Snap Ring Pliers

GearWrench 2012D

My favorite snap ring tool, and the only one that I found to work well, is GearWrench 2012D. It features:

  • Replaceable tips;
  • Heavy duty tips that do not bend even when used on rusty wheel bearing snap rings;
  • Screw type operation.

The screw type operation is extremely important as the tool will maintain tension on the snap ring by itself. This allows stubborn snap rings to be partially open or closed while sticking screwdrivers or other tools underneath them to get them extracted.

The tips on GearWrench 2012D are strong enough not to bend even when the snap rings are frozen in place. The tips do wear slightly on the edges but do not bend.

The tool cost $42 at the time of this writing on Amazon, and is well worth the price.


While I have not tested these, Amazon sells various sets of tips for snap ring pliers:

These are available in different thicknesses from the tips that come with GearWrench 2012D.

I would go with a GearWrench or a Channellock set.


I tried Astro Pneumatic 94220 snap ring plier set, thinking that a one piece tool would be stronger than the adjustable GearWrench 2012D, and these were entirely useless for wheel bearings. I bent tips on two of the pliers on first use. The set got returned to Amazon.

Thin snap ring pliers like Performance Tool 1435 are also not suitable for automotive work.