The potential of modified multiwalled carbon nanotubes (a solid-phase extraction sorbent), for the simultaneous separation and preconcentration of lead, cadmium and nickel; has been investigated. Lead, cadmium and nickel, were adsorbed quantitatively; on modified multiwalled carbon nanotubes (in the pH range of 2–4). Parameters influencing, the simultaneous preconcentration of Pb(II), Ni(II) and Cd(II) ions (such as pH of the sample, sample and eluent flow rate, type and volume of elution solution and interfering ions), have been examined and optimized. Under the optimum experimental conditions, the detection limits of this method. for Pb(II), Ni(II) and Cd(II) ions, were 0.32, 0.17 and 0.04 ng mL−1 in original solution, respectively. Seven replicate determinations, of a mixture of 2.0 μg mL−1 lead and nickel, and 1.0 μg mL−1 cadmium; gave a mean absorbance of 0.074, 0.151 and 0.310, with relative standard deviation 1.7%, 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. The method has been applied, to the determination of trace amounts of lead, cadmium and nickel; in biological and water samples, with satisfactory results.