Anybody that has ever done any sort of camshaft or cylinder head work on an engine will tell you: those darn valve springs can be a real pain in the neck. It is not common for valve springs to break, so the need to remove them or replace them is generally always for performance enhancement. Typically, within the cylinder head, valve springs are held under pressure with a lock and retainer. That said, not only can valve spring removal prove to be tricky but it can also be dangerous. It is essential to have the best tools for the job.
There are numerous faulty methods available when removing valve springs. Some include: large, bulky kits; the use of compressed air; or, a particularly risky one, using a socket and hammer. Large kits usually require numerous parts, and this runs the risk of some getting lost. Compressed air is simply not always available and when it is, it’s easy to make mistakes with. Lastly, the socket and hammer method is extremely reckless and makes you more likely to damage your engine or yourself.
The socket and hammer method basically consists of placing a socket over the valve spring and smashing it with a hammer. But, remember: the valve spring is under a lot of pressure and loosening it this way runs the risk of it forcefully shooting outward. The assumption that the amount of pressure placed over it with the socket will suffice to keep it from shooting out is a careless one. Also, you run the risk of damaging the valve spring.
Fortunately, despite so many questionable methods, there is a safe and effective way to remove your valve springs. An overhead valve spring compressor is a nifty, little tool that every serious technician and hobbyist should have in their toolbox. It’s compact and includes no extra parts, so you can easily store it or carry it with you. On top of that, it’s easy to use and safe. Best of all, you don’t run the risk of taking a valve spring to the face.
The Best Valve Spring Compressor
For its convenience and sheer practicality, our pick for best valve spring compressor was the OTC 4573. OTC makes some pretty great products, but this tool is exceptional. The light weight and versatility of this tool make it easy to store and carry around. You won’t have to deal with any large boxes, extra parts, or bulky hardware.
The durable steel construction of the OTC 4573 makes for a truly reliable product. In the case that it is dropped, you won’t have to worry about broken parts or jeopardized functionality. The construction of this tool also allows for secure valve spring removal. With the OTC 4573, you can rest assured the valve spring will be handled safely every time. Albert Einstein once said, “concern for man himself and his safety must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors.” Einstein would be proud to own this tool.
One of the greatest features of the OTC 4573 is its actual effectiveness. Once the compressor is attached to the valve spring, it can take less than a minute to compress, remove the keepers, and release tension from the spring. The offset jaws are spring loaded and they seamlessly grip to the valve springs. Slow and steady typically wins the race, but with this tool, it’s nice to know that you won’t be wasting any unnecessary time.
Considering the performance, this tool is relatively inexpensive if you shop for it at Amazon. Ultimately, we highly recommend the OTC 4573 Universal Overhead Valve Spring Compressor because it is one of the best valve spring compressor tools around thanks to its tough build and efficiency. Happy Wrenching!