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.


Next Step

Schedule Oil Change

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil Change. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Oil Change reviews

Excellent Rating

(25,186)

Rating Summary
23,749
900
199
95
243
23,749
900
199
95
243

William

34 years of experience
517 reviews
William
34 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe V6-3.3L - Oil Change - Phoenix, Arizona
Excellent mechanic. Always came to appointment on time, thorough with his work, extremely knowledgeable, kind, friendly and honest. Highly recommend to anyone.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Oil Change - Goodyear, Arizona
William was knowledgeable and detailed on the work and any questions asked. His background with diesel will be noted for service on my F350 in the future.

Bryan

2 years of experience
87 reviews
Bryan
2 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz S550 V8-4.7L Turbo - Oil Change - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Bryan was really great. Was quick but thorough. I will definitely recommend and use your services again.
Mini Cooper - Oil Change - Hollywood, Florida
Bryan was great...he communicated what he was doing very clearly and made suggestions based on inspection of the engine. I would be happy to book him again. I am finding your service to be very convenient and the service has been professional. I can recommend Your Mechanic without qualification.

Raymond

37 years of experience
402 reviews
Raymond
37 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.2L - Oil Change - Las Vegas, Nevada
Raymond did a great job however I was charged for two hours labor and he was only here less than 45 minutes. should I expect this on future appointments with your mechanic ?
Ford Escape - Oil Change - Las Vegas, Nevada
He is a very nice man and very thorough. Explains the inner workings well. I would recommend him to anyone.

Jeffrey

16 years of experience
99 reviews
Jeffrey
16 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.2L - Oil Change - Saint Petersburg, Florida
Jeffrey arrived when he said he would and was very efficient and neat. I asked for some advice about gasoline additives and he was most helpful.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Differential Gasket
If you find traces of oil on the underside of the differential, puddles of fluid, or whining sounds, you may need to replace the differential gasket.
How to Quickly and Accurately Find the Source of an Oil Leak
When it comes down to car fluid leaks, oil leaks are among the most common. Degreaser and U/V leak detector kits can help you find the source.
How to Replace the Oil Temperature Sensor on Most Cars
Oil, as well as the oil temperature sensor, is crucial to the engine lubrication system. A bad sensor can lead to leaks and poor vehicle performance.

Related questions

Had oil and battery changed, and now the car will not start.
It is possible that during the battery replacement and oil change that something was unplugged accidentally. It is also possible that the battery could have been installed incorrectly. If the engine is cranking it is turning over. If everything was...
I smell something burning and my oil pressure light is on. What's wrong?
This sounds like you are having three different problems: The engine had burned oil and you changed it and now the oil light is on (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/is-it-safe-to-drive-with-the-oil-light-on). The transmission slips (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/3-essential-things-to-know-about-your-car-s-gear-shifter) and then catches. The last thing you mention the cooling...
Timing chain tensioner oil leak 2009 Toyota Corolla
Hello - you are being misled. The timing chain tensioner (https://www.yourmechanic.com/question/how-does-a-timing-chain-work) does have a gasket that gets old and brittle over time and leaks. BUT - it is fairly accessible, is external on the engine, and can be replaced inside...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com