Carnitine is required for transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria for β-oxidation. Carnitine has been used as an energy supplement but the roles in improving health and delaying aging remain unclear. Here we show in C. elegans that L-carnitine improves recovery from oxidative stress and extends lifespan. L-carnitine promotes recovery from oxidative stress induced by paraquat or juglone and improves mobility and survival in response to H2O2 and human amyloid (Aβ) toxicity. L-carnitine also alleviates the oxidative stress during aging, resulting in moderate but significant lifespan extension, which was dependent on SKN-1 and DAF-16. Long-lived worms with germline loss (glp-1) or reduced insulin receptor activity (daf-2) recover from aging-associated oxidative stress faster than wild-type controls and their long lifespans were not further increased by L-carnitine. A new gene, T08B1.1, aligned to a known carnitine transporter OCTN1 in humans, is required for L-carnitine uptake in C. elegans. T08B1.1 expression is elevated in daf-2 and glp-1 mutants and its knockdown prevents L-carnitine from improving oxidative stress recovery and prolonging lifespan. Together, our study suggests an important role of L-carnitine in oxidative stress recovery that might be important for healthy aging in humans.