How to Safely Dispose Motor Oil

Changing your vehicle’s oil is just the first step. The next challenge? Figuring out how to responsibly dispose of that used motor oil. Let’s explorer down-to-earth details to get this done.

oil change

The Initial Catch

When you start the oil-changing process, lay a tarp or plastic sheet under your car to keep things tidy. Position a proper container (like a drip pan with a spout) on top to catch the oil as it drains. The moment you remove that drain plug, you are in business!

By the way, it is always good to switch out the filter when changing the oil. If you are tempted to reuse it, remember to first remove it to ensure every drop of old oil gets out. And speaking of the filter, puncture a small hole in its dome to drain it into the pan. Seal it in a plastic bag afterward; it can still hold quite a bit of oil and, yes, it is recyclable too!

Storing & Transporting the Old Motor Oil

Once the draining dance is done, you might need to transfer the oil for storage or transportation. Always use an appropriate container. Old milk or juice cartons? Do not use them. The original oil container or a suitable polyethylene one? That’s a great choice! Some pans even seal shut, making it a breeze to store and transport the used oil.

Pro tip: Keep the used oil pure. If it mixes with other fluids like washer fluid or even water, recycling’s off the table. Ensure your chosen container’s past life didn’t involve storing other liquids.

Motor Oil Disposal & Recycling

So where does this old oil go? Many cities offer curbside recycling programs for motor oil. If yours does, research the packaging requirements. No pouring used oil into regular recycling bins! If curbside is not an option, drop it off at a recycling center. And if you are looking for convenience, auto parts stores not only accept used motor oil but other recyclables like batteries. Bonus: you can grab some fresh engine oil on your way out.

Why Bother?

Recycling is not just a buzzword. One gallon of used oil can be refined into 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil. Plus, recycling a couple of gallons can power an average home for nearly a day. Motor oil recycling does not just cater to cars; boats, lawnmowers, and other equipment are also on the act.

In short, disposing of motor oil responsibly is a win-win: great for the environment and often free of charge. So next time you roll up your sleeves for an oil change, you will know exactly what to do with the old stuff.

See AlsoMotor Oil: 4 Choices for Your Ride

Featured image under license from Adobe Photo Stock.

Bailey Eyard
Author: Bailey Eyard
Bailey Eyard crafts engaging consumer stories for a renowned regional publication. Holding a B.A. in Journalism from Seton Hall University, she is now advancing her studies with an M.A. in Marketing Communications at UNC Wilmington. Residing on North Carolina's Pleasure Island with her husband and trio of children, Bailey cherishes seaside moments with her loved ones and is passionate about windsurfing.

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