Changing and Recycling Your Own Used Oil Filter
Are you a wannabe do-it-yourselfer who has been afraid to try to change your own oil? While this task can seem daunting, if done carefully, it doesn't have to be messy or complicated. We've broken the process down into three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be sure to read the entire series: Changing Your Own Motor Oil (Wednesday, December 30); Changing and Recycling Your Own Used Oil Filter (Tuesday, January 5), and Recycling Your Used Oil (Wednesday, January 6).
When it's practical and cost effective, empty used oil filters are being collected for recycling. Check with the used oil collection facility where you take your used motor oil to see if accepts used oil filters, or if it can direct you to a place that does.
Regardless of how you recycle or dispose of your used oil filter, it must be drained of used oil. Special handling is required to properly clean an oil filter.
Turn off the engine, block the wheels and set the parking brake before getting under your car. To avoid burns, make sure that the engine is not too hot. Consult your owner's manual for directions.
Remove the drain plug on the bottom of the engine's oil pan and allow the used oil to drain from your car into a suitable container such as a drip pan.
Use a filter wrench (if necessary) to loosen the old filter. Carefully remove the used filter.
Drain the filter of any oil. The most effective method is to use a sharp tool to puncture the anti-drain back valve (on the filter's flat end) or the filter dome (on its rounded end) and allow the used oil inside the filter to drain into a container appropriate to hold used oil for recycling. (Anti-drain back valves are present in most automotive and light-duty truck filters. The valve consists of a rubber flap that creates a vacuum to prevent oil from draining back into the engine when it is not running. Puncturing the filter breaks the vacuum and releases the trapped oil.)
Place the flat end of the punctured filter on the used oil collection container and drain as much oil as possible out of the filter. It is important for used oil filters to drain at least 12 hours near engine operating temperature and above room temperature (approximately 60*F).
Install the new filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. Coat its rubber seal with a small amount of oil, then replace it. Do not use a filter wrench to tighten the new filter as this may damage the filter. Instead, tighten it snugly with your fingers, following the directions supplied with the filter.
When you've completed your oil change, don't be tempted to toss your filter into the trashcan: approximately 220 million gallons of used oil are improperly disposed of each year -- and just ONE gallon of used oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of drinking water!
Take the filter (along with your used oil) to the nearest used oil collection center. If your community doesn't have a collection center, check with your local service station or an automobile maintenance facility such as a lube center, repair shop, or car dealership. Also look for the nearest "oil drop." This is a petroleum industry symbol indicating that used oil is collected for recycling/reuse. You can also search at this link for an oil recycling center using your zipcode.
We've broken the process down into three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be sure to read the entire series: Changing Your Own Motor Oil (Wednesday, December 30); Changing and Recycling Your Own Used Oil Filter (Tuesday, January 5), and Recycling Your Used Oil (Wednesday, January 6).
All information contained in this series has been sourced from:
* South Carolina DHEA Office of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling: Used Motor Oil Recycling Pamphlet (1/08)
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Collecting Used Oil for Recycling/Reuse - Tips for Consumers Who Change Their Own Motor Oil and Filters
* U.S. Department of Energy: Used Oil Re-refining Study to Address Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 1838
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