How to Use a Cordless Impact Wrench

By Richard S. Clark | Last Updated: September 9, 2022

The impact wrench is popular in motorsports during pit stops and when quickly putting on new tires on the racing car. The tool is also used on construction sites and in some DIY projects, especially when long screws need to be screwed into metal or wood. If you’ve never used an impact wrench before, this post is just what you need.

But before we start with the steps, it is best to discuss first the different types of impact wrenches and how they differ.

The two popular types of impact wrenches are air and electric impact wrenches. While both air impact wrenches and electronic impact wrenches do the same thing, air impact wrenches have significantly more power, so knowing when to use each is critical.

Electric Impact Wrench

Electric impact wrenches are small and are best used at home to loosen and remove nuts and bolts from projects where it would be hard to use a manual wrench or socket. People often mistake them for impact drivers, which are used to drive screws into surfaces.

These tools are handy for loosening stuck bolts that can’t be moved by hand. Most of the time, they don’t have cords, making them easy to move without worrying about plugs and outlets.

How to Use an Electric Impact Wrench

Using an electric cordless impact wrench requires practice, as with most power tools. To safely release nuts and bolts, learn how to use an electric impact wrench correctly.

Step #1 Wear Your Protective Gear

Protect your eyes and hands with goggles and gloves before using an impact wrench. When dealing with metal, it is possible for the tool to slip or for metal shrapnel to fly off the surface.

Before turning on the power tool, make sure to put on your protective gloves and safety glasses. Because impact wrenches can be quite noisy, it’s a good idea to use noise-canceling headphones while using them.

Make sure you don’t get caught in the impact wrench by wearing clothing that isn’t too loose.

Step #2 Choose a Socket

You need a socket with the correct dimensions to loosen a nut or bolt. You may already have a set of sockets with your impact driver or buy them separately.

Select a variety of sockets until you find one that fits the bolt tightly. To avoid damaging the bolt or becoming tangled in it, make sure it’s not loose or too tight.

A square-shaped holder will be used to support the base of the socket, which will be pressed into place.

Step # 3 Loosen the Nuts and Bolts

Reverse the direction of the impact wrench’s rotation. If you’re unsure where to find it, consult your owner’s manual.

Concerting a socket into the nut or bolt, keep a firm grip on the impact wrench. It is best to keep your wrench steady and slowly pull the trigger, causing the torque in the wrench to build up and release the bolt.

Step #4 Remove the Nuts

You can now remove the nut from the bolt in its entirety. The tension from the impact wrench will spin the nut counterclockwise if you maintain consistent pressure on the trigger.

Once you’ve loosened all the nuts, stop pressing the trigger and turn the power off. At this stage, the bolt is normally easy to remove by hand.

Step #5 Tightening the Nut

An impact wrench has a forward mode that lets you tighten nuts on bolts.

Install the nut with the correct socket. Place the bolt into the hole by hand and tighten it down.

Put the socket over the nut while maintaining a tight grip on the wrench. To tighten the nut, press the trigger, allowing the socket to turn clockwise and the nut to spin over the bolt.

Step #6 Turn Off and Store

Keep your impact wrench turned off after you are done working with it. Make sure the battery is removed and plugged into the charger if it’s cordless. Keep your corded impact wrench away from the ground after use by unplugging and securing it.

Keep your impact wrench out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

Air Impact Wrench

A car repair shop will typically have an air impact wrench on hand. They frequently weigh more and are bigger than electric impact wrenches but have far more torque. For removing the fasteners on car wheels so that tires can be changed, mechanics turn to air impact wrenches since they can tackle some of the toughest operations. Instead of using electricity, they use pressurized air to deliver powerful and rapid hammering motions that loosen bolts. .

Read more: Best Cordless Impact Wrench for Automotive

How to Use the Air Impact Wrench

Unlike an electric impact wrench, an air impact wrench has a wide range of settings and requires a lot of power to perform its job. Here are the steps to take to learn how to use an air impact wrench safely:

Step #1 Wear Safety Gear

Air impact wrenches require the same safety gear as electric ones. Falling items or shrapnel might damage your eyes and hands. Noise-canceling headphones reduce tool noise.

Step #2 Set up and Check

Air impact wrenches must be assembled, unlike electric ones. Air hose to compressor. Both ends of the connection must be tight to power the device. Once assembled, verify the air pressure before using. Check your line for holes or kinks that could lower air pressure. Then try the wrench’s trigger. When your wrench turns, you can start.

Step #3 Choose the Speed

Most air impact wrenches can alter socket speed. What you’re doing affects your speed.

This tool usually has a dial control speed. Choose the wrench’s speed before turning it on.

Step #4 Loosen the Nut

Use the wrench’s socket set to find a socket that fits the nut. It should be neither too loose nor too tight to damage or jam the nut. Back up. This control’s function is explained in the manual.

Put the socket over the nut with the wrench. Hold the trigger until the nut loosens.

Step #5 Remove the Nut and Bolt

Once the nut is loose enough, you can usually use your hand to take it off the rest of the way. Then, use your hand to take the bolt off.

Step # 6 Tighten the Nut

Set the wrench to the forward position. Find the right socket for the nut you need to tighten.

Put the bolt in the hole by hand and then put the nut on the end. Place the socket over the nut and pull the wrench’s trigger until the nut is tightened.

Step # 7 Turn Off the Power And Store

After you’re done with your project, take the hose off the air compressor and wrench so that no power goes through. Put the wrench somewhere clean and dry.

Final Thoughts

Cordless air and electric impact wrenches work similarly, but a few differences need to be learned to use them correctly. Now that you know how to use a cordless impact wrench safely, you should be able to use it for a wide range of projects. Make sure to wear your safety gear when you use the wrench, and if you’re unsure about anything, check the owner’s manual.

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