I am used to larger sized circlips that have fully formed eye circles.

Currently I am wrestling with a circlip that is smaller and does not have full eyes. It only has some protruded arms, and that is all.

The circlip pliers that I have, are spaced too far apart when closed.

Do these type of circlips need special circlip pliers? Or do I need another special purpose tool? How can I remove them?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Sounds like it's a NEW TOOL DAY for you !
    – Criggie
    Jul 23, 2023 at 10:45

3 Answers 3


Snap-ring pliers can be obtained with various sizes and orientations for the plier pins:

Photo from Motion Pro

(photo from Motion Pro)

You need pliers whose pins are close enough together (and small enough) to fit between the snap ring's tabs.


While using pliers may be the best way to remove this circlip, another method would be to just use a flat tip screwdriver. Place one side into the notch and then twist to get the other side into the other notch. With the right sized screwdriver, you can remove and replace the circlip without too much of an effort. If you can't afford new tools or it is inconvenient to get them, this can get you by in a pinch.


That isn't a circlip, this is a grip ring.

They are stronger than circlips, and normally reside on an smooth shaft, without notch. Therefor they have a larger clamping force. I found that they are difficult to remove with normal circlip pliers (means I ruined my pliers). Perhaps I used pliers of under-average quality, non good ones. Either way, if you use circlip pliers, try good ones and use caution.

The only time I found one of these, I just removed it with brute force and then improvised an solution to fix the shaft.

  • Thanks, It's good to know the terminology. My grip ring was in a notch, b.t.w. I feel that the manufacturer should have used regular circlips instead.
    – Bram
    Jul 24, 2023 at 0:25

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