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To save going to the auto shop each time I need to do an oil change, I'm thinking about buying in bulk. Though I'm unsure if not using the oil for 6 months to a year, and only then putting it in the car and having it in the engine for another 6 months is going to be an issue.

So how long does it keep for?

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    From my understanding, as long as it's unopened (the factory seal is intact), it should be between 2-5 years at least. A note on this from Mobil – Shamtam Sep 24 '15 at 23:29
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5 Years or so, but storage conditions and oil type have an impact. keep it in a cool place in a sealed container and you'll be good to go. see: Oil Bible and: Chevron and: Mobil and: AmsOil .

Addendum:

Buy the 5 gallon bag-box with the spout on it and use it to refill an old 5 Liter oil bottle. This will keep the oil in the bag-box from being exposed to the air, and is a convenient way to get it to the car/truck. As long as you limit the amount of air(Oxygen), moisture, or extreme temperatures the oil is exposed to it will probably out last the five year mark by quite a bit.
Unless you are using this for a lawn mower or motor cycle or some other small engine, you will probably use 4 qt's minimum for an oil change. Which is 1 gallon, that's five oil changes, or 2.5 years for one vehicle if you change the oil every 6 months.

  • How about if it's been opened? As what I'm thinking of is those larger containers for a more "buy in bulk" price. – andrewb Sep 25 '15 at 5:08
  • @andrewb - I wouldn't buy in the bulk barrel (55 gal drum) unless you have the need to use it constantly, like on a farm or in a garage. You won't use it up before it goes bad if you are only using it for a single or even two vehicles. That is, unless you are changing your oil out every month and then it's iffy. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 25 '15 at 11:56
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    It would take me two years to use a 30 gallon drum by changing all three of my vehicles at a 90 day interval. – David Winslow Sep 25 '15 at 12:49
  • I wonder if you can buy oil in 5 gallon cans? We used to get it that way when I was in the Army ... darn trucks took that and then some. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 25 '15 at 21:06
  • Yes, you can get motor oil in 5 gallon buckets. Some auto parts stores will order it for you, or you can try a tractor/farm supply house. – barbecue Sep 26 '15 at 13:05

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