How To Properly Dispose of Used Motor Oil

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How To Properly Dispose of Used Motor Oil

Handling your motor oil changes is quick, easy, and a great way to save some extra money. However, everyone who works with motor oil knows how messy and potentially dangerous it can be, considering all its chemical additives. So, learning how to properly dispose of your used motor oil is just as important as learning how to change it. Fortunately, proper disposal is easy and involves only a few simple steps.

Catch All the Oil

Within the anatomy of a lubricant is a dominant component: the chemical additives that keep it stable and improve its lubrication abilities. While these chemicals are very helpful to our engines, they’re dangerous for the environment. Therefore, catching all the oil and preventing it from encountering the soil or water sources is incredibly important.

Lay a tarp underneath your vehicle and place a drip pan underneath the oil pan to catch all the oil. Make sure the pan is big enough to hold all of the oil in your vehicle or have another pan on standby.

Don’t Forget the Filter

Once you’ve drained all the oil, make sure you also clean out your oil filter. Leave the tarp underneath your vehicle and make sure your oil pan has enough space to catch the rest of the motor oil. Puncture a small hole in the dome of the oil filter using a sharp center punch and let it drain into the pan.

Most oil filters have two layers of metal: the outer protective layer and the center of the filter that holds most of the oil. Make sure to puncture through both layers. The oil will drain fast if you only puncture through the outer layer, and most of the oil won’t come out.

Store Oil the Right Way

Use a sealable oil drip pan so you don’t have to worry about storing your motor oil and potentially making a mess if you want to make your life a little easier. You can funnel the oil into the container it came in or another polyethylene container if you don’t have a sealable oil pan. Once sealed, store it in a cool, dry area if you don’t plan on disposing of it right away.

Do not put your motor oil in a container that once contained another fluid like brake fluid, antifreeze, or other chemicals. Even if the fluid was in there a very long time ago or you cleaned it thoroughly, you risk mixing dangerous chemicals. These chemicals could ignite or make you very sick if you breathe them in or otherwise come into contact with them.

Where To Dispose of Your Motor Oil

Now that you’ve drained and stored your motor oil, you can now dispose of it properly. You have a few options. You can go to your local auto parts supplier, who will dispose of it for you or you can give it to your local oil recycling collection center. Additionally, check your county website to determine if they have a recycling program so you can leave it out on trash day. Never dump your oil on the ground, in your garbage can, or down a storm drain. Once you’ve properly disposed of your used motor oil, you can rest a little easier, knowing you did what’s best for the environment.

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