Get a Grip on E-Clips: Ultimate Guide to understanding & removing it

What is an E-Clip?

E-clip is an open-ended retaining ring fixed into the grooves of the circular part, and its purpose is to restrict the loosening of the part due to the high rotational motion. These are suitable for rotary assemblies. It is also known as a C-clip or snap ring. Three prongs make contact with the groove and act as a shoulder. E-clips reduce the use of the nut-bolt, rivets, and pin. It is like an E shape and has an opening from another side.

The radial retaining ring is another reinforced up-gradation in the E ring. These are specially designed for high rpm applications. All other constructional details of radial e-rings are the same as e-rings. These clips get inserted into the groove of the shaft.

The bowed E-clip is the curved version of it. It is in concave size which permits resilient take up at the end and absorbs the high force acts by the other part of the assembly. Carbon steel spring is the most suitable material for it. These are suitable for light-duty applications.

Circlip or C clip has two different types. One is the Internal circlip & the other is the external circlip. They can fix into the outer recess of the shaft and the internal recess of the hollow shaft or casing of the bearing.

These c clips are C in shape, which expands to get a fix on the shaft & compresses to get the fix in the hollow part. These c-clips help to prevent any component from coming out from the shaft. Without a tool, it is possible to fix on or in the groove.

How to remove an E clip?

E-clips can remove by using an E-clip removal tool, using pliers, and a screwdriver.

Using an E-clip remover.

  • Select the desired E-clip removal tools as there have various types. Align the correct E-clip removal tool with the clip. This tool has a curved edge as per the profile of the E-clip.
  • Once it gets aligned with it, simply apply moderate pressure and push it in an outside direction.
  • After getting removed, place this clip in a dry place. So next time you can use this as it is.
  • The procedure is the same for all sizes of the tool.

Using E-clip with pliers.

  • With the help of your finger, grab the E-clip and apply moderate pressure to rotate it. So, the curved part of the e-ring faces toward you.
  • Insert the nose of the needle plier in the left or right-side groove of the E-clip and the other nose at the outer ring to grab.
  • Move the nose of the needle plier in the groove at the center of the clip and grab it.
  • Pinch the middle portion of the E-clip with the needle plier and hold it securely.
  • Apply moderate pressure with the needle plier and pull back the plier to remove the E-clip. A needle plier works best for this operation.

With a Flathead screwdriver.

  • E-clip has two grooves, one is at the left, and the other is at the right.
  • To remove the E-clip, align and insert the tip of the screwdriver in any of the grooves, and hold the clip with the hand.
  • Push the screwdriver more inside with moderate pressure, and remove the clip with the other hand.
  • A screwdriver should be well proportionate to the E-clip to get better fitment.

Material of the E-Clip.

E-clips are available in various materials as per the type of application and resistance to corrosion. These materials are Carbon Spring Steel (DIN 17222 / En 1013-4), Hardened and tempered carbon spring steel, stainless steel (301 & 304), Inconel X750, and X718, beryllium copper, and alloy steel. 

The surface finish of E-clips

E-clip is available in various surface finishes like phosphate (IS 3618), mechanical zinc plating (ASTM B695), electro-zinc plating (IS 1573), polish, and natural finish. 

How to determine E-clip size?

The size of the E-clip depends upon the outermost diameter of the groove where it can fix. Throat width and free diameter are the two most vital parameters. ‘a’ is the throat width which is the opening size, and ‘d’ is the free diameter of the clip.

Sizes as per DIN 6799 & JIS B 2805.

How to select an E-clip?

The selection of the E-clip depends upon the outermost diameter of the groove where it is going to fix. E-clip is suitable for low rpm applications, And radial E ring is appropriate for high rpm applications.

Application of E-Clip

E-clip is used to prevent bearing and hub from coming out from the shaft, locking mechanism, and in-car engine part assemblies. 

Due to ease of use and removal, these clips are used in various machines, aircraft, transit, railway system, and naval applications.


  1. It reduces the production cost required to make other assemblies for doing the same operation.
  2. It is easy to install into the groove and remove from it. No need for a special kind of tool.
  3. E-clip reduces various operations like threading and tapping required to do while fixing other fasteners. 


  1. These are not for lateral movement in assembly due to structural building.
  2. This clip has a limited capacity to withstand the load acted by the rotating part. If the load exceeds, then there are chances of an accident. 
  3. Require to select the correct clip. Because loose-fitting causes damage to the shaft and tight-fitting make the assembly incomplete, which gives more load on the clip.
What is an E clip used for?

E clip fits into the groove of the shaft and acts as a shoulder to prevent the loosening of the part due to the high vibration produced in the machine. E-clip reduces the use of the nut bolt, rivets, and pin.

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