Found Tool in Engine Compartment

I?ve been driving my car for about a month without an issue after my last inspection / oil change. Then one day it started to make a noise when I pressed the break. After looking around I found a screwdriver loose in the engine compartment. I pulled the tool out and the noise stopped. I could only guess this was left in there from my last inspection / oil change.

Should I take my car, and screwdriver, back to that garage and demand they make sure nothing was damaged while this was in there? Or should I simply keep the screwdriver and give another garage an opportunity to look over the car? I?m open to any other suggestions?

Could have been worse – forceps left in patients after surgery. Since you went a month without problems, I’d just add the screwdriver to the tool collection.

I don’t know that you need to go in all “demanding” things. The last time somebody left a tool under my hood I just brought it back and dropped it off.

If you want to have someone give things a once over, then just go back to the shop, politely (i.e. without “demanding” anything) explain what happened, tell them you’re worried and would appreciate if someone could just double check that no damage was done. I’m quite sure that someone will be happy to look it all over as a courtesy.


I think everyone who’s worked on cars has left a tool or three under the hood from time to time. My car club STILL gives me crap about the pair of pliers we found hanging from a ground wire on my Honda at a meet 7 or 8 years ago. The likelihood that the screwdriver did any damage is almost 0. I wouldn’t even bother asking them to inspect for damage.

My dad bought a new car and after a few weeks went to the dealer because of a bad smell. They found some guys lunch in the door!

I’ve had this happen to me.

I took the tool back to the mechanic.

He was glad to see his tool again, and appreciated me returning it to him.

He said, “Most people don’t do that.”

Give the tool back to the mechanic. He or she will appreciate it.

And don’t worry about your car. No damage has been done.

This is an opportunity for you to establish a more positive relationship with your mechanic, which is always good.

Embrace the possibility!

You dont need to demand anything but you can ask them to give it a once-over look. Take the screwdriver back, its not yours and you know where it belongs. Anybody including yourself makes mistakes.

Every mechanic loses a tool now and then, either by forgetting about it or dropping it into the dark unknown where it may remain lost forever. Or not.
The odds of a problem because of this are extremely slim, if not non-existent.

The decent thing to do would be to drop by sometime and return the screwdriver to the mechanic. This could possibly lead to a break in the future on some repair.

“Every mechanic loses a tool now and then”

LOL, now that I’m thinking about it, the last “mechanic” to leave a tool under the hood of my car was actually me. I’ve done it more than once, along with other things…[peering down between the frame and radiator] “oh, that’s where that oil bottle cap went when I dropped it…”

The only tool I never returned to a service person was a pair of needle nose pliers left by a utility tech who’d been at the house. I wasn’t there at the time and, of course, in order to get a utility tech these days you have to call somebody in India who feeds a service order into a global data base of independent subcontractors. I figured by the time everybody went through the trouble of locating the actual person who had left the tool we all would have lost more time than the tool was worth.

I would. If it was moving around enough to make a noise, there’s no telling what all it might have collided with during the time it was there.

If they inspect for damage you might upgrade from a screwdriver to a flashlight! You won’t find Vise-Grips unless they do electrical work or change the oil.

Why would you ever let them touch your car again?

It’s a screwdriver, not a bomb.

What would it have collided with that 1) would have caused damage and 2) displayed no symptoms of that damage?

I left a brand new socket set (case and all) in a customers car…When she came back a week later for gas (this was when WE pumped the gas and checked the oil)…The socket set was still there…it had wedged itself nice and secure under the air filter housing…

If everything appears to be running right I’d just give the underhood area a good look-see and throw the screwdriver in the glovebox. You might get lucky…there might be a power drill under there!

I wouldn;t let it concern me too much, however. Just yesterday I almost left a long set of 90-degree needlenose pliars under my own hood.

How do these things go from a mechanic leaving a tool under the hood too a “I need to have the car checked out for hidden potential damage” type of thing? Why is it not clear one way or another if your car is damaged? Do you see any damage?

One that happened TO me back in 84…bought a new S-15 pickup…Had a little warranty work being done…The mechanic for some reason needed to use a utility knife…and left it in his back pocket…then proceeded to sit in the front seat and cut a nice 10" gash in the seat…I found the gash when I picked up the truck and confronted the service writer…who promptly said it was there when I left it…he then called in the mechanic…and there in the mechanics back pocket was the utility knife sticking out…I had a new seat put in the next week.

I would be inclined to return the screwdriver to the garage. I doubt that anything was damaged, and by returning it, you might establish a good relationship with the garage. Many years ago, I had a young piano tuner leave his tuning wrench at my house. I returned it to him and he was most appreciative. From that time on, when I have needed to have the piano at our church tuned quickly for a performance, he has always accomodated me.

Start with the trivial: punch a hole in the windshield-washer fluid reservoir, unnoticed until the next time you try to use it and it’s dry? Knock the cover off a housing leaving whatever’s inside undamaged but exposing it to future impacts? Hairline nick in a hose creating a weak spot that will be the first to blow when the engine gets a little hotter than usual? Shear insulation off a wire allowing it at some future point to short against the chassis?