Four Letters Re: Storing Oil and Lubricants for TEOTWAWKI

I run synthetic motor oils in all of my vehicles, it’s barely any more expensive any more and it reduces engine wear, especially on tight-tolerance Japanese motors. Mobil (for example) recommends a
5-year shelf life for unopened quarts, but I wonder if any of your readers have any more info on whether this is CYA on Mobil’s part or, failing that, a lead on long-shelf-life synthetics?
Also, speaking of oil, if you’re looking for very high mileage on diesel trucks (and I know we all are), bypass oil filters are the holy grail. A quick explanation, they’re very fine particulate filters that
are way too low-flow to be a normal oil filter, so the oil lines pass them by. Most of the oil for running the engine goes right past it, but a little bit goes through and gets filtered out back to
almost-new. This will eventually clean the entire circulating oil supply. OBTW, SurvivalBlog readers will find lots of oil info here. – PH


Dear Jim,
While facilities sometimes dictate needs, I’d be very leery of storing propellant, caps and explosives in the same building as flammable liquids. It’s not just the decay of the explosives if exposed to vapor, it’s the massive amount of fuel for a fire or vapor explosion if the explosive detonates.
My explosive experience isn’t huge, but I have done some for the military and I’m aware of their storage requirements. A container of primers, propellant or caps will probably make a loud bang or series of them, with some damage and possible fragmentation. But if stored near a fuel that can vaporize and disperse, the risk of an impromptu FAE with a large overpressure wave is certainly much higher.
I recall a worker from an ammunition factory noting that the primer line was kept well-separated, so that “When, not if” it popped, the damage would be minimized.
At the very least, I’d consider a solid wall of sandbags with a vapor seal between the two types. – Mike


I suggest that you add to your list chain lube for the chain saw, as well as bearing grease. Thanx for all you work. God bless y’all – Monty


It is very likely the use of non-detergent motor oil will cause very early engine failure in modern high tech equipment.! Read the code on the top of the can (bottle). These ARE important and will save you a lot of trouble. It is OK to use a higher rated oil in a less demanding service. I would like to learn the source of the info about detergent oil going bad early. This is truly bad info that will cause grief. Take Care PS Do some research….the auto and oil companies are not your enemies here. Regards – Don C.

JWR Replies: From what I have read in manufacturer bulletins and web sites, detergent motor oil has a roughly three year shelf life. I recommend using detergent motor oil on a day-to-day basis, but storing a couple of cases of non-detergent motor oil, just in case of TEOTWAWKI. Yes, detergent motor oil does foster longer engine life, but is nice to know that there is still one sort of motor oil with an essentially indefinite shelf life. (The only limiting factor that I can foresee is UV degradation of the containers, and keeping your stored cases of oil in a dark place should prevent that.