- If you are a do-it-yourself oil changer, the EPA has provided the following guidelines to ensure the process is as clean as possible:
- After draining the oil, but before removing the drip pan from under the car, close and secure the drain plug and check for leaks.
- If you are changing the oil filter, drain it for a minimum of 12 hours into a clean plastic container with a tight-fitting lid (do not use a container that once held chemicals, food, or beverages). Then, carefully pour the oil from the drip pan into the container.
- Reuse your drip pan; do not rinse residual oil down the drain or into your yard.
- If you do accidentally spill any oil, use absorbent material like sawdust or cat litter to clean the spill, then dispose of it in the trash.
- Used motor oil (from cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, or lawn equipment) can be recycled to make new motor oil—2.5 quarts of new lubricating oil can be made from one gallon of used motor oil—or processed into fuel oils or other materials. After you have changed your oil, take it to a local service station or recycling center that collects used motor oil for recyclin Some facilities will collect used filters as well; if not, ask your waste collection service if the filter can be disposed of with your household trash.
Integrated Waste Management Board shows that many vehicles can go more than the standard 3,000 miles between oil changes, depending on driving conditions and motor oil type. Before you skip your next oil change, however, be sure to follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations listed in the owner’s manual.
Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists, A Greener Oil Change, September 2008