Motor oil is necessary for the engine to ensure proper lubrication. So you might be wondering if motor oil expires over time. The short answer is Yes. The engine oil has an expiry date after which it is no longer usable. Motor oil typically has a 5-year expiration date. It can last 7-8 years if we’re talking about high-quality synthetic oil. 

Before purchasing the oil, make sure to check the expiration date. The expiration of motor oil is also affected by whether the oil bottle is opened or unopened. 

This article will look at how to determine whether or not your motor oil is expired. We will also go over the expiry date of motor oil in detail.

How Does Motor Oil Expire?

So we know every consumer goods have an expiry date after which they should not be used. The company determines the expiry date and indicates that the product’s quality and effectiveness will be decreased, and it is not recommended to use after the expiry date.

When motor oil expires (usually after 2-5 years), the lubricative property of the oil decreases, even if the package remains unopened. Many factors, such as temperature and oil additives, affect the condition of the motor oil over time.

  1. Typically, expired oil can experience thermal breakdown due to outside temperature. Thermal breakdown can affect viscosity, thickness, and weight.
  2. If the outside temperature is too low, sludge can form in the oil. Because outside moisture enters the oil in cold temperatures, this sludge accumulates over time. You can spot some sludge on the cap due to this.
  3. Many additives, including antifoam, antirust, and cooling additives, become unaffected and depleted over time. That is why expired motor oil should not be used.

How To Check If Your Motor Oil Is Expired?

You must check to see if the engine oil has expired. Expired oil can cause serious engine damage. So if the oil has expired, you should replace it as soon as possible. When purchasing new oil, you should look for the expiry date on the package.

Where is the Expiration Date on the Motor Oil?

The expiration date is printed on the bottle or can of motor oil. The date is laser printed on the oil package’s back or bottom. Some companies only print the production date or calendar date on the bottle of engine oil; in this case, you can assume the expiry date is 5 years after the production date.

Symptoms of Expired Oil

  1. Examine the color of the oil. The new oil is usually a shiny light brown color. On reading the dipstick, old oil will appear dark brown and black.
  2. If you drive with expired motor oil, you may notice performance issues in your vehicle. Low performance can be an indication engine oil is expired.
  3. Test the consistency of the oil on your hand. If the oil is too thick or solid, it has most likely expired.

How Long Does Motor Oil Last?

1. Shelf Life of Motor Oil Once Opened

If the oil is opened once, it can be used for up to 2-5 years, depending on the brand, type of oil, and external temperature conditions. If the oil bottle remains open, it will likely oxidize and expire prematurely. As a result, it is strongly advised that motor oil be properly sealed when not in use.

2. How Long Does Oil Last in a Car Not Driven

Although we know how motor oil evaporates when you drive, what happens when you don’t drive the car? You should change the engine oil if it has been sitting in the oil for more than 6 months. To know more about this, check this article.

How to Avoid Premature Expiry of Motor Oil?

If you are not using motor oil, you must keep some things in mind for it to last longer. 

Here are some of the important considerations:

  1. Keep the oil container tightly closed. Tighten the bottle tightly to prevent air and moisture from entering the oil.
  2. Bring the motor oil to room temperature. It should not be stored at extremely high or low temperatures.
  3. Do not change the motor oil container. Other containers may contain chemicals or contaminants that react with motor oil and cause it to expire prematurely.

FAQ’s on Motor Oil Expiry

Yes, synthetic oil has an expiry date in the same way that conventional oil does. Whereas regular oil expires after 2-5 years, synthetic oil has an expiry date of up to 7-8 years if unopened.

This is because synthetic oil contains many additives that aid in its resistance to extreme temperatures.


To summarize, checking the motor oil’s expiry or production date is critical before purchasing it. This is because motor oil expires after 2-5 years and should not be used. If the oil is not properly stored, it may expire prematurely. 

If you do not use the oil, it is best to keep it sealed. The color of the expired oil is dark, and the thickness is incorrect. If the oil has expired, replace it as soon as possible.

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