My tractor has several R-clips, like this one:

enter image description here

These are used in various places. The problem is that they tend to get knocked off by branches or longer grass / brush and get lost.

I've tried orienting them both ways (or multiple ways if the pin they attach to can rotate) but to no apparent benefit.

Is there some other kind of clip or pin which would be available in a similar range of sizes (varied... but all are 2" / 5 cm or less, roughly) but be more resistant to coming off?

I've looked around my local hardware store and the options don't obviously seem any better. They have something like this:

enter image description here

which seems to me just as likely to have the same problem.

As a backup I may replace some of them with bolts, but obviously this sacrifices the convenience of adjustment that these removable clips are meant to provide.

  • 1
    Just bend one end of the cotter pin so it won't come out.. Straighten it to remove. – Gunner Oct 28 '19 at 18:08
  • Yea, are old school cotter pins not an option? – JPhi1618 Oct 28 '19 at 18:27
  • I have never had the latter pin-type you show come out when I didn't want it to. I have, though, given myself many blood-blisters and black fingernails, installing them. (I use these on a zero-turn mower and a kubota utility tractor 3pt hinge equipment.) – peinal Oct 28 '19 at 22:10
  • @JPhi1618 those would work but I always understood they were meant to be one-time use. Or at least, supposedly will wear out & break after repeated bendings. – StayOnTarget Oct 29 '19 at 0:12
  • @DaveInCaz, that is correct. They can be "few time use", but they do eventually break when you bend them. If this is something you have to adjust often, it's probably not a great option and if you wanted to do it, you'd probably want to carry a little tool tray with pliers and replacement pins. The good part is that I can't see them every accidentally coming off and they are cheap and easy to find. – JPhi1618 Oct 29 '19 at 14:52

Our lawnmower shipped with pins that look like this.

enter image description here

I took them off because I thought they were used because they were cheap (somebody at Sears was laughing all the way to the bank over the 1" less of spring steel rod they use per fastener. I switched to the proper kind, the ones you show in OP.

They fell off at such a rate that I soon ran out of them, and was forced to go back to the original (here above) kind. They have been reliable.

Hard to take off, but that appears to be the necessary compromise.

  • Interesting... a simpler version of the R-clip. If anyone reading this knows the name of this type of clip, please add in the comments! – StayOnTarget Oct 28 '19 at 17:44
  • Hard to take off seems acceptable to me if it is easier than nuts & bolts! – StayOnTarget Oct 28 '19 at 17:44

I have a few trailers I rent out which use the pin with the snap-down ring -- the latter type pictured in the question. To avoid the pins being lost I made tethers from a length of 1/16" wire rope and crimp bands. Each tether fastens the ring part of the pin to the body of the trailer or door where the pin is used. Most are about 4-6 inches long. It's a balance between being long enough to make the pin easy to install or remove, yet short enough to keep it from being caught.


Get some Velcro cable ties and attach them to the looped end of the R clip. When you install the R clip, turn the pin so the R clip is parallel to the cross-member and wrap the strap around.


I spent some time driving tractors as a contractor and also repairing them, most of the agricultural suppliers had clips like both that you show with loops or chains to stop them getting lost.

We also used to use zip ties aka cable ties to hold the free ends.

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