castrol and was told 3 years, but nothing to back that up.
I have heard some have called Redline and been told 3 years, 10 years, and no expiratiion. Again, no proof, just remember reading it here at some point in time.

I did not see anything that differentiated conventional oil and synthetic oil shelf life.

The ironic thing is that finding the date of manufacture of the oil can be daunting at times depending on the manufacturer.
Pennzoil is the easiest, the date is a simple date (day, month, year).
Castrol is fairly simple also, letter is plant code, then five numbers. First two are the year, last 3 are the day of the year.
Mobil uses a code, the first three numbers are the plant, the next two number are a 2 digit year, then the month letter (A=Jan, B=Feb, etc, with letter "I" being skipped) then 2 digit date. Mobil also has an older date code format (2009 and earlier) that is similar.
Valvoline uses a similar code to Mobil, but is month letter, day and year.
Shell/Rotella has a long code, first comes the plant (usually letters), then a batch code, then the date (will be numbers, month,day,year, no spaces) then time made.
Amsoil only has a batch code, not a date code, so you have to contact them to decipher the date from the batch code.

This is not a complete list, and not everything is covered here, but I think this gives some basic information.
Also this refers only to oil in original, unopened, sealed containers stored in "optimum" conditions (i.e. indoors, relatively stable environment, not just sitting outside or the trunk of a vehicle. Detached sheds could be OK depending on ambient temps and humidity).

The argument that the oil is millions of years old and won't expire is not valid. Would you pour crude oil into your engine? Did not think so.
Engine oil is a refined product, and synthetic oils are highly refined, and contain other additives.
Some of these additives may fall out of suspension, hence the recommendation to shake the bottles before adding.

I know Blackstone Labs did a test back in 2012 on new oils from the 70's and 80's and it was fine to use in vehicles from that era. The article no longer exists though that I can find.

I don't want this to become my personal opinion post, and won't tell you to or not to use an older oil. Only you can decide that.
But I will post a few of my opinions here, and these are just that, my opinion:
  • If the API/ILSAC/ACEA spec and viscosity of the oil meets or exceeds the engine requirements, no issues will arise using that oil regardless of age (again, sealed container, stored appropriately, etc).
  • Most of these are not truly the expiration of the oil, but more an expiration on the API rating. (guess what the average API life is since 1967... (hint: 5.7 years)
  • I also think it is a legal way out of any issues with using an older oil that may not have been stored under ideal conditions.
  • Valvoline must make some special oil, since they are the only one that says oil does not go bad.

Re: Motor oil shelf life [Re: blupupher] #5106935
05/16/19 01:51 PM
05/16/19 01:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,258
CO
JLTD Online shocked
JLTD  Online Shocked

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,258
CO
Man, this does go 'round and 'round doesn't it? beer

So the manufacturers for the most part say 4-5 years and their lubricants are......what exactly? They don't say, as "shelf life" is a very open term.

Yet there are folks on here (and at Blackstone) that have run oils 15 or 20 years old with good results.

I think it's the lawyers for the manufacturers that are involved here...if they say their lubricants will last "indefinitely" on the shelf it opens up some liability. I'd think that they're going conservatively, and if there's any degradation over time then 5 years is maybe 1/2 of the time that the degradation will start to occur. (speculation)

I haven't come across anything that says a motor oil is degraded after only 5 years.

This should be interesting. popcorn


I use the overseas manual to choose my oil viscosity.

Using AMSOIL

Hers: 2008 Jeep Liberty 149k, SS5w30/Amsoil

His: 2015 4Runner 55k, OE5w30/Wix

Re: Motor oil shelf life [Re: blupupher] #5106961
05/16/19 02:35 PM
05/16/19 02:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,286
Oregon
MrQuackers Offline
MrQuackers  Offline

Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,286
Oregon
If the oil has the specs required for the vehicle you're golden.



Master the 1000 yard stare

coffeeMobil 1 USA
Re: Motor oil shelf life [Re: blupupher] #5107147
05/16/19 07:22 PM
05/16/19 07:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,567
Kitty Hawk, NC
NormanBuntz Online content
NormanBuntz  Online Content

Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,567
Kitty Hawk, NC
Very clever post by MrQuackers.


2013 Honda Accord LX, 61K
2007 Honda Ridgeline RTS, 90K
2007 Infiniti M35, 109K
Re: Motor oil shelf life [Re: NormanBuntz] #5107319
05/17/19 12:31 AM
05/17/19 12:31 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,258
CO
JLTD Online shocked
JLTD  Online Shocked

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,258
CO
Originally Posted by NormanBuntz
Very clever post by MrQuackers.


It was...nice retro video...

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more posts; this could be a very interesting discussion.


I use the overseas manual to choose my oil viscosity.

Using AMSOIL

Hers: 2008 Jeep Liberty 149k, SS5w30/Amsoil

His: 2015 4Runner 55k, OE5w30/Wix

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