Oily Rag - Dedicated to Pat, Greywolf. 26/06/45 - 04/06/18 > Oil/Lubrication

Oil shelf life

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The shelf is plastic! My nephew drives an old VW Bora, he called at mine asking about an oil change, I said I've just the thing for you kid!  Oil removed from the strom and fitted to the Bora!

A useful and valid question porter.  There must be a date beyond which we should doubt the quality of anything we use on our motorcycles which are, by definition, unstable. Tyres for example are degraded by sunlight and extremes of temperature.   Brake fluid attracts and holds water and must therefore be changed at certain intervals and once opened the container, even though only half empty should be discarded and not used. I admit that, after use, I put the half used container on the shelf in case I need to top up again in the next couple of weeks and then only dispose of it after I have bought the next one two to three years later. I think oil in a plastic container should last a good few years and can be used subject to being to same standard as the handbook requires. There is a reverse aspect to this. Back in 1965 my BSA Bantam two stroke ran on a petrol /oil ratio of 20:1. Because of improvements in oil technology today's Bantam owners run on 32:1 . My 1961 Royal Enfield required Castrol Grand Prix which was a straight 50 grade. I doubt that is the same now.   Which brings me to the subject of lubricating the engine, gearbox and clutch/ primary drive with the same oil which I still dislike. My friends four stroke Honda 250 used the same amount of oil as my two stroke Puch 125. Only difference was that after a couple of thousand miles he drained his and threw it away whereas  my Puch sucked it in with the fuel  and blew it out with the exhaust. Greta would have been furious.


--- Quote from: porter on February 03, 2021, 09:36:53 ---Bought some oil of Ebay the other month, never looked much at it and after putting it in the other day I noticed its product date was 04/16. Save to use or lesson learned?

--- End quote ---
Any info on the packaging about how long since production date should you use it ? Oil is a quite complex chemical fluid - yes, it degrades over time, question is how much. As far as I remember, engine oils can be stored (assuming the bottle is sealed) for at least 5 years - means you good to use it.

It was marked 04/16 so nearly the 5 years. I looked online and some oil companys said 5 years some 2.  It just kept eating away at me so its out now. It was also a 15w50 I bought this as I thought it might quiet down the clutch a bit but it was very thick and slow to pour, but its perfect for a 175k mile VW Bora!

I may be wrong here so others can chime in but are bike and car oil not rather different beasts?
Car oil has all sorts of friction modifiers in to make it shear thin so it flows more freely under load to help with cold starts. Bike oil has none of these as the oil needs to lubricate the clutch but not so much as to make it slip. I would imagine putting bike oil into the car is less of a risk than car oil into a bike but I still wouldn't personally risk it for the price of a bottle of the correct formulation.
Again, don't take this as gospel unless others know better but I didn't think the two were strictly interchangeable.


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