I had placed 6 quarts of oil (in individual plastic bottles)outside in the elements for about 4 years. Is this oil still safe to use in my truck?

Yes. It was in the ground for millions of years. Plastic cans are much better than dirt.

Using this old oil is better than using NO oil at all (like some other people on the Car Talk discussion board).

However it is probably better to use new oil. If your truck is as old or older than the oil itself, use it. If your truck is new, take the oil to be recycled or use it a lawnmower or something similar.

Yes, as long as the API letters on the bottle match those in your truck’s owner’s manual.

New oil in a bottle doesn’t go bad.

My only problem would be whether the plastic bottles remained sealed. On the side of worry, why ? Take it to a waste oil plant/furnace, dump it and buy 4 new sealed quarts to put into the engine of a truck. Plastic breaks down and can become porous in sunlight. Oil may have been around for millions of years, but I’m not confident the additives will be. Everything changes, I wouldn’t. I might feel differently on a shelf in the garage.

[i] My only problem would be whether the plastic bottles remained sealed.[/i]   No problem there. 

Oil has a very long half life.

You might go to the Bob is the Oil Guy Website and read the Oil 101 part of the website. I think the website recommends against storing oil in bulk for long periods of time in variations of temperature (i.e. an unheated garage) because the viscosity can be permanently changed.


I don’t know how anyone here could say yes, it’s good or no, it is not without test data. The oil bottles may have been heated by the sunshine but who could know how or if that would affect the contents and who would spend the money to learn more about a marginal situation.

I have old oil in my stash from the mid 1990s that I use in my oldest car that has flat face valve lifters. The oil is apparently good as my old car runs fine and burns little oil. My oil is kept in our basement, away from sunshine.

If you have doubts about the oil, use it one quart at a time with each oil change.

"Oil has a very long half life. "

Oil perhaps, but consider the additives and possible contaminants. So lawn mower, sure…Lamborghini, NO

“It may depends how it is stored, not too hot and not too cold it will be okay for years if it is in the original sealed container.
Some companies will only guarantee it for two to five years on the shelf but others the web say that if it is shook well to remix the additives in the bottle then they haven’t any problems.
Don’t store it any other container and don’t leave open to air as it oxydizes. Opened bottles will deteriorate much quicker.

Wouldnt the oil being in the elements for 4 years cause condensation in the plastic bottles resulting in water in the container

I think i answered a question with a question but ya get the idea. Anybody?

If the bottle is sealed it will have the same amount of water in it as the day it was made.