Automotive Care

Automobile fluids from leaks or maintenance are a source of water pollution. Oil stains on your driveway and outdoor spills of antifreeze, brake fluid, and other automotive fluids are easily carried into a stormdrain by rain or irrigation water that flows into our waterways. Proper automobile care can reduce pollution:


  • Have your car serviced regularly to prevent leaks and help identify potential leaks.
  • Store oily car parts and fluid containers where rain and runoff cannot reach them.
  • Never dump used oil, antifreeze, or gasoline down a storm drain, in a ditch, or on the ground.
  • Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease, and antifreeze with kitty litter or other absorbent material. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local waterways.


Recycling locations for antifreeze, auto batteries, tire

Car Wash: How to Properly Wash For No Pollution
Used Motor Oil Recycling Centers
Be Tire Smart
How to Green Your Car
Alternative Transportation Options



Properly Dispose of Residential Automotive Waste

Click below for drop-off locations in San Mateo County


oil drop off
antifreeze drop off
car battery drop off
tire drop off




Washing Vehicles



Keep Car Wash Pollution out of the Storm Drain
car wash

Washing your car in the driveway creates runoff and the dirty, soapy runoff drains directly into storm drains, picking up oil and other pollutants as it goes.

If possible, wash vehicles where the wash water can soak into grass, gravel or be diverted to nearby landscaping, away from the street and storm drains. Use soaps, cleaners and detergents that are labeled phosphate free or biodegradable. Just remember, any soap, even biodegradable, is not allowed to go into the storm drain.

Taking your car to a commercial car wash or spray booth is the best option as all of the dirty water is sent to a wastewater treatment plant. Learn more and find out how you can get a coupon for a discount on a car wash!



Be Tire Smart


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in four passenger cars and nearly one in three light trucks have at least one significantly under inflated tire. Incorrect tire inflation increases fuel consumption increasing harmful greenhouse gas emissions into our environment. Improper tire maintenance also shortens the life of your tires. Replacing your tires more often means that more tires go to landfills or recycling and more energy is then used to produce new tires or to recycle them.



How to measure tire pressure

    1. Find the recommended inflation pressure for your tires on the vehicle placard. Check the vehicle manual for its exact location.
    2. The best time to check your tire pressure is when they are "cold" and your vehicle has NOT been driven for at least 3 hours.
    3. Complete tire inflation pressure check: Remove cap from valve on one tire, press tire gauge onto valve and take pressure reading.
    4. Add air to achieve recommended air pressure. If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the center of the valve, then re-check the pressure.
    5. Replace the valve cap and repeat with each tire, including the spare.

      CalRecycle, Tire Maintenance
      Be Tire Smart, Natural Resources Canada



How to Green Your Car Link


Treehuggers: How to Green your Car



Alternative Transportation Options - Caltrain, Bart, Bus or Bicycling

How much do you spend on your commute? How much does your commute affect the environment? It may be more than you think: Commute Cost and Emissions Calculator

Experiment with reducing the use of your car or living car-free:


  • Set concrete goals for reducing your travel by car, combine trips to the store and other errands.
  • If you move, choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
  • Whenever practical walk, bicycle, and take public transportation (Caltrain, BART, SamTrans) instead of driving.



Caltrain and BART

Taking Caltrain or BART is a relaxing and convenient way to commute, whether you are heading off to work, to a ball game, or running errands. By taking the train you can practice pollution prevention. The use of cars and light trucks is a major cause of greenhouse gases and air pollution; and causes water pollution through the manufacture of cars, oil and gasoline production, and runoff from highways. Rail transit emits 75% less nitrogen oxide (a greenhouse gas) than an automobile with one occupant and no hydrocarbons or carbon monoxide. The fuel efficiency of a fully occupied rail car is 15 times greater than that of the typical commuter's automobile.

With a little planning and commitment, you can help to reduce your individual impact on the environment. 
Trip Planner



Take the Bus: SamTrans

Taking the bus is another great way to reduce pollution - by taking the bus you join a giant carpool. To reduce its carbon footprint, SamTrans rebuilt the engines on all of its older buses, increasing fuel economy by 40 percent and reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 25 percent. These steps resulted in an 87 percent reduction in particulate matter since 2002. The district is also in the process of acquiring new buses that will reduce the overall emissions of nitrous oxide nearly 95 percent from 2002 levels.


  • You can calculate how much money you will save by taking SamTrans instead of driving your car on their website via the Commute Calculator.
  • The time you spend on the bus can be used to read, work, relax, or just think about things. It's your uninterrupted time to do things you can't do when driving or sitting in heavy traffic.
  • For bus schedules, fares, and information about taking your bike on SamTrans, use the SamTrans website:




Bicycling is a great form of recreation, and an excellent form of alternative transportation. Bicycle commuting reduces pollution and traffic congestion, provides regular exercise and saves money. Many bicyclists claim regular bicycling makes them feel better and more productive, and in some cases cause them to undergo personal transformations! You can use your bike for in-town errands, too - most trips the average person makes by car are less than two miles. In addition, San Mateo County has hundreds of miles of scenic roads and trails for bikers.


Give it a try! Personal comfort, safety and security for your bike are all considerations. The web sites listed below offer more detail on proper routes, safety, urban riding techniques, bicycles and bike gear as well as bicycling advocacy.
Bike To Work Day
Bay Area Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition


To make biking in San Mateo County easier and more enjoyable, check out the following map tools for bike routes in the County. Bicycle Routes: Bikely and Map My Ride

Downloadable maps are available on



Bicycle Sunday

Sundays 9:00am-3:00pm On Sundays, Cañada Road is closed between the Filoli entrance and Highway 92 allowing for non-motorized activities including jogging, bicycling, hiking, roller-skating, and walking (Strollers are welcome, but no ball/frisbee activity allowed). Cañada Road between Edgewood Road to the Filoli entrance will remain open to vehicles. Click for more information from San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department.


bicycle Sundays