Enjoying and appreciating your vehicle encompasses more than just driving it. It also includes maintenance, personalization and taking responsibility for your car’s impact on the environment. Now, with the passing of our longtime auto-guru Pat Goss, we’ve expanded our ranks to include three new faces in our garage— each with a unique perspective on car care in a new segment we call “Your Drive.” First up is Logan McCombs on how to properly handle your car’s vital fluids.
LOGAN McCOMBS: Maintaining your car or truck means working with a number of different fluids and chemicals, and to do that safely there are a few things you need to know. First off, whenever you’re in the garage working on your car, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. These disposable ones are cheap and easy to use. Not only will they keep your hands clean, but they can prevent injury and chemical burns as well.
Keep all aerosol cans, fluid bottles and dispenser tubes in a secure cabinet or shelf out of reach of children and pets. Some may require a cool or ventilated area. Read the label of any chemical you are unfamiliar with. Some epoxies, paints, solvents and fuels may emit harmful odors that require the use of a respirator.
You may not realize it, but brake fluid begins absorbing water from the air as soon as the container is unsealed. And even if the bottle is closed, it should be discarded after a year. Those big bottles look like a bargain, but unless you’re doing frequent brake repairs and system bleeds, keeping a small bottle on hand for top offs is usually enough. Most any fluids or chemicals used for your car can be harmful for you and the environment if not stored and disposed of properly.
When it comes to trans fluid, power steering fluid, oils and antifreeze, they can all be processed and recycled into new fluids. So, check with your local city or county recycling program for specifics on how and where to drop them off. In general, fluids must be kept separate and not mixed, and they must be stored in proper containers. For used oil, this might be the bottle your new oil came in or an oil drain pan that your oil drains into and it has a sealable jug.
Fuel and other flammable liquids are considered hazardous and must be handled differently, but many of them can be recycled into alternative fuels. Milk bottles and other lightweight plastics or cardboard containers are generally not suitable for flammables.
Be safe when handling automotive fluids and chemicals, read and heed the labels, and please, put waste in its proper place!
And if you have a question or comment, reach out to us, right here at MotorWeek!