How to Dispose of Old Coolant

If you are looking for how to dispose of old coolant, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. Coolants contain chemicals that could be dangerous to any living thing that comes in contact with it.

It would be best if you considered recycling the fluid to dispose of old antifreeze or coolant. Properly contain the coolants in plastic containers and take them to any center that deals with recycling hazardous auto fluids. Places like Autozone will be good.

how to dispose of old coolant

Is Old Coolant Harmful?

Old coolants harm the engine, as they could cause harmful acid to form. This acid circulates in the engine, resulting in contamination, corrosion, and more. A bad or old coolant does not have the same ability to reduce heat and cool down the engine as a new one.

Although anti-coolants do not have a particular date when they expire, people do not know that they could get worse after a long period of use. It is why you must change the coolant after a particular usage period.

When circulating through the engine, coolants could collect many other foreign substances like metal which could contaminate the coolant. If you use the coolant for too long, it will begin to acidify because of its contamination.

Once the coolant acidifies, it becomes even less effective, as its boiling point will drop significantly. If it falls too much, it can boil up in the radiator or coolant reservoir, causing much damage as coolant is flammable. At this point, your engine will be prone to overheating.

If you want to know if your coolant is going bad, you can physically check the coolant. It is a sign that it is getting worse if it has an inconsistent color. Also, if your engine has an overheating issue, it could result from a bad coolant. You will also get bad Antifreeze smells.

We recommend changing your coolant every 30,000 miles to avoid using a lousy coolant that could damage your engine.

How to Dispose of Old Coolant

To properly dispose of old coolant, allow it to cool to room temperature and then transfer it to a tightly sealed container labeled “used coolant” to prevent contamination. Contact your local recycling or hazardous waste facility to inquire about their specific disposal procedures, as they often accept used coolant for safe disposal or recycling.

Below is the details but easy-to-follow guide for disposing of antifreeze.

1. Find a facility that recycles or disposes of hazardous waste

The first step in disposing of coolant is finding a facility or where to dump coolant. It would help if you searched for a place that collects hazardous waste. I am sure every state has one or two. You can visit your state’s waste management website to get a list of these facilities.

If you take your coolant to a recycling facility, you need to ensure that there is no contamination from oil or gas. If there is, these recycling agencies will not collect the coolant because it is considered non-recyclable.

If you cannot find anywhere to dispose of the coolant, then another option is to take the coolant to a professional mechanic to help you dispose of it to minimize safety issues.

2. Drain the radiator

Once you have gotten a proper place to dispose of the coolant, the next step is to drain the radiator of coolants. Before doing this, you must ensure that you wear safety gear like a glove, mask, and google.

Ensure that you park your vehicle on a flat surface and that the battery is disconnected. Proceed to locate the drain valve located at the bottom of the radiator. Make sure that there is a drain pan to collect the coolant.

After draining, transfer the coolant from the drain pan to a more secure plastic container and seal it properly. Then, you are ready for the next step, where you will dispose radiator fluid.

3. Clean the leak

Locate every leak that might have dropped on the floor or any vehicle part and adequately clean it. You will need baking soda and a litter bag to clean the leaking coolant. Collect all the environmental leaks and transfer them to the litter bag. Soak with the baking soda before disposing of it.

4. Dispose of the coolant

Finally, you can transfer all the coolants in the plastic container to the place you found to dispose of the coolant.

There are3 ways to recycle antifreeze. You can send used coolant disposal to a recycler, hire a company to recycle the antifreeze, or purchase recycling equipment for your personal use.

coolant disposal you tube

Will Autozone Take Used Antifreeze?

If you are wondering whether Autozone recycles coolant, yes, Autozone does. They will collect your used antifreeze and other forms of auto hazard waste, like brake fluids, for recycling. This aftermarket auto parts company aims to make the environment free from this waste while also giving your vehicle the best care. 

Autozone focuses on providing the best aftermarket products for its customers. They have been functioning in the market for more than 43 years. Apart from delivering aftermarket products for auto use, they also deal with collecting used auto fluids for recycling.

You may be surprised, but your used motor fluid can be recycled, like coolants, motor oil, brake oil, and more. So instead of disposing of the liquid in the most unhealthy way possible, you can locate an AutoZone center around you, and they will recycle the fluid.

Autozone also collects other used car parts like batteries. They can easily recycle the fluids present in those batteries. Also, ensure the coolant is not contaminated with other motor fluids, like oil. This contamination causes the coolant to be unrecyclable.

Does Autozone recycle antifreeze? The simple answer is yes. You can visit the Autozone website to find a center close to you. You also get additional information about the services they deliver. 

Does Coolant Evaporate On The Ground?

Coolants can evaporate when exposed to air or sunlight for a while. However, coolants do not evaporate the same way that water would. The coolants contain chemicals that do not just disappear into the atmosphere.

Although it evaporates over time, the chemicals in the coolants remain wherever it spills on. The chemical gets stuck on the surface or can sink into the soil, causing danger to plants and other organisms.

Also, if it gets on an object, it may seem like it evaporates, but if you touch the object, the chemical can get on your hands and, if not careful, could cause severe damage if it gets into your mouth.

Does Coolant Dry Up On Concrete?

Coolant, if spilled on concrete and left for a while, will dry and leave stains and chemicals in the coolant. If you have coolant spills on your concrete floor, you must clean it properly. If it is already dried up, you can still get it cleaned.

It is not proper to leave a coolant spill on your concrete floor. Once noticed, you should get it cleaned immediately. It could dry on the concrete, and you must hydrate it with a bit of water. Then proceed to clean using a detergent and tissue paper. After this, ensure you dispose of it properly where animals cannot get to it.

How Long Does Antifreeze Stay In The Ground?

When antifreeze gets to the ground, it will dry quickly within a few minutes, but it does not stop there; the chemicals remain on the ground.

Ethylene glycol is a primary chemical used in making antifreeze. It takes about 10 days for the chemical to break down properly. If the chemical combines soil and water, it could take even more time to break down.

coolant leaks on ground

It will take about a few days, running into weeks, for your antifreeze to break down properly when spilled on the ground. Who knows what havoc it could cause to plants and animals within that time? It is why you need to dispose of them properly, and if spilled, clean them and properly dispose of whatever you use in the cleaning process.


Antifreeze is an essential component that your vehicle needs to function correctly. Its cooling properties provide better working conditions for the engine. However, antifreeze contains harmful substances that could harm plants, animals, and ourselves.

It would help if you disposed of the coolant properly by following the steps regarding how to dispose of old coolant in this article.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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