How to dispose oil after oil change

In this article, we cover the various ways you can use in order to safely dispose of your old motor oil once your vehicle has had an oil change.

How to dispose of oil after oil change?

The various ways for disposing of your used engine oil after changing the oil are:

  • Check if your local curbside recycling program accepts used oil.
  • Contact the distributor or the company of the motor oil.
  • Contact third party agencies
  • Take the used oil to the nearest hazardous waste management plant

Basic Information on Handling Used Oil at Home

If you’re one of the many individuals who change their own oil, you’ll need to understand how to properly dispose of the leftover oil. 

For example, one million gallons of pure water — a year’s supply for 50 people — may be contaminated by spent oil from a single oil change. Take these important considerations into account while managing old oil:

  • Used motor oil is insoluble, has a long shelf life, and may contain hazardous compounds and heavy metals.
  • It takes a long time to deteriorate.
  • It adheres to a variety of surfaces, including beach sand and bird feathers.
  • It’s a major cause of oil pollution in rivers, and it has the potential to pollute drinking water supplies.

Do you replace the oil on your automobile at home? Approximately four million individuals, on average, utilise motor oil as a lubricant for other machinery or recycle it. 

If you wish to recycle your spent oil, be careful not to spill any when collecting it and placing it in a leak-proof container.

Check with your local vehicle repair shops, garbage collectors, and municipal waste officials to find out when and where you may recycle your old oil. 

Don’t forget to drain and recycle your old oil filters, which you can generally drop off at the same collection sites as you drop off your used oil.

How to collect used oil

It is vital to safely collect motor oil in order to ensure there is no mess created and the old oil can also be hazardous. The following steps should be followed for collecting engine oil:

  • Drain the oil
  • Transfer the engine oil
  • Drain oil filter

We shall discuss these in more detail below.

Drain the oil

Drain the oil into a pan large enough to hold twice the amount of oil in the crankcase. When the engine is heated, drain the oil to ensure that any gunk comes out easily. 

Warning: the oil will be quite hot. Continue draining until the oil has reduced to a trickle. 

Replace the drain plug and gently move the oil pan to a safe spot where the oil may be poured into a container. Any droplets should be wiped up using a paper towel.

Transfer the engine oil

Fill a clean, leak-proof container with a tight-fitting cover with the oil using a funnel – a stiff plastic container such as a plastic gallon milk jug works nicely. 

Make sure you don’t overfill the container. Use caution when disposing of spent oil in containers that previously held substances such as bleach, insecticides, paint, or antifreeze, since residues may contaminate the oil. 

Paint cans as well as other metal containers should be avoided. Label the bottle “Used Oil” and seal it. Separate containers can be utilised to transport power steering, transmission, and brake fluids to used oil collecting facilities (not mixed with used oil).

Never combine your spent oil with solvents, gasoline, or antifreeze. It is difficult, if not impossible, to recycle old motor oil once it has been polluted with these compounds. 

If your oil becomes polluted, identify the bottle and dispose of it at a Household Hazardous Waste collection facility. 

Don’t take it to an oil recycling facility since it may contaminate the tank, rendering the contents unrecyclable and costly to dispose of.

Drain oil filter

Place the old filter hole-side down in a storage container to enable the oil to drain and be recycled. Let the filter drain for at least 12 hours or overnight to remove all of the oil. 

Oil leaks must be stopped. Remove the old filter and store it in a leak-proof container (coffee can with lid or resealable plastic bag). 

Even after being emptied, the oil filter may hold 2 to 8 ounces of engine oil. Remove the old oil filter and replace it with a new one. 

Buy oil filters from companies who accept old oil filters for disposal to help support recycling initiatives.

How to dispose of oil after oil change?

The various ways for disposing of your used engine oil after changing the oil are:

  • Check if your local curbside recycling program accepts used oil.
  • Contact the distributor or the company of the motor oil.
  • Contact third party agencies
  • Take the used oil to the nearest hazardous waste management plant

We shall discuss these in more detail below.

Check if your local curbside recycling program accepts used oil

Some local municipality-based curbside recycling programs accept old motor oil. You should check with your local curbside program beforehand to check whether they recycle it or not.

If your city permits it, be sure to thoroughly examine the packing standards and process. Never throw a container of old motor oil in the regular recycling bin. 

If your city doesn’t provide curbside recycling for motor oil, you’ll need to make arrangements to drop it off yourself at a participating recycling facility.

Contact the distributor or the company of the motor oil

You can contact the distributor from whom you’d bought the motor oil from in the first place. Most of the distributors are part of a program with the manufacturing company for recycling motor oil.

However, if your distributor does not accept old motor oil, you can simply contact the manufacturing company, who will guide you with the process.

Contact third party agencies

There are many third party organisations that specialise in recycling old motor oil, and may charge a small fee for doing so.

Some of the organisations that specialise in recycling old motor oil are:

  • Earth911: Earth911 is a recycling organisation that specialises in recycling various types of waste as well as waste components. They also specialise in recycling old motor oil.
  • Autozone: Don’t worry if you’re unsure where to dispose of your oil or if the nearest recycling facility is a bit out of the way. Most AutoZone locations accept used motor oil and other environmentally sensitive recyclables (like batteries). For further information, contact your local store right now. While you’re there, you may also pick up a new jug of motor oil after dropping off your used oil.
  • AMSOIL Dealers: AMSOIL is a company that specialises in lubricants as well as motor oil. Your local AMSOIL Dealer can provide you with information on where to dispose of waste oil in their region. They are frequently willing to assist you with any inquiries you may have.

Take the used oil to the nearest hazardous waste management plant

Many local hazardous waste management plants take old motor oil where they send it later to get processed and repurposed for other applications.

The Benefits of Reusing and Recycling Used Oil

Recycling and recycling spent motor oil is a better option than throwing it away, and it can save the environment. Recycled old motor oil may be converted into fresh oil, processed into fuel oils, and utilised as petroleum industry raw materials.

Used oils from vehicles, bikes, and lawnmowers, such as engine lubricating oil, hydraulic fluids, and gear oils, can contaminate the environment if they are not recycled or disposed of appropriately. 

To avoid damaging the environment, used oil must be appropriately disposed of by municipal waste management authorities or automobile repair businesses. 

Oil filters that have been used face a similar waste problem. They can be securely recycled or disposed of if properly drained.

The following are just a few of the numerous reasons to reuse and recycle old oil:

  • Used oil is recycled to avoid damaging soil and water.
  • Motor oil does not wear out; it only becomes filthy, therefore recycling it helps to save a vital resource.
  • A gallon of re-refined base stock requires less energy than a gallon of crude oil base stock.
  • One gallon of spent motor oil yields 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil, which is equivalent to 42 gallons of crude oil.


There are numerous ways to dispose of old motor oil. It is important to ensure that the old motor oil has been collected in a proper manner, following which you can dispose of the old engine oil according to your convenience.


How does recycling old motor oil work?

Used oil may be refined into lubricants, converted into fuel oils, and used as a raw material in the refining and petrochemical industries. Used oil filters also include reusable scrap metal that steel makers may utilise as scrap feed.

For usage in automotive, heavy-duty diesel, and other internal combustion engines, as well as hydraulic fluids and gear oils, the most desired choice, re-refined oil, must meet the same strict refining, compounding, and performance criteria as virgin oil. 

Extensive laboratory testing and field research have proven that re-refined oil is similar to virgin oil, passing all required tests and, in some cases, outperforming virgin oil.

Because re-refining simply re-processes spent oil into fresh, high-quality lubricating oil, the same customers and companies who use ordinary oil may also use re-refined oil. 

Re-refined oil can be used by car repair facilities, automotive owners, and other machinery maintenance activities that require oil. 

Fleet maintenance facilities that utilise a lot of oil can arrange to reuse the same oil that they send to be re-refined, creating a fully closed recycling loop.

How do you clean an oil pan after an oil change?

You can simply leave your oil pan just like that after you have transferred the oil. However, if you wish to clean it, using soap and water would be ideal to remove the oil.

However, make sure you do not simply throw out the lather, or flush it down the drain, as doing so can have serious effects on the soil and sewers.

Can you burn old motor oil?

Yes, you can burn old motor oil. Old motor oil has a high calorific value, and burns for long, therefore providing a free source of heat for you.


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