When you spend enough time at the junkyard, you're going to find free tools on a regular basis. Some are in the cars when they get scrapped, while others get lost by fellow junkyard dogs.

I've been a junkyard regular for many years now, so my tool collection contains many junkyard finds. Here's a more or less random selection of some of my found tools; click on a thumbnail to get that tool's story.

Found Tools Are The Best!

K-D Tools Ratcheting Box Wrench
Since this type of wrench in the Detroit-centric 1/2" and 9/16" sizes is so useful for old American (and some British) cars, it ranks as one of my favorite junkyard tool finds. I found it in a late-60s Mercury Montego at Ecology Auto Wrecking in Santa Fe Springs, 20 years ago.

Found Tools Are The Best!

K-D Tools Ratcheting Box Wrench
Here's a detail of the ratcheting box wrench. Not sure of the era, but I'm guessing 1960s or older.

Found Tools Are The Best!

5" Vise-Grip Pliers
Genuine Vise-Grip™ locking pliers, not some generic substitute! I found this in use as a window crank on a mid-70s Nova and made it my own.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Diagonal Cutters
Here's a recent find; these diagonal cutters were sitting on top of a mess of wires in a Volvo 244's harness, which I was harvesting for connectors to use in 20R Sprite Wiring Hell. For some reason, this is the most commonly found tool in the junkyard (other than tire irons, of course); I have a half-dozen of these things, all scored at junkyards.

Found Tools Are The Best!

1903 Screwdriver
This one didn't come from a junkyard, but it's still my all-time favorite found tool. I found this half-buried in the dirt beneath a wooden floor I was replacing in the 1880s stable behind my parents' Victorian house.

Found Tools Are The Best!

1903 Screwdriver
This screwdriver has been a very useful tool. The steel is too soft for it to be any good for serious prying (you can practically bend it in your hands), but the metal frame is set up to enable serious hammer pounding, which makes it a great pseudo-chisel.

Found Tools Are The Best!

1903 Screwdriver
The manufacturer's name is obscured by rust, but you can make out the word "Handle" and an August 25, 1903 patent date stamped on the shaft

Found Tools Are The Best!

West German Screwdriver
I've had this for so long that I don't recall what kind of car it came from, but it has the look of a piece from a VW or Porsche tool kit. Remember when West Germany was a country? That's where the "W" at the beginning of the VINs of German cars comes from, trivia buffs!

Found Tools Are The Best!

Companion Adjustable Pliers
I had to look up the generic name for this type of pliers, because- like Xerox or Kleenex- the manufacturer's name has become the de facto title for this tool.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Companion Adjustable Pliers
I found this tool just last week, sitting on the front seat of a Jaguar XJ-6. It appeared that the former owner, Jim C, was using these pliers in a futile attempt to remove the steering wheel nut, then was too exhausted to pack all his tools after he gave up in despair. I always associate the words "Jaguar" and "despair."

Found Tools Are The Best!

Yankee No. 41 Push Drill
It's always worth digging through the crap in the back of a junked plumber's truck, because you might find something like this 1901 Yankee Push Drill. I must admit I haven't used it very often (having been spoiled by power drills), but it's still a pretty cool thing to have. Still works perfectly after more than a century!

Found Tools Are The Best!

Yankee No. 41 Push Drill
It came with a full set of bits, which store inside the handle. You can pick these things up pretty cheap on eBay nowadays.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Stanley Utility Knife
Here's another very common junkyard freebie, that favored accessory of the English football hooligan. Rather than using a Stanley knife to slice up the faces of my rivals, however, I'm more likely to put it to use slicing troublesome hoses and belts that block access to engine-compartment fasteners. I have several of these, all junkyard-obtained.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Matco 1/4" Drive Ratchet
For years, I used a junkyard-found Blue Point (aka "Snap-On Lite") quarter-drive ratchet, but the day came when I overtorqued it one too many times and made hash out of its delicate innards. Fortunately, I found this Matco ratchet in the glovebox of a mid-80s Tercel wagon before that happened, so I had a backup.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Ace Hardware Screwdriver
I find so many flat-tip screwdrivers in junkyards that I tend to give them away to my friends who can't scrape up Tool One when it comes time to replace a switch plate or something. Here's a cheapo that I grabbed off the ground at a junkyard last week, just sitting among the hoseclamps and weeds between the cars.

Found Tools Are The Best!

Sam's Club Screwdriver
This screwdriver, which I found in a gym bag full of spray-paint cans in a Sentra, has become my default JB Weld and Bondo mixer. It's just the right size to pry the lid off a Bondo can!