Does Motor Oil Have Shelf Life? Get The Facts!

If you own a car, chances are you have some motor oil stashed away. It could be in the form of either a 1-liter bottle from your last service or one of those 4-liter cans purchased to use between oil changes.

When purchasing motor oil, make sure to properly check its expiration date; due to the fact that some brands provide extended shelf lives of up to five years (Total and Mobil are two examples). If the expiration date has passed, do not use it in your engine.

In this article, we are going to explain everything you need to know about motor oil shelf life so that you can have a better understanding. So, continue reading to learn more.

Does Motor Oil Have Shelf Life?

Does Motor Oil Have Shelf Life

Yes it does. No matter the brand of motor oil you use, it will start to lose its effectiveness over time. Over time, its chemical makeup and consistency may deteriorate, reducing its lubricating capabilities and causing your engine to run inefficiently.

Variations in temperatures and fuel dilution all affect how quickly your motor oil will expire. To maintain optimal shelf-life, store it in a dry environment free of moisture to prevent contamination.

It is safe to say that synthetic motor oil is designed to withstand high temperatures that car engines often experience. It combines base oil and additives for extended oil change intervals.

There is no doubt that synthetic motor oils offer a much longer shelf life than their conventional counterparts, typically lasting two to five years. Apart from that these oils are specifically formulated to withstand the extreme temperatures that automotive engines often reach and require fewer oil filter changes – saving you money in the long run.

Opened bottles of motor oil – both conventional and synthetic – should be used within one year after opening. The reason for this is because opened bottles are more susceptible to condensation once the seal has been broken, allowing moisture to enter into the bottle which degrades oil additives and contaminates it.

It is best to keep in mind that viscosity issues can affect oil performance, preventing it from effectively keeping your engine running as it should.

Find Out More: Can Engine Oil Last 2 Years 

How Long Does Your Oil Last In Your Car

Let’s start by saying that motor oil has a shelf life and will become less effective if left in your vehicle longer than necessary. How long your oil lasts depends on several factors, including its expiration date, how it’s stored and what additives are present.

Traditional mineral oils usually have a shelf life of two to five years, while synthetic motor oil will last seven to eight. Your oil’s longevity may also depend on how often it undergoes oxidation and exposure to extreme temperatures.

Expired oil is a hazardous substance that can harm your car’s engine parts and fuel performance. If the bottle you have in your possession has been open for five or more years, dispose of it rather than risk the potential issues it could cause.

Your vehicle’s manufacturer typically recommends changing your engine oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every 22,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. However, exact timing depends on both the brand of oil you use and how often you drive your car.

Ways to Check If Your Motor Oil Has Expired

Regular oil changes for your vehicle are essential to its overall health and performance, as well as keeping the engine running efficiently.

However, using old oil in your car is not recommended as it’s less effective at acting as a lubricant. Doing so could lead to the accumulation of contaminants which could damage the different parts of your engine.

Most motor oils come with an expiration date that can be found written on them. This date varies between brands, usually between 3 to 5 years.

If you are uncertain whether the motor oil in your vehicle has expired, consult a reliable mechanic. They can help weigh the advantages and drawbacks of using different types of oils and determine which one is suitable for your car.


As you can see, motor oil’s shelf life can differ depending on several factors, including its type and environment. Ideally, it should be stored away from extreme temperatures in its original container until use.