So, I have accumulated 4 Liter engine oil which are left overs of previous oil changes. I have accumulated these amount in 1 year. So should I use it or not? I use Mobil 1 full synthetic 0w 40.

Please give me suggestions.

  • 1
    If you can, check for the expiration date of the earliest leftover oil container. I generally use the leftover oil for the very next oil change instead of accumulating it.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:11
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    You may have heard warnings about using opened, old brake fluid. Oil is fine, but brake fluid readily absorbs moisture, so there's usually warnings about only using a "new, unopened" bottle of fluid.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 22:26

4 Answers 4


If the oil is unused, and unopened, there is nothing wrong with using it.

ExxonMobil recommends a five-year maximum shelf life for engine oils, including Mobil 1™ synthetic motor oil.

Opened oil can vary in shelf life due to extreme temperature, humidity and other conditions like dusty environments. These things will shorten the life.

  • thanks for the comment. Considering the opened engine oil have been in normal temperature, low humidity and dust free environment, then do you think it can last one year in shelf? Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 13:35
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    In those conditions, my opinion would be, yes.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 13:36
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    How does a dusty environment affect shelf life if its stored in a sealed can?
    – Mark W
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:43
  • @MarkW It would probably depend on how well the can is sealed and how dusty the environment. Hard to say for sure.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:49

Yes, as Charlie says, as long as it has been stored correctly it should be fine. I generally use the leftovers from one change when I do the next so that it's not sitting around for too long - e.g. if I need 4L and I have 5L cans, I'll have 1L left, so next time I'll use that 1L, plus 3L from the next can.

  • I have a Toro timecutter. I bought 3 32oz 10w-30. I used 2.5 of these when I did my first oil change on my new Toro last year at about 5 hours. I have 50 hours on it but wanted to do a second oil change. The 0.5 left over has been lying in my garage. Should I just use this 0.5 with the other new 2 10w-30 that I will be buying. That 0.5 is a year old. I don't want to scrimp and the oil is just 10$ per 32 oz but I wouldn't want to waste the 0.5 oil either. I kept the 0.5 thinking I might need to top off the oil but didn't have to do that at all and I do check the oil before each ride. Commented May 9 at 23:46
  • @SangeetAgarwal yep, as long as it's been stored properly it'll be fine.
    – Nick C
    Commented May 13 at 17:37

A bit of a late answer here, but I would agree with the answers already posted: Yes, you can definitely use it. That being said, I would not recommend storing engine oil for more than a few years, since the additives in the oil can begin to settle out of the oil.

Store it, as already said, in a dry location with fairly stable temperature and humidity, but don't hold on to it for 5-10 years: engine oil does eventually break down.

  • Settle out? Would they not get thoroughly mixed while the engine runs?
    – donjuedo
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 21:56
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    @donjuedo -- it settles out to the bottom. If every single drop from the can could be scraped into the engine, then yes, it could be mixed in the engine. In reality, though, the oil at the bottom will tend to be left in the can, and that residue would have the lion's share of the additives. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 2:07
  • I always shake oil before using it to avoid this. Who knows how long its sat in a warehouse/shop/dealer.
    – DizzyFool
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 9:24

Yes you can, and you might decant it into smaller containers for top ups on the road. In summer you do not want too much air as considerable vapour pressure can build up. It is common on farms and anywhere plant is maintained to buy in drums. It is too expensive to waste.

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