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Shelf life of motor oil? #869648 03/31/07 12:56 AM
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96 Cherokee Offline OP
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I just poured a quart of Valvoline 10W-40 into a car engine and when the bottle was almost empty I saw what looked like a slug go into the funnel and on into the engine. I stopped pouring and looked into the bottle and in the bottom the the bottle the oil looked like it had gelled. I have had this oil for an estimated 15-20 years out in my tractor shed. In the past I have seen 2 stroke oil gel in the bottom of the bottle after several years, but I did not know it would happen to motor oil. Anyone ever seen this?

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: 96 Cherokee] #869649 03/31/07 03:21 AM
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Blue99 Offline
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It's highly likely that the viscosity index improvers and maybe even the wax from Grp I base oils (typical of late 80's motor oils) have separated from the base oils. After 15-20 years in your "shed", alot of exposure to temperature extremes and freezing & thawing has been going on.

We have a regular member here with professional experience blending lubricants, and he may provide a better answer.

I'd be concerned about this "gob" entering the filter. My suggestion would be to idle the engine to heat up the oil & then drain and start over with fresh oil and a new filter.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Blue99] #869650 03/31/07 11:04 AM
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Vilan Offline
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I used a couple 15-20 year old quarts of 10W40 a couple years ago. No slugs, and the bottle interior looked OK. A bit stained at the bottom maybe. But I did shake it up a bit before pouring it in.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Vilan] #869651 03/31/07 05:02 PM
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Roy Gutfinski Offline
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What you have is basically a separation caused by years of warm/cold cycles. Heat from the engine will mix everything up in short fashion. The only problem is that some of the necesssary additives are in the "goo" at the bottom of your bottle. When I am using a bottle or can of oil which has been stored for a long time, I keep the container upside down for at least a day before using it. Then the "goodies" which have separated over time come out of the bottle first.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Roy Gutfinski] #869652 03/31/07 05:05 PM
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Johnny Offline
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To protect themselves, most oil companies will tell you the oil has a shelf life of two years.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Johnny] #869653 03/31/07 05:24 PM
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Roy Gutfinski Offline
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True, most of them will tell you 2 to 5 years. Yet I have seen small amounts of separation in oils less than a year after manufacture. I think it is a time-temperature phenomenon. An oil stored at a steady 60 degrees is probably going to show less separation than one stored for the same amount of time at temperatures varying from 0 degrees to 120 degrees.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Roy Gutfinski] #869654 03/31/07 06:39 PM
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TallPaul Offline
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Well, I guess we can safely say that 15+ years is beyond shelf life. I still think 5 to 10 years is acceptable, given proper storage (avoid freezing and extreme high temps).


Obnoxious seems to be the styling cue for modern automotive design.
Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: TallPaul] #869655 03/31/07 10:27 PM
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DINO_NO Offline
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Even in an opened bottle?


91 Grand Prix, 3.1L 127,300 km and counting.
I plan to buy smart fortwo coupe though.
Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: DINO_NO] #869656 04/01/07 02:40 AM
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Cutehumor Offline
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I've come to the realization that hoarding only does you so good for a few years, I hoard to save money buy buying closeout or for sale oil. But I stop when I realize my oil shrine will last 4 years. But I don't want to waste oil by changing frequently just to use up my stash. Plus, newer specs come out every few years and I want those technological advances in future oils.


09 Chevy Cobalt 2.4L 88k miles Peak 5w30
09 Pontiac Vibe 2.4L 98k miles Pennzoil platinum 5w30
Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Roy Gutfinski] #869657 04/01/07 06:19 AM
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Gentlemen, I was in a pinch and that was the only bottle of dino multigrade I could find around here. The oil in the car(Havoline) had only 1200 miles on it so I did not want to change it yet, but the dipstick showed a quart low so I added the old Valvoline. I'll do an oil change on the car soon. Thanks much for all the replies. The experience and expertise on this forum is amazing, and quite valuable.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: 96 Cherokee] #869658 04/01/07 10:57 AM
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Bill in Utah Offline
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I've used oil in my stash as old as 5-6 years with no problems.

Currently my oldest oil is SL with a date of 3/05 with about 150 quarts bought in 2005.

I'm not concerned with having the latest and greatest oil coming out. My UOAS show that under a buck a quart oil gets low single digits to zero in all the wear metals...

Take care, Bill

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: DINO_NO] #869659 04/01/07 03:52 PM
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TallPaul Offline
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Quote:

Even in an opened bottle?


I'd say all bets are off in the open bottle. Use it up on top ups or for a special blend of various leftovers. If you really want to keep an open bottle for a long time, smash it to get most of the air out so the oil is near the neck like a new bottle. I prefer to store half quarts I am not planning to use for a long time in these pint oil additive bottles and label them with masking tape.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: Johnny] #1590284 09/05/09 02:15 PM
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cordeen Offline
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I have an unopened quart of Amsoil Saber Professional two cycle oil that is about six years old. Just got a new Husqvarna chainsaw, 50:1 and a bit concerned. Should I be concerned or not.

Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: 96 Cherokee] #2268823 05/23/11 12:17 PM
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Found this thread on a search as I've had some Castrol GTX 10W30 sitting for about 2 years in the garage in an opened-bottle (some cold and warm cycles).

I didn't see gelling on the bottom, but I take it that the additives like the anti-foam and acid neutralisers are still competent? I'd rather not waste oil if not needed, but will dispose of it if it's no good (or unload it to my mechanic to use on his customers' cars for top-up :D).

I'm a bit of a hoarder too when they go on sale, esp. since Valvoline isn's sold anymore at my local retail stores, but I started storing oil in my basement to prevent them being exposed to temp extremes. I have like 25L of 5W20 (GTX SM, Valvoline SN formulation, QS and Pennzoil SN formulations), 7L of GC 0W30 and 12L of 5W30 synthetic SN, lol. :s


2002 Nissan Maxima SE - OEM 9E000 Filters w/ GC 0W30 & Amsoil ASL 5W30

Check out my blog: http://a-musing-wh.blogspot.com/
Re: Shelf life of motor oil? [Re: 96 Cherokee] #2268827 05/23/11 12:21 PM
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demarpaint Offline
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^^ 2 years is nothing, shake it and use it.


God Bless Our Troops

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