Can You Recycle Motor Oil?

Motor oil is an essential component for a properly functioning car. Motor oil lubricates, cools and cleans your engine but it is not them most environmentally sound item. As science has progressed, so too has our ability to re-refine used motor oil into something useful. As with many greener technologies, initial efforts to recycle motor oil yielded dubious results. However, much progress has been made. By using recycled motor oil, you can do your part in making the world a little more fuel efficient.

What recycled motor oil is not
Recycling motor oil does not simply mean using the same motor oil again. After you drain motor oil from your car, it has been damaged, polluted and heated beyond a functional state. This is why your once refined motor oil must be re-refined.

The cleansing process
Used oil is transformed once again into a lubricant, which is then mixed with anti-foaming additive, a dispersant and a detergent. According to Universal Lubricants engineer Joseph Franceschi, this is achieved through a highly sophisticated process. This includes wiped-film evaporation, which separates pollutants and additives. Then the oil is hydro-heated to re-infuse the hydrocarbon molecules with hydrogen.

The uses of recycled oil
In an interview with Scientific American, Franceschi explained the many applications of re-refined motor oil: “you could use it for passenger car motor oil, automatic transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, heavy-duty motor oil. There’s no difference between oils re-refined with modern technologies and refined oil from virgin crude.” The American Petroleum Institute certifies recycled oil products that are up to the appropriate efficiency standards. Moreover, all major car manufacturers approve the use of these American Petroleum Institute sanctioned oils for their cars. The use of recycled motor oil will not void your car’s warranty.

How long should you wait before changing your recycled motor oil?
Recycled oils don’t need to be changed more often than regular oil. Car mechanics traditionally suggest that you should change your oil every 3000 miles or every three months, but most contemporary vehicles can last longer than that. Most cars can handle oil changes every 5000 miles. The specific interval will vary depending upon the make of your car. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to change your oil roughly every 5000 miles. A better rule of thumb is to consult your owner’s manual to better understand how many miles your car can travel between oil changes.