In the know: Can engine oil go bad or stale in your car?

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One of the most important practices in car care is to make sure you religiously change the motor oil. That’s because the oil inside your engine plays a vital role in keeping the powerplant in good running condition.

As you use your vehicle, the engine oil is subjected to various temperatures and gets dirty from combustion and the accumulation of particles from the engine materials. Over time, as the fluid does its job, it gets cloudy and filthy and eventually, the oil will have to be changed. But what if you haven’t driven your car for a while? Will the engine oil still go bad or stale?

If you find yourself scratching your head over the same question, then you better stay tuned. Because today, we will find out if your engine oil can go stale inside your car.

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Does engine oil expire? 

All vehicles have recommended oil change intervals. Some would require an oil change every 5,000 kilometers, others 10,000 kilometers, or every six or 12 months. The cycle that the motor oil goes through when inside your car’s engine is so drastic that the once clean and refined fluid turns dark and dingy.

But it’s not just that.

Engine oils do have expiration dates and expired engine oils do not work as well as ones within their shelf life. Do bear in mind that these expiration dates apply only to motor oils in sealed and unopened containers, which means that the lifespan of an opened engine oil that’s sitting in your vehicle will be far less.

That said, the answer to the question is yes. Engine oil will go bad and stale even when left sitting inside the engine for a while.

Over time, the synthetic additives in the engine become less effective than they once were, and the oil becomes less viscous and loses its efficacy in providing your engine with proper lubrication.

In addition, experts say that running expired engine oil in your vehicle may cause various problems like acid buildup, corrosion, and minor damage to the actual engine.

Bottom line

Whether you use your car or not, your engine oil can and will go stale and bad. It will lose its ability to provide your engine with the lubrication it requires which may lead to various types of issues along the way.

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On that note, make sure to change the oil based on the recommended interval for your vehicle.

Photos from ZigWheels

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