How to use a piston ring expander

Written by lisa wampler
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How to use a piston ring expander
A piston ring expander helps you install piston rings onto your pistons. (piston de scooter image by Vetea TOOMARU from

Many people opt to repair their engines instead of taking them to a mechanic. Changing piston rings is an advanced repair, as it requires tearing down the engine to complete. The job is made easier with the use of a piston ring expander. A piston ring expander is a handheld tool that helps you spread the piston ring so you can fit it into the groove cut into the piston.

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  1. 1

    Place the piston ring on top of the piston. Hold it in place with one of your hands.

  2. 2

    Close the piston ring tool by spreading the handles apart. Place the tip of the piston ring expander in slot cut into the piston ring. Open squeeze the handles on the tool just enough to apply slight pressure on the piston ring.

  3. 3

    Center the piston ring and the tool over the top of the piston and squeeze the handles just enough to expand the piston ring so you can slide it over the piston and into the groove on the piston. Do not squeeze the handle any farther than necessary or you will distort and ruin the piston ring.

  4. 4

    Open the handles to release pressure on the piston ring when you have the ring seated in the groove on the piston.

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