Motor oil is commonly considered a waste material, but it may become something of value to people trying to put their lives back together in a post-crisis world. People will try to scavenge whatever may be of use, and it’s understandable since it will take some time for mechanization to re-emerge with new products.
You’ll also have to deal with what you have, so learn to speak multipurpose, and don’t skip motor oil from this equation. So here’s how to reuse motor oil regardless of whether there is a major crisis to deal with or not.
Where to Find Used Motor Oil
Right now, used motor oil is more of a nuisance than something else you might consider valuable in the post crisis world.
For the most part, mechanic shops and recycling facilities will be the first places to go for used motor oil, but you should also consider:
- Abandoned cars – any car that has been abandoned may still have motor oil in the bottom pan. While you are scavenging, don’t forget to look for other things that may be of value such as wire, springs, and anything else that can be reused.
- Abandoned home garages – even though many people take their car to a shop for basic maintenance, just about everyone has a quart or two of used motor oil hanging around in the garage.
- Junk yards – no matter whether the junk yard caters to cars or other kinds of abandoned equipment, you are likely to find motor oil in many different places. As with any other abandoned car, you are sure to find any number of useful items once you start looking around.
- Trash piles, back yards, or rubbish storage sites – aside from looking for used motor oil stored in containers, be on the lookout for oil filters that appear to be intact. If the filter does not have a hole punched through the top of the dome, there is a good chance that some motor oil can be found inside the filter. To release, the oil, simply punch a hole in the top of the filter, and let the oil escape from the bottom into a clean container.
Read This BEFORE Reusing Motor Oil
While used motor oil is a common part of daily life, that does not mean it can be handled without precautions, and here are a few of them.
- At a minimum, wear latex or rubber gloves. Aside from tiny bits of metal, reused motor oil also contains all kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea, or other ailments if they get absorbed by your skin. It is best to use oil resistant gloves, or ones that are rated for use with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
- Oil resistant garments – any kind of spill can allow oil to get through your clothing and into contact with your skin. It does not matter if this contact occurs on your face, neck, hands, or other body parts. The toxins from the oil can still get past your skin and wreak havoc.
- Oil resistant shoes or boots – make sure that the soles are also oil resistant.
- If you don’t handle motor oil very often, it may not make much sense to wear a mask. On the other hand, if you are going to repurpose motor oil, then the amount of exposure might be enough to irritate or harm your lungs. Therefore, get a breathing mask or respirator that will filter out any harmful agents that might be found in the motor oil.
17 Uses to Keep in Mind
And finally, here’s how to use the motor oil instead of throwing it away.
1. Mix with Creosote to Weatherize Wood
Even though many people have used plain motor oil to preserve wood over the years, it is best to mix it with some creosote in order to avoid dry rot. You will also find that used motor oil can make a very slick surface.
While this may be ok for fence posts, it can pose problems for floors or other areas where you need some traction.
Video first seen on Anlex Garden Centre.
2. Protect Wood From Insects and Animals
When people think about protecting wood from the elements, they are usually most concerned with water and dampness. Insects and animals can also wreak havoc on wood and cause it to be destroyed very quickly.
In particular, if you have a homestead or farm with horses or other large animals, they might want to chew on wooden posts or other objects. Motor oil mixed into creosote will create a taste these animals do not like; and thus deter them from chewing on the wood.
3. Mix With Diesel to Make Penetrating Oil
If you are plagued by corroded or stuck bolts, screws, or other fasteners, then you may be well accustomed to using penetrating oil to try and loosen them up. While you may already have a few cans of good quality oil in your stockpile, the need for penetrating oil will never end as long as there are metal fasteners to contend with.
If you have some diesel and used motor oil, you can mix them together to make penetrating oil. Give this a try now to see how it works when compared to other formulas. Knowing when and how to use this replacement can help reduce the need to draw from your stockpile as well as enable you to innovate during an actual crisis.
4. Burn as Fuel
When you have nothing else for fuel, used motor oil can be burned to provide heat.
But used motor oil has many contaminants in it that can be toxic when burned and then released in the air. You will be better served by burning used motor oil outdoors.
Aside from reducing the smell of burning fumes in your home, tent, or other enclosure, you will also avoid deposits of toxins on the walls and ceilings.
5. Make a Torch
As plentiful as flashlights and batteries might be right now, that can all change faster than you realize. If you find yourself in a situation where you only have motor oil, some rags, and a wooden stick on hand, you can still make a torch that will produce light and heat.
Just remember to use the torch in a well ventilated area so that the fumes from it do not make you sick.
Video first seen on Jennies Garage.
6. Prevent Attackers from Scaling a Wall
There is no question that many people wind up thinking about high tech or “modern” solutions when it comes to protecting their home from invaders. On the other hand, sometimes the simplest and cheapest answers may be found in items such as used motor oil.
For example, if you want to keep attackers from scaling a fence, or even climbing up to the roof of your home, just pour used motor oil on the walls.
If you are fortunate enough to have stone walls far enough away from your home, you can also set the oil on fire and make the invaders even more uncomfortable.
7. Fireballs for a Siege Engine
It is fair to say if you have a few acres of land, eventually you will become a target for roaming gangs of thugs and others that will want to take what you have. When it comes to military grade fortifications or weapons to strike attackers, you may find it difficult or impossible to get useful systems for your property.
Siege engines, on the other hand, have been used successfully for centuries as attack and perimeter defense devices. You can do some research on siege engines construction plans and make your own with relatively few problems.
If you need to stave off attackers, you can simply lob fireballs fueled by used motor oil at the attackers and have a reasonable chance of stopping them in their tracks.
8. Kill Mange, Mites, and Fleas
If you have pets, then you have probably also encountered flea infestations. Chances are, you have also felt quite helpless when your pets developed allergies to modern flea medications, or worse yet, got very sick from them. Surprisingly enough, motor oil can be used to get rid of fleas, mites, and mange.
Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly and use with caution. Motor oil can be used both in a crisis and in these times if you have no other remedy available for these problems.
9. Keep Hand Tools Clean and Rust Free
Hand saws, drills, and many other hand tools require cleaning and oiling in order to keep them in the best possible condition. No matter how much lubricating oil you keep on hand, chances are your stock pile will run out long before your hand tools need to be discarded.
You can always try used motor oil to keep your tools free of dirt and rust.
10. Filter and Reuse as a Lubricant
Once motor oil is too dirty for use in an auto engine, there is no point to trying to filter it and reuse it for that purpose. There are still many other devices that build up less heat or have less stringent tolerances between parts that may still benefit from used motor oil as a lubricant.
Just be sure to filter out the oil so that you remove as much debris as possible.
When using discarded motor oil as a lubricant, it is also important to bear in mind that the oil itself may have broken down a good bit from heat generated by the engine.
Even if you filter the oil, it will not alleviate this problem.
You may need to change the oil more often, or pay more attention to device operation in order to avoid the kinds of damage that would normally be avoided by using oil as a lubricant.
11. Mix With Gas to Run Tractors
Unlike motor vehicles, older style tractors can run on a surprising number of different fuels without being damaged. In this case, you can stretch fuel reserves for your tractor by adding some motor oil. You may be well served by filtering out the oil so that stray bits of metal or other contaminants do not damage the tractor engine.
Since every tractor is a bit different, you should start off with small amounts of oil and then see how the engine performs. The last thing you will want to do is add too much oil and wind up with a seized engine.
12. Start a Fire
Rainy weather, damp wood, and other conditions require something a bit more than a match to ignite. A little bit of used motor oil can help you start and maintain a fire in just about any situation.
Video first seen on sixtyfiveford.
13. Kill Mosquitoes in Stagnant Water
The vast majority of preppers already suspect that insects such as mosquitoes will multiply beyond belief when a social collapse occurs. While these insects do play a role in nature, they still spread enormous amounts of disease and wreak havoc among humans.
You can use discarded motor oil to seal off stagnant water and kill off mosquito eggs before they have a chance to hatch. When using motor oil for this purpose, remember that even small amounts can contaminate large amounts of water and the ground that the water seeps into.
If you must use motor oil on stagnant water, make sure that the water is fully contained and cannot get into the ground or some other source of water.
Do not be surprised if you find that it is easier to simply dump out or drain stagnant pools of water as opposed to trying to treat them with used motor oil.
14. Use With Steel Wool to Remove Rust
If you are scavenging for all kinds of metal items, you’re also very likely to find that possible replacements for needed items have a good bit of rust on them.
Rather than discard these items on sight, you can use motor oil and steel wool to clean the items up a bit. Needless to say, if you have items in your stockpile with rust on them, you can also use this method to remove the rust and restore them to good order.
15. Soften or Clean Leather Boots
Unless you have a stockpile full of shoes and boots made from synthetic materials, it is likely that you will need to use leather conditioners to keep footwear in good condition. You will also wind up making shoes from leather that must also be kept clean and soft.
Using discarded motor oil for this purpose will work well enough now as well as in a crisis situation.
16. Temper Steel
It is fair to say that the art and science of forging metals into knives and other useful items can be very complex. If you study metallurgy carefully, however you will find that the tools and materials required are not especially difficult to build and maintain.
In this case, if you want to temper or harden steel, you can dip the item in used motor oil to cool or “quench” it from the red hot stage down to black.
17. Attract Wild Hogs
Individuals that believe they can live off the land after a social collapse occurs are apt to find they need to expand their list of edible plants and animals. In this case, you can draw wild hogs to you by leaving some used motor oil around. As may be expected, you should be well prepared to kill the hogs and remain safe while you are attempting to take them for food.
Used motor oil is one of those materials that you may believe is useless now, and probably serves no purpose in a crisis situation. If you look at the basic properties of used motor oil, you will soon realize that it can be effectively used for heat, home defense, and even keeping tools in good condition.
Rather than throw away this valuable resource, go ahead and store some away for future use, or make a list of places where you can obtain used motor oil in time of need. And keep these tips in mind, they might save you one day!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.