Dumb mistake


This is going to sound very stupid and clumsy of me…

While trying to secure my battery, I drop a 13mm socket into the engine bay around the battery area. After bunch of metal noise, it got stuck somewhere in there since it didnt fall thru to the ground. I have tried looking in every crack I can but I see no signs of it. I tried rolling the car back and forth/rocking the car, but no signs or noise at all. My mechanics told me “not to worry about it since all the moving parts are in the front of the engine”.

Other than jacking up the car and look from bottom, any suggestions on where I should look or do? Thanks.


Leave it! As long as it didn’t drop into the engine or air intake, you should be fine. I have lost tons of tools in the valley of my V8 engine, and if I could collect them all, I might have enough to create a new tool set.


Replace that 13mm socket. Consider it gone forever,
and welcome to the club.


I agree that it will do no harm; have lost tools similarly. One thing that you can do is to drop another socket in the same place where you were working to see where it go. Watch carefully with another person watching at a different angle, with a good light.


[b]All of us have dropped tools down in the engine bay at one time or another. So, you’re not the first.

You might try jacking up the front of the vehicle and see if the socket is laying on top of one the plastic shrouds under the vehicle. If not, then what you might try is using a telescopic magnet and fish it down in the area where you think the socket went. Sometimes you come up with a catch.



This is why I find so many screwdrivers and sockets when I go bike riding.


Welcome to the club.

Dropped a couple sockets before. One I found years later when I had to replace the engine mount. It was stuck between the engine mount and the engine.

The WORSE thing I dropped was a small washer. Unfortunetly I NEEDED this washer. Finially found it two hours later. It fell right on top of a hole so the inside of the washer was right over the hole so you couldn’t see it. What a royal pain.


If it fell into a body part or frame cavity, you’ll probably never find it because it’s now residing INSIDE of said part. Replace, move on, and you’ll laugh about it later.


I would and have bought a new one. In fact I believe there is a rule that requires that you buy a new one right before the old one drops out on the floor of the garage.


after you secure the battery…

go to the nearest set of speed bumps, and drive over them…not too fast (or you’ll do damage to the car) go at early hours before the parking lot fills up, when no one is around.

take a couple of trips over them with braking during and after the bumps.

and then look for the socket on the pavement.

or better yet have someone else sitting on the pavement watching/listening for you to go by.

if it dont come out over speed bumps, its gone. or it will never come out of its hiding place.

buy another one.

(sears loves this!)


This explains why I can never find the size I need in my toolbox. It has already become one with the vehicle during some other repair…:slight_smile:


Will follow your suggestions. I feel so much better now. Thanks for all your help.


Show me any experienced mechanic, and I’ll show you someone who has made numerous mistakes.

One of my costliest was in my own 1964 Dodge van. (170 CI slant 6). When I pulled out the distributor, the plastic gear on the end was brittle and broke into small pieces. I thought nothing of it. Got a new plastic gear, reinstalled it and it worked fine. Six months later, the engine oil light came on and the van spun a connecting rod bearing. When I took apart the engine to rebuild it, I found a piece of the distributor gear wedged in the oil pump’s pressure relief valve. Egg on my face!