Recycling Waste Automotive Fluids and Oils? How to Dispose of Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Brake Fluid, and More

Wondering what to do with the fluids after servicing your vehicle? When working on a car, truck, or SUV and dealing with fluids like antifreeze or coolant, motor or engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and more, it’s important to follow the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) recommendations for recycling and disposing. This keeps us from polluting the planet and having fluid seeping into the ground or leaking into other areas like streams and ponds. Find out how to dispose of motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and other fluids properly with this post.

Dispose used motor oil yourself with quality auto parts and how-to videos at

Where to Put Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Brake Fluid, and More When Draining

Use an Oil Catch Pan or Drain Bucket

Large drain pan for disposing fluids

Specially-designed oil catch pans and lifts are great for containing used fluids when working on your car or truck and they allow you to recycle fluids as needed.

Smaller drain pan

Unfortunately not every has these, so sometimes a smaller drain bucket or pan will have to do, but it can be harder to catch all of the fluid with these.

Cleaning a coolant spill with a cloth

If fluid does spill onto a flat surface, an absorbent cleaning cloth can help clean it.

How to Clean on Oil Spill with Oil Absorbent

This video below shows how to clean up an oil spill with an oil absorbent or cat litter, which includes the steps of covering the oil with absorbent and letting it soak in for a minute, grinding the absorbent into the oil with a piece of wood, and repeating this process until the oil is removed from the floor.

How to Properly Dispose or Recycle Used Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Brake Fluid, etc.

Use a Jug for All Fluid Except Antifreeze

Disposing waste motor oil into a waste oil jug

One option is to make a jug to contain all of the waste oil on your vehicle from differential fluid to power steering fluid and to create another jug to hold all of the coolant/antifreeze.

Dispose of Antifreeze in a Separate Container

Mechanic’s Tip: When disposing oil, keep the waste antifreeze in a separate container and do not mix it with other waste fluids. It may be difficult to recycle the waste oil if antifreeze is mixed with it.

Use an Old or Reusable Container

Since not everybody has a jug to dispose used oil into, another option is to pour the used fluid into its old container.

Waste oil container

If you change fluids a lot, it’s a good idea to have a reusable container that can hold waste oil to safely store and recycle it later.

Where to Dispose Old Fluids?

Search Online or Drop It Off at a Local Parts Store or Recycle Center

Do not place waste oil into the sewer, trash, or an old shelf where it will be forgotten. There are many places you can search for online that will accept waste oil. More than likely the business you bought the motor oil or other fluid from will take the used fluid back and recycle it properly themselves.

This video below explains a few other places you can drop oil and oil filter off at, like local auto parts stores or recycle centers.

Learn How to Check and Change Fluids Yourself on Many Different Vehicles

Learn how to check and change fluids like the antifreeze, motor oil, power steering fluid, and more with 1A Auto’s how-to videos that have step-by-step instructions for these and other repairs for many makes and models.

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Recycle Waste Fluid - How to Dispose of Motor Oil, Antifreeze and More
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Recycle Waste Fluid - How to Dispose of Motor Oil, Antifreeze and More
Find out how to dispose of motor oil, antifreeze or coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and more has our experts explain how to store and recycle all kinds of waste fluid after it has been drained from your car, truck, or SUV.
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1A Auto
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