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The Automotive Aftermarket industry was green long before “being green” was considered mainstream. Here are some industry’s widespread efforts on behalf of the automotive aftermarket that helps lower the environmental impact.

Automotive Impact on Crude Oil

The amount of energy used to find, drill, transport and refine crude oil is significant. Our vehicles use a variety of crude oil from gasoline to the motor oils that lubricate the engine. Gasoline, in and of itself, cannot be recycled. When it is used to power a motor vehicle it is burned off and turned into a gaseous waste. However, motor oil can be recycled. There are two basic types of engine motor oil available:

  1. Conventional mineral oil, the traditional engine oil and most widely used
  2. Synthetic motor oil, which is steadily gaining popularity among auto manufacturers and consumers. There are also synthetic blend motor oils, which are a blend of synthetic oils and conventional mineral oils.

Both types of engine oils are made from crude oil that comes from the ground. The difference is that synthetic oils undergo numerous additional highly-advanced distilling, refining, and purification processes — and therefore are of a higher purity and quality than conventional mineral oils. This not only removes more impurities from the original crude, it also enables the engineering of the lubricant’s individual molecules to be uniform and consistent, tailored to meet the specific high-performance demands of modern engines. These customized molecules provide higher levels of protection and performance, even in extreme conditions.

The performance of synthetic motor oil is more robust, especially in terms of low-temperature pumpability, high-temperature stability, and protection against deposits. These attributes translate directly into less engine wear and longer engine life and lowers the environmental impact of changing your engine oil less frequently.

Remanufactured products reduce consumption of raw materials

Nearly 58% of manufacturers of parts distributed, sell remanufactured products like Starters, Alternators, Rack & Pinion Steering components, Driveline components are more. The yearly raw materials saved by remanufactured worldwide would fill 155,000 railroad cars forming a train 1,110 miles long. In most cases these remanufactured products cost less and carry the same warranty as a new part. Ask your service center if a remanufactured products can be installed where appropriate to lower the environmental impact.

Recycling impact on the environment and our landfills.

We all recycle at home and at work. The service and repair industry is no different and has been recycling for many years by using environmental services for used oil, waste oil filters, spent antifreeze, waste solvents, and metal recycling services. Most worn products including heavy metals are recycled keeping out of landfills and reducing our environmental impact.

Automotive Service Recycling Facts:

Batteries – An estimated 63.3 million automotive batteries were recycled last year, equal to 1.4 billion pounds of lead. Lead Acid batteries are not very environmentally friendly. But we depend on them to start our vehicles and they even power the most modern hybrids. East Penn, the manufacturer of CARQUEST Batteries and the battery of choice for TECH-NET Professional Auto Service centers recycles virtually 100 percent of every used lead-acid battery returned. Batteries are collected, dismantled and separated. The lead is smelted and refined. Sulfur fumes released during the lead smelting process are captured and converted into a liquid fertilizer – which is sold to fertilizer manufacturers. The plastic cases and covers are cleaned, ground, extruded and molded into new plastic parts through an injection molded process. This closed loop system is automated; computer controlled, and designed to minimize environmental impact.

Tires – More than 300 million tires are scrapped and recycled annually, or about one tire per person in the United States. Tires can be recycled into, among other things, hot melt asphalt, and as an aggregate in portland cement concrete. Tires can also be recycled into other tires or even playground mulch. More recent developments in de-vulcanization, enable converting used tires into value-added compounds without degrading the polymer and without generating any pollution. This new generation in de-vulcanization technologies operates with very high productivity while maintaining a low energy footprint. The compounds produced from processed tire scrap can be blended with virgin rubber compounds, maintaining performance while substantially reducing the raw material cost. Your TECH-NET service center recycles used tires when replaced with new tires lowering the impact on the environment.

Click here to watch a video about tire recycling and the products used with this clean source of recycled rubber.

Lead-Free Precision Wheel Weights – Ever wonder what happened to the wheel weights on the outer rim of your wheels? Balancing your vehicle’s wheels is still important for a smoother ride, better gas mileage and more even tire wear. This has traditionally been achieved using clip-on style lead wheel weights. Today, OEM manufacturers and service centers are using lead-free wheel weights designed to have less impact on the environment. Lead-free wheel weights consist of a unique, flexible and conformable material and use attachment tap technology for dependable attachment to the inner wheel and unnoticed to the vehicle owner.

Oil Filters – 100 percent recycling of used oil filters would allow recovering 160,000 tons of steel enough to make 16 new stadiums the size of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium! Today waste oil filters are drained for used motor oil and many are crushed to remove up to 6 to 8 ounces of additional oil still left in the filter. Used filters are then picked up by environmental service companies to recycle the metal and other materials found in the oil filters.

Antifreeze – Dumping waste antifreeze is illegal and contains heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and chromium in high enough levels to make it a regulated hazardous waste. A hazardous waste may never be dumped in landfills or discharged into sanitary sewer, storm drains, ditches, dry well or septic systems. Recycled antifreeze is less expensive than virgin antifreeze and it saves resources like ethylene glycol which is produced from natural gas, a non-renewable resource. When you need your radiator coolant serviced, your service center can remove harmful contaminants from the engine antifreeze and keep your vehicle running clean using modern equipment that collects the contaminated coolant and replaces with clean fresh antifreeze coolant to keep your engine safe.

Scrap Metal – Metal is recycled by melting down scrap metal and reusing it in the production of new products like disc brake rotors. The most commonly recycled metals are iron, steel and aluminum. The energy saved from recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years. Recycling metal reduces pollution, saves resources, reduces waste going to landfills and prevents the destruction of habitats from mining new ore. Producing recycled steel can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. Service centers today recycle all kinds of scrap metals including brake rotors, brake shoes and other metal products replaced on your vehicle. Scrap metal is recycled or remanufactured to lower environmental impact.

Plastics – Producing new plastic products from recycled materials uses 66 percent less energy than is required to make products from raw materials. Vehicle Maintenance – A properly maintained vehicle is more fuel-efficient and cleaner running, having a direct positive impact on the environment.

Cardboard and Paper – Every bale of cardboard that is recycled saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil and enough energy to heat a home in the U.S. for six months.