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How Snap-Ring Pliers can Help You Replace Snap Rings in a Snap

The internal combustion engine is perhaps one of the most important inventions of mankind. This complex feat of machinery has many important parts. One of the key components of an engine is snap rings. A snap ring is an elastically deformed ring that is put into a groove or recess inside the engine. This type of ring gets its name from the ability to snap back toward its unstressed position into the groove. These rings can be used externally to provide a shoulder for retaining a wheel or bearing race on a shaft.

They can also be used internally to provide a construction that confines a bearing race in the bore of a machine frame. These rings have been specified for many years in the automotive and heavy equipment industries as the standard choice for engineers.  Snap rings are capable of withstanding high forces and impact loads with an easy installation and removal process from their internal or external grooves. However, to perform proper fielding service on them, you need the right tool. Snap ring pliers are the primary tool used to work on removing or inserting snap rings during engine service.

The main reason why snap ring pliers are so important during engine service is because a snap ring is nearly impossible to remove without this tool. Snap ring pliers look like regular pliers in many ways. These tools consist of two arms that function as handles, and attached at a pivot point near the head. Snap ring pliers also have two arms at the tip. These are small arms that are bent at a 90 degree angle. Each handle features a small round, tip that can fit into the small, round holes of a snap ring.

Snap ring pliers are usually spring loaded which helps in retracting the tool. Most snap-ring pliers have a reversible head which allows them to either pull on the snap ring in one position or push it outward in another. When you are performing this operation, look for a broken point in the circle of the snap ring. There are two smalls circles in this area located at the ends. Snap ring pliers can be directly inserted into these holes where they grab the snap ring. After the heads of the snap ring pliers are in place, squeeze the handles and move them inward or outward, depending on the position of the reversible head.

Assorted Snap Rings

During this process, the pliers’ heads must move inward in order to shrink the snap ring diameter. Once this is accomplished, the snap ring can be pulled out of the machine groove for assembly. When installing a snap ring on the outside, the head of the snap ring pliers must be reversed in order to be compatible with the outside of an assembly. This allows for the snap ring pliers to push the snap ring holes outward. Once you have done this, the diameter of the snap ring should be large enough to be placed on the outside of an assembly. After you have put the snap ring into place, release the handles and the snap ring will relax into a smaller diameter, properly settled in its appropriate groove.

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