What Size Impact Wrench for Automotive Work

By Richard S. Clark | Last Updated: February 11, 2023

The best impact wrenches give you enough power to make your work simple and easy. As a mechanic, you need to know what size impact wrench you need for auto work. There are different kinds of impact wrenches, but you can use them based on how big they are and how fast they move.

Both a standard and an Impact wrench with an 18-volt adjustable motor with 3/8-inch and 12-inch sockets are readily available.

Since it comes with 1/4-inch sockets, the 1/4-inch impact wrench is best for work on cars. Even though this is the standard, most mechanics prefer to spend more money on a better impact wrench with extra features that help you do the job right the first time.

The Purpose of Using an Impact Wrench

What Size Impact Wrench for Automotive Work

The best tool for working on cars is the impact wrench. When working on an engine, the impact wrench needs to be strong and last long. You can use it to open or close the lug nuts on wheels and to tighten bolts and screws.

You can also use this tool to put on or take off fasteners like the exhaust, alternator, battery, radiator, and oil filter.

One of a mechanic’s most useful tools is an impact wrench. When you work on cars, you’ll find that many parts need to be tightened.

Instead of using a regular wrench, which can damage your hands, you can use an impact wrench to quickly get into tight spots without hurting your hands. You could use this tool even if you have never worked with them before.

Impact wrenches are the easiest power tools to use, and they have the most torque of any tool except a drill.

Impact wrenches are a must-have for fixing cars and doing other heavy-duty work. They can take off nuts and bolts that are stuck, tighten loose screws, pry, drill, countersink, grind, and do more.

There are different sizes of impact wrenches, from 1/2 inch to 3 inches. The best impact wrenches can change their speed and have 12 settings for going forward or backward.

Size of Impact Wrench for Automotive Work

Looking for the right size impact wrench for your automotive work? Learn about the different factors that determine the size of an impact wrench, such as the size of the bolts and nuts you will be working with, the type of task you will be performing, and the level of torque you need. Discover the different sizes of impact wrenches available, including ½ inch, ¾ inch, and 1 inch impact wrenches, and learn how to choose the right size for your needs. Get expert advice and tips on selecting the right size impact wrench for your automotive work.

There are many different types of automotive work that necessitate a specific type and size of the impact wrench.

Nut or bolt size is the most critical factor. More torque is needed to break a smaller nut or bolt.

Contrary to popular belief, breaking a larger nut or bolt takes less torque. After that, you have to think about what you’ll be doing. A wide impact wrench is the tool of choice when the job calls for heavy lifting and rough handling.

However, it is recommended that a lightweight impact wrench be used for delicate and precise work. A wide impact wrench is best if you plan to do any DIY work. Automobile mechanics will appreciate the 1000 lbs-ft impact wrench.

In addition to the impact wrench, an adapter is also necessary. The adapter is compatible with a variety of nut and bolt sizes. In addition to the impact wrench, the adapter can also be purchased separately.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQ)

For automotive work, how much torque should my impact wrench have?

RPM tends to take precedence over torque for an impact driver with 1500–1800 in-lbs of torque. Compared to a tool with higher torque but slower speeds, it will complete 95% of the work in half the time. According to our rule of thumb, when in doubt, reach for an impact wrench instead of a socket adapter.

Is it possible to use a regular socket with an impact wrench?

Impact sockets are made of carbonized chrome molybdenum, while hand sockets usually have a chrome vanadium finish.  Normal sockets will crack or break when you use an impact wrench, so you should only use impact sockets.

What kind of impact wrench do I need to get the job done?

Smaller impact wrenches are more than adequate for household tasks, but larger, more powerful wrenches are typically needed for automotive work.  To remove lug nuts and perform most suspension work, you’ll need at least 400 pound-feet of torque. When it comes to impact wrenches, 500 pound-feet or more of torque may be necessary if you live in the rust belt or near the ocean. Rusted lug nuts and bolts are notoriously difficult to remove.

What is the most typical size of an impact wrench?

Moving up in power, Impact wrenches in the 1/2-inch size range are probably the most widely used. , and almost every tradesperson who uses this type of tool has one. 3/4-inch and 1-inch drives are the ones to look for when you need a lot of power.

What can you do with a 3/8 impact wrench?

Because of its shape, a 3/8 impact wrench is better if you want to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts with precision. Even though their motors aren’t as strong as 1/2 impact wrenches, 3/8 impact wrenches make it easier to put all the tool’s torque in one spot.

When should an impact wrench be used?

Impact wrenches are great for tightening and loosening nuts, bolts, and fasteners that have rusted. They can turn at very high speeds, which regular drills can’t do, and they can deliver high torque with little effort from the user.

Can an impact wrench be used as a drill?

Yes, that’s the answer. An impact driver can be used to drill holes in wood, plastic, and much harder steel. But it’s not as good as a regular cordless drill because it only comes with a few hexagonal shank drill bits and only one speed.

Is it worth it to buy an impact wrench?

Impact wrenches make it much easier to take off hard bolts, and they also make it easy to tighten bolts and screws. It looks like an expensive tool until you use it, and if you buy a good one, it could last you your whole life.


There are many different types of automotive work that necessitate a specific type and size of the impact wrench. A wide impact wrench is best if you plan to do any DIY work. Automobile mechanics will appreciate the 1000 lbs-ft impact wrench for delicate and precise work. Keep in mind that the size of the impact wrench will depend on the workload.

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