I'm going to start by assuming we are not dealing with one of the newer Nova motors with tangless clips and removal grooves. While we were doing battle with the RB AAC motors two years ago clip loss was a common failure mode so I was just clipping them off up front - if it became necessary to change a rod (yeah like one would ever last that long) I would just rotate
the clip so the gap was at the bottom and then I would use a small carbide burr (1/16th" - 1.6mm) to cut a notch - then rotate the clip again and pop it out with a small pick or your now damaged x-acto.
Empire Racing - Serpent - K.O. Propo Electronics - Tornado Fuel
Time for us all to grow up and sign our real names on posts.