The storage environment of oil and storage techniques can significantly affect the shelf life of oils. Generally, a dry and clean space with a stable and fair temperature, with suitable racks, will increase the shelf life. A dusty and humid atmosphere with irregular temperatures will seriously affect the estimated shelf life.
The manufacturers recommend the oil shelf life based upon the additives used for each type of their product. For example, oil lubricants that include rust inhibitors can lose their functional capabilities in a short time of storage. The oil stored should be rotated to ascertain that the recommended storage life is not inadvertently exceeded.
Most producers supply a suggested storage practice to increase the oil shelf life. Temperature variation may move air in the environment causing thermal siphoning of the container. Movement of air is increased in a container that is not completely full and has more vacant space. Although the barrel is sealed properly and oil does not seep out, a firm container still draws in air with a drop in temperature, and blows it out with a rise in temperature. Contaminants and moisture come into the oil, along with air that leads to degradation of additives and oil base. Water condensation may occur in the drum, with water layer being formed at the bottom that is pumped to the engine.
Extreme cold or hot temperatures can produce chemical degradation. Rust inhibitors that are added may lose their functional capability soon after a short storage period. A humid environment is detrimental to oil storage since moisture degrades the additives in a short period, and expedites the process of base stock oxidation. Shelf life of synthetic motor oil can be improved significantly if the recommendations of the manufacturers are followed strictly.