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Auto Maintenance
Cars Contribute to Bay Pollution
  • Particles of exhaust drift onto roadways and into the Bay.
  • Leaks and drips wash off of streets and highways into storm drains and into creeks and the Bay
  • Parts of cars that are designed to wear off with use (such as tires and brake pads) leave toxic residue on the roadway that becomes storm water pollution

Leaks and Spills
  • Fix all leaks as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow vehicles to drip fluids onto street, or into the gutter or storm drain.
  • Use plastic tarps and drip pans when your car is leaking, and when you are working on it
    • Empty drip pan regularly, and protect it when it rains.
    • Use an absorbent such as sawdust or kitty litter for spills. Sweep it up, place in a plastic garbage bag, and put it in the garbage. Do not allow absorbent to be washed down into the street, gutter or storm drain.
     
    Changing the Oil
    • Work in an area that is easy to clean up, with a concrete floor if possible.
    • Always use a drain pan when draining oil. Use a funnel to pour used oil into City-issued oil jugs.
    • Be careful not to mix used motor oil with any other fluids, such as antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.
    • To recycle used motor oil and oil filters at curbside, you must use free City-issued oil jugs and filter bags because they are designed to prevent leaks. Place filled oil jugs and bags on the curb near your recycling cart for collection. To order the free oil jugs and filter bags, call (408) 535-3500.

    Engine Degreasing
    • Engine degreaser is a hazardous material that cannot be discharged where it may flow to a street, gutter or storm drain.
    • Approval must be obtained from the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility to discharge rinse water from engine degreasing into the sanitary sewer. Call Source Control at (408) 945-3000 for more information.
    • Degrease engines only in facilities where wash water is appropriately treated and discharged to the sanitary sewer.

    Washing Your Car

    Current water savings restrictions prohibit car washing with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle. See Green Your Car Wash for tips on car wash fundraisers.