How To Properly Dispose Of Motor Oil [Guide]

So, you’ve got some oil that needs disposing of. But what’s the correct way to get rid of it? Since almost half of vehicle owners change their own motor oil, it’s a common question. Getting rid of used oil in the proper way is important because it can help to preserve the environment.

how to properly dispose of motor oil

Used oil contains toxic elements like lead, zinc, cadmium, and heavy metals. Improper disposal of used oil can harm the environment when these pollutants mix up with water and soil. Used oil can be recycled, which is far better than being thrown away.

Disposal of used motor oil by yourself

Can you dispose of used oil yourself without professional help? Yes, you can. You just need to know the right way of doing it. This article will show you how.

motor oil check

The proper way to dispose of used oil

Extracting used oil

Step 1: Get a tarp to protect the ground from oil dripping. Oil is hard to clean up and can leave a stain. It’s also very messy. Have your tools ready and beside you.

Step 2: Extract the used motor oil into an oil pan that has almost double the limit of your original motor oil container. Ensure your vehicle engine is warm enough so all the oil can flow out. Be cautious of hot oil because it can burn you.

Step 3: Next, carefully move the filled oil pan to a safe place where you will later put the oil into a container. Make sure to wipe off any leftover oil on the vehicle. 

Storing the extracted oil

Step 1: Carefully store your oil in a safe, leak-proof container with a tightly/adequately sealed cap. Using a funnel will help you to do this task easily. Don’t use a container that was previously used for other household chemicals; this will contaminate your oil.

Step 2: After sealing the container properly, label it as used motor oil. Store the container in a safe and dry place, away from kids and sunlight. Also, keep the container far from other chemicals such as bleach, paints, etc.

Used Motor Oil

Recycling of oil filters

Step 1: Make a hole in the used filter using a screwdriver or other tool, and drain the surplus oil into your oil pan. Enable the filter to empty for a minimum of twelve hours to eliminate all the used oil.

Step 2: Keep the previous oil filter in a leak-proof and safe container, such as a tightly sealed lid or clean plastic bag. Now, it’s time to replace the old filter with a new one. Try to use an oil filter for your car that can be easily recycled after use. Recyclable oil filters are available almost everywhere.

The safest places to bring used motor oil

Now it’s time to bring your used oil to a dedicated oil collection or recycling center. If you don’t know of one, search the internet. You may find service stations or used oil collection sites near you that accept the used oil for free. You can also contact earth911 for help. But don’t try to leave your used oil anywhere while they’re closed or without permission, because it’s considered illegal.

What if your oil is contaminated?

You’ll need to find a special toxic waste disposal center if your oil is contaminated. You can contact your local authorities to locate one. Oil can become contaminated after mixing with other toxic chemicals. Oil recycling and disposal centers only want pure, used oil.

Can I dump motor oil in my yard?

You should never dump oil into your yard or throw it out with regular trash. Oil is a particular substance that requires special disposal treatment. Oil can seep into the ground and reach the water supply. Furthermore, oil can’t just be thrown out with other everyday trash. It can cause problems once it reaches the landfill.

Buy and use recycled, re-refined oil

Used fuels are often re-refined into lubricating oils that meet similar certifications and specifications as new or virgin fuel. Used oil consumes less energy than pumping and processing oil from the ground, and shopping for used oil helps to reduce dependency on foreign oil.

Moreover, the price of recycled oil is about the same as regular oil. Sometimes, it even costs less. You also don’t need to worry about warranty issues, as most major engine and car companies do not consider re-refined oil to void the warranty.

Final words

The environment is vital to protect, but we are damaging it daily. Small steps can help to preserve it. Proper disposal of used oil is one of them.

So, take what you’ve learned with you the next time you change your oil. Consider using re-refined oil, and suggest that your family and friends do so too. Happy travels from Moto Answers!