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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does oil have a shelf life? I've got some fork oil that's been sitting for 8-9 years in a closed--but not sealed--bottle. Is it still useable? I don't really see how it would have gone bad, but I'm also not a chemist. I'd love to save a few bucks by not buying a new bottle, but I'll get one if it's inadvisable to use the old stuff
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5 years for all chemicals stored in ideal conditions-i.e. not in a hot tin shed, and unopened......

As attached: "Normal Shelf Life: In general, the recommended shelf life for oils and greases is typically five years when stored properly in the original sealed containers."

(AFIK-Some manufacturers suggest up to 8 years for 100%Synthetic, unopened)
 

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It wouldn't, and hasn't, bothered me.
 
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Forks are sealed, once cleaned and flushed they might not need redoing(oil change)..for 2 to 3 years....less contamination than an engine....
Oil is more cheaper than mechanical components....the pdf i attached lets u know some of the physical things to look for in your oil appearance....if it was me a fresh bottle...
And use the old fork oil for oiling the gate/hinges around the house....
**Sorry..am a chemist/biochemist so a stickler for "shelf life"..😃...
Tho have consumed 50year old wiskey without hesitation.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like buying a new bottle is probably cheap insurance. Of course, if I keep buying stuff for the bike, I'll never be able to afford that 50-year-old whiskey!
 

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Oil damn near last forever.

He has some interesting vids...including "black" moly engine oil.

Can is unopened....but my inerpretation of this vid is it lasted but no good for a modern engine??...formulations might have changed over the years...i wouldnt use"heavy tar" on my drive splines...😗
 

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I try to always assess what is the potential up/down side. Upside - save a few bucks. Potential downside - premature mechanical wear/failure. I'll pass on the saving a few bucks personally.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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The experts will tell you that house paint is only good for 5 years too but I've used stuff that was well over 20 years old (possibly over 30) with no problems, both alkyd and latex.

I have a feeling that a lot of the shelf life recommendations for things like that are very conservative and based more on liability concerns than actually unsuitability for use.

It's a lot like the "best before" dates on food. I know people who won't eat anything that is even a day past the BB day but the key is that it says best before, not rots after.
 

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The experts will tell you that house paint is only good for 5 years too but I've used stuff that was well over 20 years old (possibly over 30) with no problems, both alkyd and latex.

I have a feeling that a lot of the shelf life recommendations for things like that are very conservative and based more on liability concerns than actually unsuitability for use.

It's a lot like the "best before" dates on food. I know people who won't eat anything that is even a day past the BB day but the key is that it says best before, not rots after.
I'm with you on this Bob. I've been using the same tapping oil bottle for more than 20 years now and don't feel bad about it, same thing for my chainsaw's bar oil gallon which must be more than 15 years old. Gear oil for my snowblower auger worm drive is pretty old too. Those applications aren't really critic so I have no worries about using old stuff.

That being said, I woudn't use 15-20 years old engine oil in anything but a lawn mower, additives degrade with time and wearing out an engine or transmission because I cheaped out on oil makes no sense. Oil technology also improves so I want to take advantage of the new products available.

On the other hand, there is stuff that has a definite shelf life, like brake fluid (especially if opened).

To finish, my worst experience with an expired product has to be shower and bathtub silicone caulking. I once redid the shower's caulking using a tube of GE premium grade silicone caulking I had laying around. A day later it hadn't cured at all. I thought that was strange but decided to give it time, we had a 2nd shower so no big deal. A week after there was no change so I had to remove it all and start over... Took me a day to clean up properly and redo, it was as if I had caulked with thick grease... Found the tube in the trash and indeed there was an expiry date on it, and I was past it by a few months... Now I just dump what's left of the tube when I'm finished, I don't want to ever do this error again!
 

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Interesting. I use a lot of silicone sealant when I'm working on Eccles to seal threads of fasteners and things like that so that salt water doesn't get in and promote rusting. The tube that is in the caulking gun now is from a batch that I found really cheap at a $1 store; I don't know how old it is (it never occurred to me to look for a date) but I've had it for at least 6 years and this one has been in the gun for several years and it still cured nicely the last time I used it (a few months ago now).

As for the fork oil, if it looks clean and doesn't have sediment or anything floating in it I would probably use it.
But that said, I probably wouldn't have a bottle of fork oil anyway because I always use a 50:50 mixture of ATF and motor oil in my forks ;-)
 

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Interesting. I use a lot of silicone sealant when I'm working on Eccles to seal threads of fasteners and things like that so that salt water doesn't get in and promote rusting. The tube that is in the caulking gun now is from a batch that I found really cheap at a $1 store; I don't know how old it is (it never occurred to me to look for a date) but I've had it for at least 6 years and this one has been in the gun for several years and it still cured nicely the last time I used it (a few months ago now).

As for the fork oil, if it looks clean and doesn't have sediment or anything floating in it I would probably use it.
But that said, I probably wouldn't have a bottle of fork oil anyway because I always use a 50:50 mixture of ATF and motor oil in my forks ;-)
I don't know if the chemistry between automotive and household silicones works the same. I've never had any problems with old automotive RTV or other sealant (provided it hasn't hardened in the tube!!) but I assure you it happened to me with bathroom caulking.

Fork oil? I would use the old stuff wihout any problems, we're not in MotoGP looking to win races!
 
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