How to Properly Store Motor Oil

Some drivers like to stock up on motor oil for their future oil changing needs. By storing motor oil according to its manufacturer’s directions, you can prolong its shelf life for up to 5 years. Typically, manufacturers recommend that you store the motor oil at a temperature between 40 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although motor oils contain additives that keep them stable at temperatures below 0ºF or above 100ºF, extreme fluctuations can affect their viscosity or thickness and, therefore, their ability to protect your engine.

If the viscosity or thickness of the motor oil is too high, it will not be able to flow freely and reach all the components of the engine. On the other hand, if the motor oil viscosity is too thin, it will not be able to coat the parts of the engine effectively and prevent friction when the engine functions.

Precautions to take when storing motor oil

  • If the container or bottle of the motor oil remains sealed and unopened, it will last longer.

  • Store the motor oil in a dry environment. Moisture entering the container reacts with the oil and creates solid particles that contaminate the oil. Microbes can also form in the motor oil.

  • Protect the container from dust so the quality of the motor oil does not degenerate.

  • It is essential that you store containers away from sources of high heat and fire hazards. Motor oil belongs to the category of Class II flammable hazard. This indicates that it has a flash point of between 420 and 485ºF, making it susceptible to catching fire at high temperatures.

Keep in mind

  • If your motor oil contains rust inhibitors, it will have a shorter shelf life and you need to use it up within a short time.

  • Used containers have vacant space in them. At high storage temperatures, air exits out of the bottle of motor oil. At low temperatures, air is sucked into the container. Water condensing in the bottle as a result can transfer into the engine when you use the motor oil.

  • Undisturbed bottles of motor oil can develop some amount of sedimentation but that will not affect its usability or effectiveness.

Storing and disposing of used motor oil

Used motor oil contains several contaminants and impurities that can cause serious damage to the environment if not stored and disposed of properly. You can deposit the used motor oil at the appropriate facilities or service stations for recycling and refining. However, before you do, be sure to take the proper precautions when storing the containers.

  • Never allow motor oil to spill on the ground.

  • Store the used motor oil in clean, plastic containers or tanks after checking them carefully for leaks, or rust.

  • Make sure you label each container or tank carefully as “Used Motor Oil.”

  • If you’re storing used motor oil for a longer period, make sure you conduct regular checks on the containers for deterioration.

  • Never store used motor oil in containers that previously held food, beverages or any other chemicals.

  • Take care that the used motor oil does not mix with paint, solvents or antifreeze.

  • Make sure that the storage area is secure and does not present a safety hazard for people living or working around it.


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