The thermal stabilities of base oils and their additives could be examined by employing an infrared spectroscopic technique. As the heat temperature was increased, changes in absorption were recorded at different wavelengths characteristic of the chemical groups. These changes were observed to occur slowly at first, but then turn to become more marked at specific temperatures. The magnitudes of these changes and temperatures were taken as indications of the thermal stabilities of the samples. The thermal stability was found to decrease in the following sequence: aromatics > naphthenes > hetero compounds > substituted aromatic rings > paraffins.