Love of the automobile is an American tradition. Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are also a very American concept. Millions of us do standard vehicle maintenance, including oil changes, in our own garages, barns and driveways. It’s a great way to save some cash, connect with your ride and get your hands dirty! But, it is vitally important that automotive fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and brake fluid are disposed of properly. Automotive fluids that are dumped down the drain, put in the trash or are poured on the ground can do significant environmental damage. If improperly disposed of, the amount of oil in one standard oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. Every year, in the U.S., 180 million gallons of used motor oil is dumped on the ground, down sewers and into landfills by DIYers. That is 16 times the amount lost in the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989! The good news? There are many local outlets to properly recycle these types of materials. Most automotive fluids can be re-refined and used again and again—including motor oil, antifreeze and transmission fluid.
When changing your own oil or working with another automotive fluid, carefully collect the unwanted solution in a sturdy container with a cap. Do not combine different chemicals in the same container. Used motor oil can be recycled locally at most auto service providers and auto parts stores—some local examples include Brownsburg Muffler and Service, Auto Zone, Indy Lube, Walmart, Mel’s Service Center and Indy Tire Center (full list). Some of these same places will also accept oil filters, brake fluid, antifreeze, and other fluids for recycling. Some limits may apply, so call ahead for program details and limitations.