Some things seldom considered in a hot rod and/or race shop are “vessels.”

And we’re not talking the ocean-going variety here, we’re referring to drain pans, drip pans, funnels, and parts trays.

You don’t often give them much thought—until of course, you need them. And if you’re grizzled like me, you never consider that some of those things can actually wear out (gee whiz, I only bought it in 1989!).

For example, an oil drain pan that springs a leak and you only notice the leak when the thing has six quarts of hot oil in it. Over years I’ve tossed quite a few drain containers. And every time, it was because I ignored them and used them well past their “best before” date.

Funnels are no different. They too can become brittle with age, crack, break, and physically wear out. And it seems in a busy shop, you can never have enough different sizes and shapes. Each job seems to mandate a different funnel.

Ditto with small parts organizers and tool trays. In some shops they’re used so often they go missing—some get run over, some get lost, some get borrowed, and some seem to just develop legs and walk away. There are plenty of options out there, even a pretty slick silicone example that’s perfect for the time(s) you’re working on your back under the car.

And the best news is that most of these are relatively inexpensive too. Here’s a small cross section of tools from my own personal collection.

Drain Pans & Drip Trays

large covered oil drain pan
These mega drain pans from Dorman are perfect for gearheads like us. Aside from the capability of being sealed tight, they also have a handy pour spot along with a handle. There’s a spot for an oil filter too. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Dorman’s 15 Quart Drain Pan pictured above is designed so that you can plug the spout and the center drain, grab the handle and carry it away once you’re finished draining fluids. The spout makes fluid transfers to your used oil (coolant, etc.) storage containers easy. It measures just under 18 by 6 inches—Dorman drain pans are great options; I have two in my shop.

large basic metal oil drain pan
Here’s an old standby—a Dorman 3-1/2 gallon drain pan. The last one I bought in 1989(!) finally sprang a leak after decades of service. These are extremely useful for a variety of drain applications. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Dorman’s 3-1/2 Gallon Drain/Drip Pan has to be the “standard” of all drain pans. This plated steel tub from Dorman measures 16.5 X 4 inches. In my shop, I’ve used these versatile drain pans for decades and then once they start wear out they’re inexpensive to replace.


triangular funnel
Here’s another old standby, at least for me: It’s a Jaz triangle funnel. I’ve used it for race car fuel cells, for my snowmobile, and even for my tractor. These actually have a provision for a filter if desired. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Jaz Products’ triangular funnel is my go-to choice for filling fuel cells, my tractor’s gas tank, and even my Arctic Cat. It’s a large triangular shaped funnel with a stepped opening. The top end is 14 inches across (14 x 14 x 14) and close to 16.5 inches long. You can get these funnels with a 60 micron filter that slides right into the base. (Summit Racing makes an almost identical funnel too.)

large oil funnel
Another useful funnel is this one from Jaz. It’s particularly useful when using a jerry can to fill a late model pickup truck or SUV. The thin spouts drops cleanly into the gas tank filler neck plus it has a beefy handle that allows you (or a helper) to hold it in place. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Jaz Products makes a lot of funnels, but the one pictured above is a solid option if you ever have to fill the tank on car or truck with a small diameter filler neck (or even a capless setup). The top end “bowl” area measures over eight inches across while the overall length is 24 inches. The beefy handle allows you to grasp the funnel while in use. (And again, Summit Racing offers a similar funnel here as well.)

large blue engine oil funnel
For close quarters, it’s nice to have a funnel with a flexible spout. This one does (plus it swivels) and it’s pretty much perfect for filling an engine with oil. Summit Racing carries a few funnels from FloTool. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

FloTool makes a handy Flex Funnel that comes equipped with a removable flex spout. You can also rotate the spout. This tends to alleviate spills in tight quarters. This is plastic funnel and as mentioned above, the spout can be moved and rotated to any position needed.

large metal oil fluid funnel extension
Here’s another antique from my collection. It’s a Dorman steel funnel with a flexible spout along with a small filter screen attached. I bought this example in the late seventies and it’s still going strong. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Many shops can’t do without Dorman Multipurpose Funnels—in fact, I’ve had mine since forever. The flexible steel funnel works great for filling automatic transmissions (obviously, through the dipstick tube). The bowl of the funnel measures 5-1/2 inches in diameter while the actual neck of the funnel (at the base) is a half inch in diameter, and includes a metal mesh screen.

Parts & Small Tool Trays

Summit Racing flexible tool tray mat
This is the Summit Racing Silicone Work Tray. The beauty of this piece is that it doesn’t skid around the floor when under the car, plus it has a small magnetic tray as well as divided compartments for tools and parts. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Summit Racing Silicone Work Trays are molded from a soft conformable silicone material. The tray includes a small, built-in magnetic parts tray along with several smaller compartments as well as storage for drill bits and other small tools (like hex bits). The long narrow compartment even has a ten inch ruler molded in.

summit racing magnetic parts trays
Something you can’t do without today are magnetic parts and tool trays. In this bunch, all are manufactured from stainless steel. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Summit Racing offers several magnetic parts trays. With a large magnet on the base, the round one in particular is very useful in tight quarters. It measures 4.25 inches in diameter by 1.25 inches high. Summit Racing also has a rectangular stainless steel tray that measures 5.375 inches wide by 9.375 inches, and 1.25 inches tall. It has dual magnets in the base.

Titan Mini Magnetic Parts Trays are made from stainless steel with a magnetic base. My favorite one is long and narrow, measuring 8.875 inches long by 2.5 inches wide, and about 1.25 inches high. Three magnets in the base keep it planted securely, while making sure the tiny parts you toss inside don’t roll out.

rear view of summit racing magnetic parts trays
Here’s the backside of the trays. As you can see, there’s a lot of magnet area underneath. Once planted on a steel surface, they don’t budge—and the clips, fasteners, and small tools you toss inside won’t either. (Image/Wayne Scraba)


As you can see, there’s lot of choice out there when it comes to “vessels” and funnels, and my little collection only skims the surface. is packed with more options.

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Author: Wayne Scraba

Wayne Scraba is a diehard car guy and regular contributor to OnAllCylinders. He’s owned his own speed shop, built race cars, street rods, and custom motorcycles, and restored muscle cars. He’s authored five how-to books and written over 4,500 tech articles that have appeared in sixty different high performance automotive, motorcycle and aviation magazines worldwide.