What Happens to Used Oil?

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What Happens to Used Oil?

Oil is Everything

An engine is a complicated thing. So many parts, all moving, all working together to keep you in motion. Oil is imperative to keeping everything flowing harmoniously. As oil flows through the engine it continuously draws heat away and lubricates thousands of components that all work together to keep your car rolling down the road without issue. While it is lubricating, it is also cleaning; picking up dirt and debris as it goes.

Eventually, the oil becomes dirty from picking up the particles throughout the engine, making it abrasive and less effective. Dirty, used oil doesn’t lubricate well, and if left long enough, can lead to overheating, contamination of internal components, and in extreme cases even seizure of the engine.

To provide adequate protection we recommend an annual oil change or every 10,000 km for naturally aspirated cars and 6,000 km for diesel and other turbo-charged petrol engine cars.  Turbo-charged engine components create higher temperatures and therefore generate more wear.  When there is more heat, there is increase wear.

Then What Happens?

Once you have decided to get an oil change at the proper maintenance interval, and the oil has been removed from your car and replaced with fresh, what happens to it?

At Motor Werke, our used oil is stored on site until it is picked up by a company who is specialized in recycling and repurposing liquids.

There are many reasons not to dispose of oil, one being that it can be cleaned and made into new product. It can be turned into re-refined oil and used as a lubricant again, made into hydraulic oil, used in industrial burners, and used as an additive in manufactured products.

Oil Recycling

First, it is determined what oil can be re-refined. Re-refined oil will be turned once again into a lubricant of sorts. If it is in good enough shape to re-refine, it goes on to be dehydrated by removing all traces of water in the oil.
Once the water has been removed, the oil will then be filtered and demineralized. This removes any solids and additives that may be present in the oil. “Light” fuel is removed from the oil after this stage.

Vacuum distillation then removes the fraction of the fluid that is suitable for reuse as lubrication and it goes through a process called catalytic hydrogenation. This removes polymers and other chemical compounds remaining. At this point, the oil is separated into 3 grades and viscosities for different applications.

Finally, the appropriate detergents and anti-friction additives are added to produce a finished product.

Green for Life

Recycling and re-refining oil is greatly beneficial both environmentally and economically. Oil is a non-renewable resource, and so, every time it is re-refined we are protecting that resource. The process of re-refining is also less harsh than the refining of crude oil and uses less energy. Oil that is being re-refined is also oil that is not being dumped down a drain or spilled into our waters, lakes and rivers.  Improper disposal can wreak havoc on ecosystems and cause devastating contamination of soil and water.

At Motor Werke, we collect all oil into our catch cans to ensure it’s processed and recycled. For more information on our environmental responsibilities, please visit us here.