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Engine oil shelf life question

Hello all…

While cleaning out a storage shed, my uncle found 4 cases (6 quarts in each) of Mobil 1 Synthetic 10W30. He reckons they are at least 7-8 years old.

Do you think they are still usable, or should he just send them to get recycled??


If the containers are sealed it should still be good.

And if it’s used in an engine that’s 7-8 years old there’s no problem there either.

You have to look at the “S” specification which means “SPARK” ignition. So oil this old might have a SG or SH designation. But I wouldn’t throw it out. How about using it in lawn/winter equipment?


The containers are 100% new, factory sealed.

He intends to use this circa 2002-2003 oil, in his 1999 Honda Accord 4 cyl.

The shed these were stored in was not insulated in any way from the outside temperature. So the temps varied from approx 25-30F in the winter-time to 102-106 in the summer.

That oil will work fine in his 99 Accord.

I wouldn’t hesitate in using this oil.

Do you realize the conditions bottled oils sit in before they’re put on the shelves?


How old do you suppose ANY petroleum based oil is? What sort of temperature extremes do you suppose it was exposed to when it was thousands of feet below ground? Oh, you said synthetic. Still, if it has roughly the same characteristics as petroleum based oils, why not keep it? Especially since “synthetic” oils are made from petroleum.

It is already a million years old, A few years in a bottle will not hurt it.

However, make sure it meets the needs of your car. If you have a newer car, the oil may not meet it’s needs. The weight and name of the oil does not say it all. Check your car’s owner’s manual and the oil If the manual says something like S5 and the oil says S4, that is a no go. S7 would be fine (S=Spark [gasoline] C=Compression [Diesel].)