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Vehicle MaintenanceMotor Oil

Maintaining and cleaning your vehicle at home is an excellent way to reduce maintenance costs and ensure your vehicle is getting reliable service.  However, if all lubricants and internal fluids are not properly contained and disposed of, they could easily contaminate our waters.

Stop Leaks

Lubricants and internal fluids including motor oil, brake and steering fluids, transmission fluid, and antifreeze are extremely toxic to aquatic ecosystems, even in small concentrations.  A single pint of motor oil can form an oil slick the size of a football field.  if improperly disposed of, used motor oil from one vehicle would contaminate 8 football fields of surface water. 

Washing your Car

Car WashingWashing your car in your driveway can also threaten the health of your local waterbodies.  Solvents used in soaps and detergents, heavy metals washed off brakes and engine parts, and residue from various chemicals and fluids all have the potential to alter water chemistry. 


If you maintain your vehicles at home, there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce watershed contamination.  Wash vehicles over a pervious surface like the yard where water seeps into the ground rather than running down the driveway and into a storm drain and use environmentally friendly,  biodegradable, phosphate-free cleaning products.   You can also take your car to the carwash where they are equipped to treat the soapy water.  




Links and Resources

Download the Stormwater SMART Car Care brochure.


For more information on the importance of recycling motor oil, visit the American Petroleum Institute website at http://www.recycleoil.org/


Find out where to recycle motor oil in your area by visiting http://earth911.com/

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