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How to Dispose of Used Batteries, Fluids

Old parked car

After maintaining our vehicles, we are often left with used fluids and parts. Some are easily disposed of, some are not. Most used parts either have "core value" that can be cashed in at the auto parts store or they can be recycled for their base metal value. Parts that are not considered hazardous materials can be thrown in the garbage. But hazardous materials are not so easily disposed of.

Here's what you can do with the fluids and parts that cannot be simply thrown in the dumpster.


Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, Brake Fluid, Power Steering Fluid, etc.

Most auto parts stores and many garages will accept used oils of these types free of charge. Some may ask for a disposal fee. Many recycling centers accept them as well. Most of the places that accept the fluids will also accept filters for those fluids.

Put the oils into a tightly-sealed, plastic container like oil or washer fluid containers. Most of the time, you can mix them together if you'd like as they all end up in the same bins for recycling. They're usually recycled into home heating oil or reprocessed to make new lubricants.



The coolant in your car contains anti-freeze agents that are usually considered toxic. Many parts stores will accept coolant free of charge as will some garages. Hazardous waste facilities will often accept it as well, but usually only under specific conditions. One of those will be that it be contained in its original container and not be mixed with anything else.

When replacing coolant, keep the containers for the new anti-freeze and use them to store the used stuff after you've drained and replaced. Most recycled coolant is just cleaned and refurbished for re-use. Most coolant is disposed of as hazardous waste by either burning or burying.

Old Tires

These are by far the most difficult thing for most home mechanics to get rid of. Some people repurpose old tires into things like planters, garden borders, etc. Most recycling centers and tire stores will take the tire for a fee.

Old tires are usually shredded to be used as asphalt or soil additives or ground to be used as additives for various uses like track and field surfaces or road tar additives.