Can Engine Oil Expire?

Can motor oil go bad sitting in the engine for six months or even a year, even if you don't use the car? The answer is: it depends, but yes. When making an oil selection, you should note the dates listed on the oil container.


Your car's engine oil is intended to keep your engine parts lubricated. This prevents the pieces from rubbing against each other, reducing any friction that leads to wear and tear. When you use your vehicle over time, the exposure to heat and high pressures will cause your oil to deteriorate. Other outside contaminants can also make your oil turn dirty and inefficient.


Your car's motor oil longevity depends on various factors, including the type of oil you use. Conventional motor oil is more likely to break down much quicker at high temperatures, whereas synthetic oils last longer due to their additives. 


How Can You Tell When Engine Oil is Expired?

Here are some easy steps that can help you conclude whether your car engine oil is expired.

  • Check the expiration date of the oil. If your vehicle's engine oil is past the advised date, consider changing it. You can also reference the oil container or the date of your last service.
  • Look at the color of the oil. There's no better way to draw your conclusion than to see the oil with your own eyes. Transparent oil, with a golden honey color, while haziness and darkness indicate old, ineffective oil.
  • Check the oil consistency. If it is thick, solidified, or manages to separate, it is not fit for use in your engine anymore.

Engine oils can dilute, corrode, and get contaminated over time. For that reason, we highly urge that you follow your manufacturer's oil change schedule, even if you don't use your automobile much often. If you are overdue for an oil change, we invite you to bring your vehicle to South Denver Automotive today!

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