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OT? Does Motor Oil Age?

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  • OT? Does Motor Oil Age?

    I have a couple of old, unopened plastic bottles of motor oil, perhaps 10 to 20 years old. 10W-40 and definitely not synthetic. Does this stuff age? Can it be trusted if used in my truck or car? Or should I use it for other, less demanding uses, like preventing rust?
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    Sure it ages, it is dinosaur juice, but seriously I would not be afraid to use it.
    James

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    • #3
      Ya got me. My WAG is lube oils degrade little if any over time provided its still in the original unopened container kept in the cool darkness of a stasis field on the Starship Enterprise under the care of Montgomery Scott ("Dammit, Jim! I'm an engineer not a bloody curator for ancient lube oil."} I know little about aging of compounded mineral oils.

      Here's something on the topic: http://www.infineum.com/Documents/Cr...cants-2010.pdf
      Last edited by Forrest Addy; 07-08-2012, 05:23 AM.

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      • #4
        I would shake it up for a while before i used it .

        the additives may have separated out ..either they will be on top or at the bottom .

        all the best...markj

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        • #5
          Pour it out and see how it looks before putting it into an engine. Years ago I had some old oil in cardboard cans -- remember them? When I opened it up, it looked as though it had absorbed water, with a milky tan sludge in the oil.

          Plastic bottles ought to be impervious to that, but just take a look at the oil. If it isn't obviously bad, I'd' guess it's okay to use.
          ----------
          Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
          Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
          Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
          There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
          Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
          Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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          • #6
            Don't know about motor oils but I was curious about the various Mobil machine lubricants on my shelf so contacted the Mobil Industrial Lubricants tech support folks who told me that those oils have a shelf life of 10 years.

            I can also tell you that the grease in a 35 year old ratchet handle turns to hard wax.

            So apparently, just like us, lubricants don't work as well as they get older.

            Personally I'd skip the idea of using it in an engine.

            Steve

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            • #7
              Don't be sure about plastics...... quite a lot of them are able to pass water molecules, and may pass others....

              Many plastic bottles are indeed made with a multi-layer construction (that's what category "&" is for, mixed etc) which blocks most things, but ancient oil is not necessarily good oil even though in original container.

              if in metal can, possibly better, metal passes very little. But you said plastic.
              1601

              Keep eye on ball.
              Hashim Khan

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              • #8
                I would not use 5 quarts of it for an oil change. I would use 1 quart to top off as long as there is nothing obviously wrong as pointed out above.

                Or you could use it to lube your machines or for cutting. I do all the time. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

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                • #9
                  Just my opinion, but that oil would be a good candidate to use for rustproofing a vehichle with, 10-40 is a little thin, but it could soak into cracks , joints etc.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sasquatch
                    Just my opinion, but that oil would be a good candidate to use for rustproofing a vehichle with, 10-40 is a little thin, but it could soak into cracks , joints etc.
                    On my old trucks I used to use a mixture of thin oil and diesel fuel or kerosene

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by strokersix
                      I would not use 5 quarts of it for an oil change. I would use 1 quart to top off as long as there is nothing obviously wrong as pointed out above.

                      Or you could use it to lube your machines or for cutting. I do all the time. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
                      I am not sure I would want to use them on my machines for either use. I used to do that and I noticed that after a few years they left a layer behind. It was probably the additives. On the other hand, there was no rust. I was thinking about less expensive things like lawn tools, old hand tools, saws, etc. One quart would probably be a lifetime supply for this.
                      Paul A.

                      Make it fit.
                      You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                      • #12
                        Check with the oil company experts and they will advise you not to use it for the simple reason that THEY WANT TO SELL YOU MORE OIL!
                        Lube oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, usually distilled in a certain temperature range, from crude oil. Additives ARE introduced, but they are generally soluble, so wont settle out. (Have you EVER seen a container of oil that says "shake well bfore using?")
                        I am a chemical engineer, and while I am NOT a specialist in lubricants, I do have a pretty good understanding of the chemistry of hydrocarbons. I cant see why the oil should not have an almost INDEFINITE life. It is almost like asking the shelf life of HONEY!
                        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Duffy
                          I am a chemical engineer, and while I am NOT a specialist in lubricants, I do have a pretty good understanding of the chemistry of hydrocarbons. I cant see why the oil should not have an almost INDEFINITE life. It is almost like asking the shelf life of HONEY!
                          if the container is permeable to oxygen, a slow degradation due to oxidation could occur..... I regularly see oil that I don't use often appear to get a bit thicker over time, in a plastic container. At least, old oil of same type is definitely thicker than new. I don't have data for the original viscosity, to prove it.

                          petroleum oils are pretty stable, no double bonds etc, but nothing is perfect. Oil CAN oxidize, so it WILL. Faster if you light it than if you just let it sit.

                          Oils on a machine, where the possibility of a "drying oil" being present is low, still form a thicker or even a fairly hard film over time. I've cleaned enough of it off old machines........
                          1601

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Duffy
                            Check with the oil company experts and they will advise you not to use it for the simple reason that THEY WANT TO SELL YOU MORE OIL!
                            Out of curiousity, what do you think is the percentage of annual industry oil sales to people who use so little of an oil that they are replacing it solely because of shelf life???

                            Steve

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                            • #15
                              What is the SG rating on the label?

                              stu

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