Can engine oil expire?

Can engine oil expire?

Buying oil in bulk comes with its own bulk of considerations. Will it go bad before you can use it?

It’s easy to think of oil as a commodity buy. You put in your bulk order, set up your delivery schedule and roll your PMs without thinking much about it. But bulk oil comes with a hefty bulk of considerations. That’s why we’re diving into the specifics to ensure that you keep your engine oil investment working productively and protecting convincingly. 

Buy enough of something and you start to think: “Will this go bad?” We’ve all opened a gallon of milk only to be assaulted by the pungent stench of spoilage. That’s the last thing you’d want for your engine oil. So, can it expire? 

The answer starts with storage.

“Any stored bulk fluid risks the potential for contamination,” said Kenneth Tyger, director of technical services with D-A Lubricant Co. Inc. “Bulk tanks or similar storage containers have been known to ingress moisture and ambient dust particulates. The aforementioned becomes more prevalent when tanks are stored outside—exposed to the elements—or kept in uninsulated buildings.”

But contamination isn’t the only worry a fleet manager may face in storing fluids.

“Fluid exposed to significant extremes like heat and/or moisture would certainly degrade to a point of being unusable, as would the likelihood of contamination when kept around for lengthy periods,” he said, and drew a parallel to shelf life of a packaged product. 

“If an oil product is stored indoors in a cool, dry environment—preferably elevated or off the floor on pallets, free of excess heat, light and moisture, and not exposed to wide ambient temperature fluctuations—a typical packaged oil shelf life of three years can be expected.”

“The storage of any given fluid, specifically that of a fluid purchased with the intent of utilizing within several weeks, if not months or even years, should be considered carefully.”

Kenneth Tyger, D-A Lubricants Co. Inc.

As a fleet manager, your challenge is that you want enough bulk oil to cover your maintenance needs, but you don’t oil sitting around forever; that’s just poor resource management in both monetary and product terms.

“Oil sitting idle with no movement or agitation in storage for extended periods of time [10 to 15 years], even under ideal conditions—clean, dry, temperature-controlled environment—in sealed plastic containers is one of the most demanding of conditions for a fluid,” Tyger said, noting that even the type of plastic typically used for motor oil bottles (HDPE) is not totally impervious to air and/or moisture infiltration from the environment. “This type of storage can result in additive drop out and/or moisture infiltration, making the fluid unsuitable for use.”

According to Tyger, once a fluid has been sitting for so long the only way to confirm that its integrity is still intact is by an oil analysis from a qualified laboratory. Another consideration is to assure all bulk storage tanks have functional breather and filtration systems.

“Bottom line,” Tyger concluded, “the storage of any given fluid, specifically that of a fluid purchased with the intent of utilizing within several weeks, if not months or even years, should be considered carefully.”

You May Also Like

Navistar releases decarbonization update in 2023 sustainability report

Navistar said the report also looks at its commitment to sustainability through environmental initiatives, human rights due diligence and more.

Navistar-2023-sustainability-report

Navistar recently shared its 2023 Sustainability Report, which the company says highlights how it is "accelerating the impact of sustainable mobility with its main area of strategic focus on decarbonization." Navistar said the report also shines a light on how the company is solidifying its commitment to sustainability through circular business practices, social impact and environmental compliance initiatives, human rights due diligence, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Scania opens orders for autonomous mining trucks

Scania’s 40-tonne autonomous heavy tipper for mining available to order, and the 50-tonne model to follow shortly afterwards.

Scania-autonomous-mining-truck
FTR: Truck orders exceed recent trends in May; vocational sales stand out

Not only are orders up m/m and y/y, FTR said this level is above recent demand trends and 2% above the average for May over the past decade.

FTR-May-Preliminary-Class-8-orders
PACCAR MX-13 CARB compliant engine available in Peterbilt 579, 567, 589

The PACCAR MX-13 diesel engine meets the CARB Omnibus Regulation and is available in high performance or efficiency focused ratings.

Cummins, PACCAR, Daimler Truck N.A. complete joint venture formation

The completed joint venture is now known as Amplify Cell Technologies.

Accelera-Daimler-Paccar

Other Posts

What trucking execs said at ACT Expo; plus the biggest news from the show

Our ACT recap includes speeches from Volvo’s Roger Alm, Tesla’s Dan Priestley, and more.

act-recap-1400
FTR sees rise in April trailer orders

With 13,016 units sold, April saw 9% m/m and 45% y/y gains. However, trailer orders were still 20% below the average for the last 12 months.

FTR-april-trailer-orders-chart
Embracing truck service changes that come with EVs

Young Trucks adapts to EVs with Volvo’s certification program, investing in equipment, training, and safety for heavy-duty electric truck service.

Trucking-Sustainably-Young-Trucks-ev-dealer-1400
Kenworth talks Cummins natural gas engine trucking applications

Driven by decarbonization, the Kenwortth T680 outfitted with the Cummins X15N natural gas engine aims to lower trucking emissions.

kenworth-cummins-natural-gas-engine-UPS-truck-1400