CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Motor Oil

I have a question about OIL VIABILITY. Will oil, that sits unused in a vehicle, over the winter (October till June) still be effective OR must it be changed? (Situation: we have a cabin in Wisconsin at which we use a ?70 Jeep and a ?52 tractor during the summer. Neither vehicle has much mileage put on it over the summer?possibly 3-400 miles. Over the winter these vehicles sit unused.) SHOULD WE USE THESE VEHICLES WITHOUT CHANGING THE OIL EACH SUMMER?



ALSO, If we have unopened motor oil (sealed in their original cans) IS THIS OIL?S VIABILITY MAINTAIN until cans are open? IS THERE A ?SHELF LIFE? on oil products? IF SO FOR HOW LONG?

I think most manufacturers recommend changing oil once per year, so I would use that as my guideline. I have read that unused oil in storage is good for about four years.

I would go ahead the store the vehicles with fresh, new oil in it and run it through the summer, and change just before storing again.

I’d change the oil before I put them away for the winter. That’s what’s recommended for lawn mowers, and you are treating the Jeep and tractor like a lawn mower in that you don’t use them for many months. I would not worry about motor oil in unopened containers. I wouldn’t even worry about motor oil in a gallon container if the cap is tight.

BTW, do you put fuel stabilizer in your gasoline?

I have an old Dodge truck that gets less than 1000 miles a year usage. I change the oil every 3 years or so, or when it looks dirty…To be fair, it operates in a desert climate…Clean oil in a sealed container will last for years, if not decades…Motor oil is a VERY stable product. After all, it’s been in the ground for MILLIONS of years…

What they said, just don’t put older-vintage oil into a new car, the specifications increase regularly.

Based on the research i have done, the recommended procedure to change the oil prior to storage and then shortly after taking out of storage. I have done this with all my engines, cars, bikes, snowblower, etc. for over 25 years. No engine failures.

I was just watching “A Car is Reborn”, a British show about rebuilding a E-Type. The Jags’s motor had a rebuild about 3 years and 3000 miles prior to tear down. The babbitt bearings where all corroded form the acid build up in the oil. Used oil suspends ash, acids, and all sorts of combustion by-products.

Changing oil is relativity cheap compared to engine internals. Do a search on storing vehicles…good advice to be found.

I have read the shelf life on Dino oil is about a year. I have had some old oil that had some discoloration over time. I recycled it, again oil is relatively cheap compared to what it protects.

One other thing, when you do your end of summer oil change, run them for a little while to get the new oil fully circulated.