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Many of the automotive products that are used on a daily basis are flammable and cannot be disposed of in drains, storm water sewers, garbage cans, or septic tanks. Not only is disposing of car waste harmful and potentially life threatening, it is also illegal, and individuals who dump vehicle waste can face both civil and criminal penalties.

The trusted experts at Pep Boys have provided the following information on how to safely and responsibly dispose of vehicle waste. Luckily, most common automotive products can either be reused or recycled. Please contact your local county extension office or solid waste department for more information regarding hazardous waste collection programs.

Motor Oil

Improperly disposed motor oil is the single largest source of oil pollution. Motor oil picks up heavy metals from the engine of a vehicle, which are toxic to people, wildlife, and plants. Dumping that used motor oil in a backyard, down storm drains, or into a garage will cause contaminants to enter the soil or surface water in that area. Just one pint of motor oil can produce a one-acre slick to develop on surface water, which creates a film that blocks out vital sunlight for plants and other organisms.

The best method to removing motor oil is to recycle it. Oil never wears out; it just gets dirty, so recycling it is easy. First, drain the oil and transfer it to a tight-fitting lid, such as a plastic jug or metal can. Make sure these containers are not being used to hold other products in order to avoid cross contamination. Old oil can typically be brought to many service stations or “quick lube” shops, in addition to a trusted neighborhood Pep Boys. Some community curbside recycling programs will also pick up used motor oil. Pep Boys is committed to keeping both our customers and environment safe. Please call your local Pep Boys store to set up your old motor oil drop off.


Car batteries contain harmful corrosive materials and heavy metals that can contaminate soil and surface water. Luckily, 99% of typical leadacid batteries can be recycled and safely disposed of. Many auto body shops, such as Pep Boys, will accept an old battery upon the purchase of a new battery. This old battery is then recycled and the core charge that is typically associated with properly disposing of the product is (oftentimes) waived.

Store a battery upright in a sturdy, acid-resistant, leak proof container before recycling, in order to avoid spills or the release of dangerous contaminants. Visit a local Pep Boys or shop online for a new battery. Pep Boys is dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and maintaining a safe and healthy environment.


Antifreeze is highly toxic, and ingesting it may lead to death. Antifreeze must be handled with extreme care; children and animals might be attracted to its sweet smell and taste. To replace antifreeze at home, one should first drain all of the coolant and run the vehicle for a few minutes with distilled water inside of the tank. Drain the distilled water and refill the tank with new coolant. Old antifreeze can be stored in its original plastic container before being brought to a recycling center, where it will be purified and re-used.


Gasoline is highly flammable and toxic, even when making skin contact. It can also contaminate soil and water if not disposed of correctly. Store used gasoline in an approved container away from living areas, ignition sources, and direct sunlight. Never use old gasoline as a solvent, paint thinner, or weed killer. Contaminated gasoline must be brought to a local hazardous waste collection center.

Transmission and Brake Fluid

Both transmission and brake fluid are highly toxic and corrosive. They need to be stored, not dumped, in leak proof containers to avoid spills. Be sure to keep each type of fluid in separate containers. The biggest obstacle in recycling automotive fluids is the cross-contamination of different fluids. Bring used brake and transmission fluid to a hazardous waste collection program that will accept them. The trusted experts at Pep Boys are happy to recycle any used automotive fluid and replace with new fluids during service, so schedule an appointment today.


Improperly disposed of tires can lead to petroleum products and toxins leaking into the ground and water supply. Although some see new life as energy-absorbent compounds, railroad ties, or even interior decorations, most tread-bare tires have little to no use. Old tires should be stored outside in an area that is protected from rain or fire, though local restrictions may limit the amount of tires that can be stored at one time. Additionally, shops and tire centers are expected to recycle old tires after they have been replaced. There may be a small charge if new tires are note purchased. Pep Boys offers a large selection of tires and tire services for different driving needs. Schedule an appointment online or visit a local Pep Boys store to learn more from one of our trusted experts.

Scrap Metal

Any metal part of a vehicle is essentially recyclable. Most states require the object to be in a secure bin with the lid completely closed. The object cannot contain any fluids, such as oil or antifreeze when being collected. Many auto recyclers (or salvage yards) keep an inventory of parts and send them to companies that will refurbish them. Most recyclers will be happy to accept old car parts, and that might mean a small cash reward.

Recycling your vehicle waste is an important step you can take to preserving our planet. However, if you’re still not sure how to do it properly or want some professional help, schedule an appointment with Pep Boys and we’ll help you keep your car—and our planet—clean.