Antifreeze, often known as coolant (ethylene glycol), is a vital component of your car’s performance as the liquid keeps the water in your car’s radiator and engine from freezing in cold weather.
Besides this, it has a secondary function as antifreeze prevents water in your car’s cooling system and radiator from maintaining a level engine temperature, stopping water boiling over in extreme weather conditions, and preventing corrosion and engine damage.
Maintaining your vehicle requires changing your antifreeze every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Because antifreeze is poisonous, it’s critical to understand how to properly dispose of it not to hurt you, your pets, or the environment.
In our guide, you can learn more about this engine coolant, how not to mix it with other chemicals such as brake fluid, and how to deal with it if you have spilled antifreeze when changing it. (Learn How To Dispose Of Old Gasoline)
By the end, you can find out how to dispose of coolant rather than being tempted to pour your antifreeze down the drain and break the law
Does AutoZone take old antifreeze?
AutoZone is a well-known auto parts shop. You can never be worried about what to do with your used batteries and motor oil when you do business with the organization.
Transmission fluid, gear oil, motor oil, and automotive oil are all accepted at most AutoZone locations. (Learn How To Dispose Of Wood Ash)
While they sell car antifreeze and brake fluids, they don’t accept these as chemicals considered hazardous waste. You will need to find a local recycling center or another way to dispose of tainted antifreeze safely.
Can You Pour Antifreeze Down the toilet?
Antifreeze has a pleasant taste that pets and little children may find appealing. As a result, do not pour antifreeze on the ground or dispose of antifreeze in the trash. If you have a septic system, never pour antifreeze down the drain or toilet.
Check before throwing antifreeze down a drain or toilet if you’re linked to a municipal sewage plant. Should you pour any antifreeze down the drain, it could work its way to a storm drain here; wild animals are enticed by the smell and search it out to drink it and poison themselves.
Transfer car antifreeze to a durable container, label it properly with the contents and take it to a household hazardous waste collection program. Check with a local service station, as well as an automobile or radiator repair business.
How Do I Dispose of Coolant At Home?
Antifreeze is harmful because it contains glycol, a chemical that is toxic to humans and animals alike. Car antifreeze comes in two varieties, each with its own level of toxicity:
Ethylene Glycol Antifreeze: This is by far the most toxic of the two types of car antifreeze on the market today. It contains ethylene glycol, a chemical that can cause brain, liver, lungs, and kidney damage if ingested.
If ingested and untreated, the heavy metals in the solution can ultimately result in organ failure or death in large quantities.
Toxic ethylene glycol might affect the reproductive system and cause birth defects or disabilities. To make matters worse, this type of antifreeze has a sweet odor and taste that pets and small child may find enticing.
Propylene Glycol Antifreeze: This type of antifreeze substitutes the ethylene glycol component in car antifreeze with a different component known as propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is less toxic than ethylene glycol, but it must still be handled with caution. When consumed in excessive quantities, it might cause injury.
Coolant testing, disposal, and replacement aren’t difficult, but they need to understand your engine and local recycling and hazardous waste rules.
Here, you can learn the safest method for how to check and dispose of old antifreeze.
1. Test Antifreeze Fluid Levels
The radiator contains your antifreeze and engine coolant mixture. To start, park your vehicle on a level surface and allow the engine to cool.
Remove the radiator cap and inspect the inside to make sure the fluid level reaches the top of the radiator, or there is a “full” level indicator.
Even when your radiator has sufficient antifreeze levels, you need to examine it to see whether it needs changing.
The liquid can be clear, red, orange, or blue-colored, yet it should look bright regardless of its color. (Learn How To Get Nail Glue Off Skin)
Check using a coolant tester. To use these, stick the hose in the antifreeze, press the bulb to suck up some liquid. Read the gauge, and you can see the temperature protection for the lowest freezing temperature it will deal with.
While removing the radiator cap, check for an oily coating on the surface to show you have tainted antifreeze. This can mean you have a head gasket issue, and you need a mechanic. Oil is mixing with your coolant as your engine runs under pressure. Cloudiness, a strong odor, or particle matter show your antifreeze needs replacing.
2. Locate a Hazardous Waste or Recycling Facility
When searching how to dispose of antifreeze, you can find recycling and disposal rules on your state’s Department of Waste Management website.
Besides this, you can speak to a convenient recycling or disposal facility and call to find out how to keep spent antifreeze contained.
Oil or gas-tainted antifreeze will be classed as contaminated and can’t be recycled. In this scenario, you’ll need to research hazardous chemical disposal on the website or search for a commercial waste hauler as many places won’t accept this mix antifreeze is now.
You can also seek help with used antifreeze disposal from a local recycling center, local government, auto shops, and a local mechanic.
Authorized landfills can accept old, non-contaminated antifreeze; ask about tanks for used antifreeze disposal.
If you are lucky, you can find a local services station with coolant recycling machines that remove glycol from the old antifreeze.
3. Drain Radiator Of Your Old Antifreeze
When draining your radiator and changing antifreeze, wear protective gear such as goggles, masks, and gloves.
Park on a level surface and let the engine cool completely to remove the old antifreeze.
Before you drain your radiator, disconnect the battery to ensure you can’t get any shock.
Place a drain pan beneath the drain valve. Use your pliers to open the valve and let the liquid run into the drain pan. Before tightening the valve, let the liquid antifreeze drain completely.
Transfer the old antifreeze safely, dispose of it into a sealable plastic container halfway. To check how much replacement antifreeze is needed or the mix of antifreeze and water to pour into the radiator, consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
4. Clean Up
Even the most meticulous mechanic can’t prevent spills. Because antifreeze is a toxic chemical, you must instantly absorb any spilled liquid.
Use sand, baking soda, or kitty litter to soak up as much of the mess as possible. Once you have done this, you should cover the area with paper towels and set them aside for one to two hours.
To gather all the spilled antifreeze and other absorbent material, use more paper towels to place all the other materials into a sealable plastic garbage bag. This bag can be thrown in any outdoor trash can as long as it is out of reach of children and animals.
Finally, scrub the stain with a sponge or scouring pad after squirting liquid soap on the affected area. Rinse with water and dry with a towel or air dry.
5. Secure and Transport
Use sealed plastic containers to transport when disposing of antifreeze. Old antifreeze. Containers should be placed on the back seat or trunk floor, and if needed, make sure you use a cable or a retaining strap to hold your containers in place.
Label each container with the date you changed your antifreeze, as well as the antifreeze’s brand and chemical composition (if known).
Propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, or methanol are the main ingredients in antifreeze, and each has a slightly varying amount of toxicity.
If your antifreeze has been contaminated with gas or oil, make a note of what compounds were added to the coolant. Only pure, spent antifreeze can be recycled; antifreeze with traces of gas or oil must be disposed of at a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Note, you can’t keep topping up at service stations, as you will get corrosion in some parts of your engine. The antifreeze will grow acidic over time and can cause a lot of damage to your car to your heater cores.
Once you visit your recycling centers, you can grab a new bottle from your local service station and check the owner’s manual to see how much fresh antifreeze you need to add to your car to keep running temperatures at the right levels.