Green oil change

I came across an advertisement from a local garage in Dallas, TX where I live. They are introducing the “green oil change”. Their claim is that the oil recycling loop can be closed through re-refining motor oil. I really like this idea but I have reservations about putting recycled motor oil into my 2008 Honda Accord. Is there any indication that this re-refined oil is any worse than regular refined oil? I’m all about going green but I don’t want to do so at the expense of damaging an expensive piece of machinery. What do you know about these green oil changes?

The industry claims that reprocessed oil is as good as new oil. I’ve not seen any analytical data.

In my engines I’m sticking with new oil.

If these people can show you that their recycled oil meets the API standard called for in your owner’s manual, it shouldn’t be a problem. If they can’t, don’t use it.

Also, can you explain what the environmental problem with properly using and disposing of motor oil is? Other than a few shops here and there that might have a waste oil furnace, pretty much all used motor oil gets recycled, either to make the recycled motor oil product these folks are trying to sell you (which is usually used in motorpools) or to make other petroleum products.

If you have some sort of problem with the use of fossil fuel oils (ignoring the obvious fact that you use something like 100 times as much petroleum-based gasoline), you can use synthetic oil which does not come from these.

If you saw raw crude oil before the refining process, and compared it to used motor oil, you would probably choose recycled oil. The state of the oil in its pre-refined state should not be your concern. The state of the oil after it is refined is not determined by its pre-refined state.

Have You Ever Seen What “new” Oil Looks Like When It Comes Out Of The Ground?

On a more serious note . . . I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon, but when I was younger than I am now, used motor oil was recycled locally. It was sprayed by truck onto gravel roads near my house.

The oil would keep dust under control, instead of using brine as they do now. Also, I liked to drive through it when it was fresh and let it rust-proof the under-side of my car. It got a little slippey when wet and acted as a speed deterrent.

I wish we would do that again instead of spraying brine. However, I fell in the fresh oil once while riding my bike because it was slippery.

Here’s something to think about. Isn’t practically all oil recycled? Oil change facilities and Auto Parts store collect it and it goes someplace. Repair shops near me heat their shops with their used motor oil. Their forced-air furnaces are set up to burn it.

As for me, I’m sticking (no pun) with new Mobil-1.


If the oil isn’t labeled as “recycled,” how do you know the oil you are buying is new? Refineries have been recycling oil for a long time. The oil you are buying probably has recycled content.

Also, one other thing. Typically people who use recycled motor oil do so because it’s cheaper than new oil. If these guys are trying to charge a premium for their “green” oil, they’re shiesters.

If the oil isn’t labeled as “recycled,” how do you know the oil you are buying is new?

Because it’s against the law. If oil is recycled then it’s supposed to be labeled as such. There was a big controversy back in the 70’s with Wolfheads oil. They sold recycled oil and were NOT labeling it as such.

So, you’d rather the road department stick with oiling roads…you slippery devil you…

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

My town and many others around here have a “Green” Solution. We drop off our used oil to the town and they use it to heat DPW buildings.

wast oil is a commodity worth money. It can be used in boilers, furnaces, boats, used in making asphalt, etc. Having said that I will buy only virgin oil to fill the crankcase of my automobiles.


I wonder of anyone has explored the viability of burning used motor oil to produce electricity? Wouldn’t it be cool if the oil from ICEs was used to produce fuel (electricity) for EVs?

I remember articles about re-refined oil in the 60s, the conclusion was that the long-chain molecules in oil that lubricate so well cou;d not be repaired by re-refining so just use this stuff in clunkers.

I still believe that. Oil molecules suffer shear damage in use, and I don’t believe that the molecules can be reconstructed in re-refining.

The effect of this in application, however, is something I’ve never seen a research paper on. It may make no difference, I really don’t know. But until I’m convinced by data I personally will stick with new oil.

Thanks for all the comments. I honestly don’t know much about the topic. However, as a scientist myself, I need some data (vs. someone’s marketing plan) to show me that this won’t be harmful to my vehicle. Also, I wonder what the environmental impact is of the re-refining process. That is, is it equal to processing virgin oil?

My conclusion: I’ll stick with what I’ve been doing. My Honda has an oil life indicator, which gives me about 9K between oil changes.

Re-refined oil has been around for years. Back in the 1950’s, I heard that the air force used re-refined oil is some of their planes. In the early 1960’s, I had a 1947 Pontiac that used oil at the rate of 1 quart every 200 miles. I found a place that sold re-refined oil if I brought my own container at 10 cents a quart. I’m not certain what the “re-refining” process was–it may have been oil that was drained out of another customer’s car and the place let the dirt settle out. However, it worked o.k. in the old Pontiac. The car had a flat head 6 cylinder engine, so it didn’t have hydraulic lifters and wasn’t even equipped with an oil filter.

I certainly wouldn’t use this oil in today’s engines with the tighter clearances, etc. When I was on a tight budget with a car that cost me $75, I was willing to take the risk.