When repairing or fixing a car, you need the right set of tools to do the job quickly and effectively. Among the handy tools you need is a collection of various types of pliers for auto repair.
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One of the most essential sets of pliers that a mechanic or DIY car enthusiast must keep in the toolbox is a pair of CV boot clamp pliers. These specialized pliers are extremely useful for installing CV joint boot clamps. These are the metal bands or clips that hold CV joint boots in place. You will find them mostly on OEM CV boots.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what CV joint clamp pliers are, how they work, and why they are an important tool for anyone who works on cars.
CV Boot and CV Boot Clamp
What is a CV Boot?
CV joint boot is a flexible rubber or plastic cover that surrounds the CV joint. Its main purpose is to retain grease that lubricates the moving parts in the joint. In addition, a CV boot prevents dirt, debris, and moisture from entering the joint, which may cause it to fail prematurely.
To effectively seal the CV joint and keep the grease from coming out, the CV boot cover must be airtight. There are many ways to do this including using zip ties and worm clamps. However, the most effective method that most manufacturers use is either with a CV boot clip or CV boot band.
What is a CV Boot Clamp?
A CV boot clamp is a type of stainless steel ear type clamp for securing axle boots on vehicles. It has holes on one end and teeth on the other end. It also has a raised portion or ear that you compress and crimp with a special tool to tighten the band. This special tool is called CV boot clamp pliers or ear clamp pliers/pincers.
Best CV Boot Clamp Pliers
These are some of the best cv joint boot clamp pliers on the market that you can consider for attaching ear-type clamps on bellow boots.
Lisle 30800 CV Boot Clamp Pliers – Best Overall
- 1/2″ Square holes for attaching torque wrench or pry bars
- Cushion-grip handles
- Head has center anvil
- Works with all ear-type boot clamps
- Made in USA
The Lisle 30800 CV joint boot clamp pliers are the best I have come across for working on CV axle and steering rack boots. These pliers are heavy duty and can work with all types of ear clamps including the small oetiker clamps for hoses. The jaws bite the ear on the clamp tightly and squeeze it close without slipping.
One of the most outstanding features of these pliers is the square holes on the handles for attaching pry bars to get an extended reach. You can also attach a torque wrench to the notches if you want to apply a precise amount of torque on the clamp. This might be useful when installing drive shaft boot clamps that have torque specifications.
Another important feature is the anvil between the jaws that comes down evenly as you squeeze the handles. It smashes the ear effectively to ensure a nice finish on the clamp.
But my favorite quality of these CV boot pliers by Lisle Tools is that they are inexpensive and made in USA. For most American-made tools, these two terms are mutually exclusive but this is surprisingly not the case with Lisle 30800 ear clamp pliers. And this makes them the perfect substitute for the Blue Point YA3080 that most mechanics like.
KNIPEX Ear Clamp Pliers (1099i220) – Best for tight spots
- No center anvil
- Front and side jaws
- Slim head for easy accessibility
- 8.7 inches overall length
- Made in Germany
Although the Knipex 10 99 i220 ear clamp pliers are designed for installing oetiker clamps for hoses and vacuum lines, you can use them to fasten CV boot clamps as well. These pliers are sturdily built to the standards and quality of Knipex Tools.
The most outstanding feature of these pliers is the double head. There is a front and a side jaw which make the pliers suitable for working in tight spots.
In addition, the pliers have long handles that provide enough leverage to properly clamp the boot tight enough. However, you could attach extension bars if you need more leverage to crimp tough clamps.
Unfortunately, these Knipex CV boot clamp pliers do not have a center hammer between the jaws for smashing the ear. As such, the finishing on the clamp is not as crisp as with Lisle 30800.
Nonetheless, these cv boot clamp pliers by Knipex Tools are the best for working in tight spots or when don’t want to crawl underneath your ATV or truck. The side jaws make them versatile while their sturdiness makes them the ultimate tool for installing oetiker clamps on hoses. Any maintenance guy for beverage systems or pneumatic systems should have these pliers in their maintenance tool kit.
Gearwrench CV Boot Clamp Tool (3955) – Best for low-profile ear clamps
- 1/2″ square drive holes for ratchet or pry bar
- Has center pushing anvil
- Dual-dipped handles
- Made in Taiwan
Some vehicles including most ATVs, Toyotas, and GM cars use the low profile stepless ear clamps to secure bellow boots on cv joints and tie rods. These special types of CV clamps are reusable and require a different type of tool to install and remove. One such tool is the Gearwrench 3955 CV boot clamp pliers.
These pliers are a little different from regular boot clamp pliers. They have sharp narrow jaws for pulling together the ends of an ear clamp to tighten and latch them together. I have used them to remove and install factory clamps on the CV Boots of my 2001 Toyota Tacoma and they worked perfectly.
What I like the most about the Gearwrench 3955 pliers is that they are sturdy, easy to use, and inexpensive. They cost nearly a 10th of the price of what John Deere sells. They go along with the regular cv boot clamp pliers for repairing or rebuilding vehicles that use a variety of bands. These pliers are a must-have if you want to reuse OEM low profile ear clamps instead of using low-quality aftermarket options.
How to Install a CV Boot Clamp with Boot Clamp Pliers
Time needed: 2 minutes
The process of installing a CV boot clamp is quite straightforward. All you need is a good quality boot clamp and a pair of boot clamp pliers, then follow these simple steps.
- Put the ear clamp around the CV boot by hand.
Open the right size ear clamp and wrap it around the CV boot.
- Stretch the boot clamp to make it tight
Pull both ends together so that they overlap. Make sure the end with the teeth is on top.
- Latch the two ends of the band together
While stretching the band with your hands, hook the teeth to the holes at the position that will provide the most tension.
- Crimp the ear clamp in place with cv boot pliers
Now use boot clamp pliers to pinch and crimp the ear on the band to tighten it permanently.
In conclusion, selecting the right CV boot clamp pliers can make a big difference in how you install and seal CV boots or anything that uses ear-type clamps. Having a reliable pair of boot clamp pliers means that you stretch the clamping band to a tight fit without frustration. Thankfully, this comprehensive review of the top CV boot clamp pliers in the market empowers you to select the best tool for your needs with confidence.
Sometimes though, a single type of boot clamp pliers may not cater to all your vehicle repair needs. You might need all three styles or at least the Lisle 30800 and Gearwrench 3955 for vehicles like Toyota that use different types of bands.
Nevertheless, investing in one of these high-quality CV boot clamp pliers will save you time, money, and effort. Not to mention, good quality stainless steel ear clamps provide the best clamping solution on bellow boot covers than any other solution.
So, don’t hesitate to grab one of these top-rated pliers for installing boots on CV joints, tie rod ends, and steering racks of vehicles, ATV, and UTVs.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use regular side cutters or pincer pliers to pinch off ear type boot clamps in order to tighten them. However, there is a risk of dulling the cutters of your pliers because these steel clamps are quite hard. Another problem with using regular pliers to tighten CV boot clamps is that you might not get very good leverage and the results might not be as impressive as with the correct tool.
Unfortunately, ear-type clamps are for one-time use only and you need a special tool to install them effectively. This is why some mechanics take shortcuts by using spring clamps, worm gear clamps, and sometimes cable ties. However, these alternatives are not as reliable, especially on CV joint boots. So, the good practice is to attach CV boots with ear type cv boot clips or bands.