Do you change your car's motor oil? If so, you are considered a do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changer! Changing your own motor oil requires the same care that you provide for the rest of your vehicle. According to the American Petroleum Institute, over 50% of all motorists change their own oil. DIY oil changers generate about 150 millions gallons of used motor oil each year. This is approximately a quarter of all used motor oil that has the potential to be reused or recycled.
DIY oil changers have the individual opportunity to directly impact their local environment by properly handling their used motor oil and recycling it at local collection programs or facilities. By recycling your used motor oil, and taking the time to make sure that you limit spills and leaks you can prevent damage to your environment and ensure the quality of the environment for future generations.
Here are some helpful steps to changing you car's motor oil:
- Refer to your owner's manual for proper directions in changing your motor oil.
- Before removing the drain plug on the bottom of the engine's oil pan make sure that you have a clean drain pan that will accommodate all the oil in your vehicle. For a standard passenger vehicle this is generally no more than 5 quarts.
- Drain the used oil into a drip pan and make sure you have rags available to clean up any drips or spills.
- At this point, change your oil filter taking care not to spill the oil that is in the filter. Again, make sure the drip pan is under the filter to catch any drainage. Properly drain the filter of all excess oil.
- Replace the drain plug and securely tighten according to the manufacturers' instructions.
- Using a funnel, add new engine oil allowing each container to fully drain. Be careful not to spill the oil. Have rags available to mop up any spills on the engine block or the ground. Do not overfill. Consult your owner's manual for the correct grade and amount of motor oil needed for your particular vehicle. Most cars generally will need four to five quarts of oil.
- Once you have filled the engine with oil according to the manufacturers' specification, be sure to check around the oil filter and drain plug for any evidence of leaking oil. Oil spilled or leaked on your driveway, on streets or other surfaces will inevitably be washed into storm drains or into adjoining soils during heavy precipitation periods, which can contaminate lakes, rivers, streams or groundwater.
- Using the funnel, pour the used oil from the drip pan into a proper recycling container. There are numerous drain pans on the market that serve as both a drain pan and holding container for recycling. Visit your nearest auto parts store to find these specialized containers for changing and recycling used oil.
- Once in a sealed container take the oil to a local motor oil collection center for recycling. Do not mix other lubricants (such as brake fluid or transmission fluid) or any other materials with the used motor oil. Most recycling locations will not accept it if you do.