Circlip retainers are important to help maintain the proper seating and function of the wheel bearing. Depending on the vehicle application, there may be one or two circlips that facilitate retention of the bearing.
Often, when replacing the wheel bearing, the circlip is worn past its usable condition. They can also become rusted into the knuckle and removal of this part can cause over-stressing to the clip or even breakage. During removal, penetrating oil can be used to help reduce the rust build-up between the knuckle groove and circlip.
When removing or installing the circlip it is important to use the appropriate circlip pliers for the circlip type and size. After the removal of the circlip and bearing, make sure to properly clean the steering knuckle and circlip retaining groove.
The best practice is to replace the circlip with a new one. Be sure to use the circlip specifically designed for vehicle application. When the circlip is reinstalled make sure the circlip is fully seated in the knuckle groove. Improper assembly may cause premature failure of the circlip and component parts.
Courtesy of SKF