What Should I Do with Used Motor Oil?

Author: John Baker / Chris Bergner  Date Posted:7 July 2019 


While most motorists pay someone to change their oil, 25 percent of us still crawl under our vehicles and do it ourselves. When we’re done, what do we do with the used motor oil?

It should go without saying, but dispose of it properly.

According to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy, Just 1 Litre of used engine oil or "Sump oil" can contaminate 1 million litres of fresh water – a year’s supply for up to 15 people. Just one Litre of used oil can produce a two-acre slick. 

(The average Australian oil change creates around 5L of used oil)

Here are a few options for properly disposing of used motor oil.

3000 mile oil change myth - change oil in your car

Take used motor oil to your local used oil facility 

If you only produce a small amount of used oil from vehicles or farm machinery, In Australia you can take it to your local used oil facility run by your local council or shire. Usually the facility will be located at the landfill, waste transfer station or works depot and usually it is free of charge to dispose of used oil.

Some used oil facilities will also take your oil filtersoily rags, and plastic oil containers. Check this out when you next recycle your oil.

Used oil collectors

Some industries including service stations produce more used oil than a local facility is able to take. Instead, used oil collectors will visit and remove the used oil (this may be free because used oil is valuable).

(A quick search online "used oil collection" brings up multiple disposal options)

Do these businesses a favor and ensure the used motor oil is properly stored in clean plastic containers (not with dirty oil dripping down the sides). It’s convenient to simply use your empty oil bottles as used-oil storage containers.

Don’t forget the oil filter. Most collection centers also recycle used oil filters. In fact, since used oil from discarded oil filters can leak into the soil and water, many state and local governments have banned their disposal in area landfills. Like used motor oil, used oil filters are highly recyclable, and the steel can be used to manufacture a variety of new products, such as construction materials, vehicles and appliances.

How to change your oil

What happens to used motor oil that’s recycled?

Used motor oil can be used to power industrial plant boilers or other industrial heating applications. In fact, recycling just 8L of waste oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for nearly 24 hours. It can also be distilled into diesel or marine fuel.

Used motor oil can also be re-refined and used to make new motor oil. Refiners can restore the lubricating qualities of base oils, remove contaminants and introduce new additives to create a new product.

Another option – create less waste oil

The best way to deal with used motor oil is to create as little as possible.

The motor oil market today contains multiple oils recommended for extended drain intervals. Some even allow you to go a full year between oil changes if you choose.

At the risk of sounding immodest, AMSOIL was the first oil company to promote extended drain intervals. Back in 1972 we were making synthetic oil recommended for up to 25,000 miles or one year, whichever came first.

Today, we offer AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil, which provides extended drain intervals up to 25,000 miles (40,000kms of normal service), one year or 700 hours of operation, whichever comes first.

AMSOIL Signature Series

Buy AMSOIL Signature Series

We also offer XL Synthetic Motor Oil, which is recommended for up to 12,000 Miles (20,000kms) / one year, or longer when recommended in owner’s manuals or indicated by electronic oil life monitoring systems.

Buy AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oil

Extending drain intervals dramatically reduces the amount of waste oil generated.

If all the vehicles in Australia used AMSOIL synthetic motor oil for extended drain intervals, we could eliminate over 250,000,000 Litres of used oil per year!

Not only that, but changing oil less often also reduces packaging waste, not to mention the time you spend changing oil.

What about the oil filter?

Our line of Ea® Oil Filters is recommended for up to 25,000 miles (normal service) or one year, whichever comes first, helping you generate fewer used oil filters each year while providing your engine excellent protection.

Shop AMSOIL Ea Oil Filters

Regardless how often you elect to change oil, just make sure you dispose of used motor oil properly. Your backyard will thank you.

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