How to Properly Dispose of Old Radiator Fluid

What You'll Need
Appropriate Safe Container
Plastic Tubing
Screwdriver or Socket Wrench

Disposing of old radiator fluid should be done carefully and thoughtfully. Follow any government rules, guidelines or suggestions when disposing of used coolants from your engine. These chemicals are highly toxic and harmful to the environment so exercise caution.

Step 1 – Draining the Fluid

When it comes time to change the fluid in your car radiator you will need to unscrew the sealing screw underneath the engine coolant tank. This is normally located at the front center under the radiator. You will need to jack up the car and have a funnel handy to hold under the hole. You can use a large bowl or bucket, but you will have to dispose of it along with the fluid. A large safe bottle, like plastic, will be the best solution.

When the screw has been loosened, attached the tubing firmly to the funnel nozzle and hold the funnel against the drain hole.

Step 2 – The Fluid

Direct the fluid into the bottle and drain the entire system. When the fluid has been expelled completely, remove the tubing from the bottle and seal it with the screw cap lid. The funnel should be sterilized thoroughly or kept in a safe place in your garage for future use. The tubing should be flushed with a strong detergent and placed safely away also.

Step 3 – Safety Precautions

Coolant fluids contain numerous chemicals such as ethylene and propylene glycols. Benzene and lead are just two of the contaminants to be found in used antifreezes and coolant fluids. These can affect the environment and cause health problems. Rust inhibitors and corrosion preventing chemicals are also ingredients in coolants. Never pour antifreeze or coolant products down a drain or sewage system. Do not flush it in your toilet either. It will end up in the same place as if you had used a street drain and cause the same damage. Large amounts of glycol are disruptive to the treatment of sewage and water and if spilled into public waterways or the sea, can kill aquatic wildlife.

Step 4 – Safe Disposal

It is highly recommended that you dispose of your used coolants and anti-freezes by lawful methods, like antifreeze recycling stations. Not every state has them, so contact your local government office to find out the best place to locate a recycling facility or suitable disposal source. Always label the bottle clearly with the words ‘Used Antifreeze’ or ‘Used Coolant’ and mark it ‘Dangerous’ to ensure that it is not misused. Your local mechanics garage might also know where you can safely dispose or recycle your old coolant fluids. They will produce quite a few gallons of waste product during the course of a week or month, so ask if they will either undertake correct disposal for you or point you in the right direction of where you can take it.