Does Engine Oil Expire?
Engine oils provide excellent lubrication to avoid direct metal-to-metal contact in the internal parts of your engine. It prevents wear and corrosion while maintaining the engine’s cleanness and coolness. but do engine oil expire?
Yes, engine oils expire. You should not extend the duration of engine oil to more than 2-5 years or it will expire and cause harm to the engine. Engine oils are stable in optimal conditions during that period if the container has not been opened and stored at moderate temperatures. But even so, we do not recommend you use expired oil.
WHY DO WE NEED ENGINE OIL?
There four main functions that engine oils perform towards the efficient and smooth working of the engine. First and foremost is the lubrication of the engine to avoid wear and corrosion in the internals of the system. Secondly, it protects the moving parts of the engine. Thirdly, it keeps the engine clean and last but not least, it helps in keeping it cool as a coolant.
DOES MOTOR OIL HAVE A SHELF LIFE?
The life of engine oil before deteriorating is 5 years. Depending on the expiry date, the engine oil will perform well and be stable in optimal conditions. We’ll cover the different situations which degrade the motor oil further on, but it is vital to note that regardless of the expiry, the oil is subject to degradation due to various conditions.
DOES THE TYPE OF OIL MAKE A DIFFERENCE to weather IT EXPIRES?
The answer is yes. Synthetic engine oils are better as they contain additives as compared to mineral engine oils.
As we all know, there are mainly four types of engine oils. They are mineral oils, fully-synthetic, semi-synthetic and premium mineral engine oils and they all have a few similar and few varying properties which differ them from each other.
Mineral engine oils which are derived from petroleum crude oil are prone to be bad if oxygen, water, light and heat are exposed to the engine oil. It is supported that you store the mineral motor oil well sealed and so that oxidation, condensation, extreme change in temperature doesn’t influence changes in the oil.
We can see improved base oils for advanced engine protection in synthetic oils. Besides, various inclusion of additives, detergents and dispersants influence better performance out of the oil.
WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE OF A SYNTHETIC MOTOR OIL?
The shelf life of a synthetic engine oil varies on the additives in it, product design and surrounding conditions.
If the oil is exposed to temperatures below 0℉ and 100℉, it will lead to the degradation of the oil. It also results in the decreased effect of lubrication.
But under optimal conditions and if stored properly and well, synthetic motor oils can go up to 5 years.
HOW LONG CAN SYNTHETIC OIL SIT IN ENGINE?
It takes about 6 months without driving the car or a year maximum with driving for very few kilometers (less than 100 km) before the synthetic oils stops to perform.
Synthetic oils perform much better as compared to conventional minerals motor oils. They can operate more miles but you have to keep in mind to not extend the estimated time interval for changing the oil recommended by the manufacturer.
AFTER HOW MANY KILOMETERS SHOULD WE CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL OF THE CAR?
For a new car, the engine oil must be changed first at 5000 Kms, that at 20000 Kms / 12 months whichever is earlier. For older cars, engine oils must be changed after every 20000 Kms or 12 months, whichever is earlier.
The type of oil also plays a role in the time duration of oil change. We are aware that the engine pistols partake in vigorous mechanical motions and the inside of the engine is exposed to extremely high temperatures.
It is recommended to use a good synthetic oil as they last longer than mineral engine oils.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY OIL IS EXPIRED?
It is important to check the engine oil’s expiry to understand whether the oil has degraded. It is wise to refrain from using the oil even if you were careful to keep the oil well-stored and not open the container because every oil has a shelf life.
Operating the oil past that duration would be harmful to your engine and the overall performance of the vehicle.
One of the easiest ways to know when to change the engine oil is to check engine oil indication is on in your vehicle. It is time to get an oil change when the oil has begun to look dark and dirty.
Expired oil looks blacker as compared to its transparent and light-coloured appearance. The oil also begins to smell and a lot of exhaust smoke. We suggest you look for deposits to know as well. Moreover, be aware of the oil looking colour cream-coloured or foamy/milky as they could be signs of a head gasket leak.
It is also time to change the oil if there are deposits at the bottom of the container.
Shaking the container to remove them is not the best method to do so. The oil needs to be substituted. Separation of additives and disintegration are also signs of the same.
Furthermore, oil change depends on the type of engine oil and when the vehicle manufacturer recommends so. As aforementioned, the usage of engine oil should not be extended to more than 5 years because that is the stipulated time the oil is bound to get degraded. Another thing to be reminded of is that the oil should be replaced and recycled.
HOW DOES MOTOR ENGINE OIL EXPIRE?
Depending on each situation, there are many reasons why motor oils expire.
One of the foremost reasons is its exposure to certain things like change in temperature affects the viscosity of the fluid.
If it is too hot or too cold, the viscosity of the engine oil changes. There is also a possibility of a thermal breakdown which is when the oil’s viscosity alters due to extreme heat in the car’s engine that triggers a chemical reaction in the said oil.
On the contrary, the oil begins to flow very slowly in colder conditions. All of this affects the smooth operation of the engine oil.
When you open the container, there are chances of oxidation happening.
This when the oil reacts with oxygen molecules which results in the formation of sludge and increased viscosity. This is another reason for the oil to deteriorate. Additionally, an opened container also leads to condensed water or dirt to affect the motor oil.
IS BLACK OR DARK OIL BAD? DOES IT MEAN THAT I’M IN NEED OF AN OIL CHANGE?
Build of soot due to dirt and dust can turn your oil dark.
Soot are minute particles that don’t necessarily affect the engine. Even if they become larger, the oil filter will capture them. As long as the oil is performing well and giving smooth performance from the engine, the colour change of the oil doesn’t mean that it is expired.
There are other indications to look for to confirm the same mentioned earlier. So, there is no need to change the oil just because the colour has darkened.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU USE EXPIRED OIL?
It goes without saying that using the wrong or expired engine oil is damaging to your engine. Once the oil expires, it will be stripped of the properties that it’s known for. The oil is considered to be unstable past its expiration date and not under optimal conditions. Even if the use of your vehicle is less or it’s not as frequent, manufacturers recommend regular oil changes.
DOES OIL GO BAD IF YOU DON’T DRIVE?
It is a well-established fact that engine oils degrade over time.
While oil doesn’t break down just sitting in the crankcase, every vehicle has an expected time interval for an oil change. So even if the oil is not in operation, the oil will have to be replaced during that time.
WHAT DO WE RECOMMEND?
The vehicle manual will list the type and the correct viscosity grade of engine oil that suits best your bike, car, or any vehicle. Go through the oil and oil filters changes, depending on the intervals of the mileage specific to your vehicle model.
Another thing to be aware of is mixing oils. Since different brands of oil contain different additives, the two might not operate the best when combined.
You may think that investing in fully synthetic oils may be pricey at first thought. But compared to the damage to your engine while using/filling/topping up with expired oils, the cost shouldn’t matter at all.
Using effective oils and changing them in the stipulated time intervals, your engine will ensure consistently smooth performance.
MOTOR OIL- HOW DANGEROUS IS IT?
Expired oil is an extremely toxic and hazardous chemical so when it comes to disposing of it, you have to be very careful. Degraded oil has strange smells and carcinogenic free radicals. It is highly important to practice safe methods while using, handling and disposing of expired oils to ensure it is risk-free.
MOTOR OIL DISPOSAL - HOW DO WE COLLECT IT?
Before removing the expired oil, make sure you have gloves on.
While removing the oil from the engine, ensure you have a disposable bag below the pan so that most of the oil can be collected without spillage.
If it does spill, you can put sawdust or cat litter so that it soaks up easily and doesn’t stain.
After the process, wash your hands thoroughly. Now, you can easily transfer the oil from the waste bag to an old bottle by poking a hole in the bad and collecting it directly in the bottle itself.
HOW TO DISPOSE USED ENGINE OIL IN INDIA?
Many car manufacturers advise you to replace or change the engine oil of your vehicle model when it hits certain kilometres of miles. But the question remains when you do in fact change the oil as per the requirements, what do we actually do with the expired oil?
Dumping waste oil is a hazardous waste because when you dispose of it on the ground, it may destroy nearby vegetation and damage the soil.
It is also not the best of options to dump it in the garbage.
Instead what you can do is store the expired oil in the packaging the new oil had come in or a plastic/old bottle. Airtight sealing is a must. Then, you can give it back to the retail store you bought it from or the auto-service store near you.
There are also certified collection centres around you which take the expired oil to recycle it for you if the oil is clean. However, it’s best to deliver contaminated oil to the nearest local waste disposal centre. You can find engine oil recycling centres near you on google.