An impact wrench is one of the most powerful tools and a must part of every craftsmen’s tool kit. The basic use of an impact wrench to tighten and loosen lug nuts. It means you can use it for cars, trucks, fixing appliances, and construction projects. But, it’s not the only reason to have an impact wrench in your arsenal as the tool is very useful to get high rotational torque that lets you work with even the rusty bolts. Having a smart impact wrench saves your time and efforts and lets you work on the project with more consistency.
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Tips For Choosing Correct Size Impact Wrench For Automotive Work
The size of an impact wrench is very important as the accuracy of the work depends on it. Having the right-sized impact wrench makes work easier and it takes no time to loosen the stubborn nuts and bolts. There are some tips that you can follow to choose the right size of an impact wrench.
Right Size for Right Job!
Always opt for the right size so you get the expected benefits from it. Choosing the wronged size impact wrench will affect the work performance of the tool as well as the end results. To get the work done rapidly, your wrench should deliver a high torque level that you can easily get from a large-sized tool. Other than getting more torque, the risks of breaking down the tool also get less when you increase the size of the impact wrench.
Another important feature that people ignore is the socket size. If you don’t choose the correct size of the socket, you can damage the internal parts of the impact wrench. Choose the right socket size and keep your impact wrench safe from all sorts of wear and tear, internal damage, and sudden breakage.
The size of an impact wrench plays an important role in choosing the design of the impact wrench. If you want to buy a compact impact wrench, then you have to compromise over some features such as you can’t expect the same level of torque as you get from a bigger sized impact wrench. Moreover, the position and design of the handle will also be different.
A ½ inch size impact wrench comes with a pistol grip and it’s very convenient to hold. On the other hand, the larger sized impact wrench such as ¾ inch comes with a better grip, i.e. D or T style handle. The bigger the size of an impact wrench would be the better handle you get. So, it’s up to you which size you opt for to get the best results.
Normal Sizes of Impact Wrenches
1/2 inch size impact wrench is known as the standard size of impact wrench for the automotive industry. It’s widely being used in workshops and automotive shops. The best thing about the standard size of the impact wrench is the torque level you get, i.e. 300ft/lbs. It is sufficient for the different types of tasks including suspensions and tire jobs.
This size is also good for small to medium assemblies and disassemblies. One of the major reasons for choosing the standard size impact wrench is the comfort and safety of the nuts and bolts. Using a bigger and high torque level impact wrench can break the nuts and auto suspensions. Controlling the bigger sized impact wrenches is also a problem for newbies.
3/4 Inch Impact Wrench – Goes Well With Heavy Duty Tasks
For large assemblies and dis-assemblies, you can’t use a standard size impact wrench as it fails to deliver the required torque size. ¾ inch impact wrench delivers more torque and lets you work on significant construction sites and truck workshops. You get 1200ft/lbs torque from it and can complete your work faster.
You must know the nature of your work and the purpose of that you are buying the impact wrench. Using a bigger impact wrench for smaller equipment can result in the over-tightening or damage of nuts and bolts. On the other hand, you have to wait too long to get the work done if opt for a smaller impact wrench for heavy equipment.
Types of Impact Wrenches for Automotive Work
What size impact wrench for car work? To get the answer to this question, you must know that impact wrenches have different types and every type isn’t designed for automotive work. The functionality and rotational torque vary from one type to another. That’s why it’s important to understand all types and their major differences so you learn about their possible applications and choose the best impact wrench for your automotive work. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Corded Impact Wrench – The One With Wire!
As the name suggests, this impact wrench comes with a cord that needs to be plugged in to turn on. This type of impact wrench comes with a builtin motor that you find in the rear of the device. Once you plug in the switch, the motor turns on and drives the hammer unit to produce the rotational torque. With this simple mechanism, you can hold and loosen the bolt nuts easily.
If talking about the other features of the corded impact wrench, then it’s quick and works smartly. You can use it for multiple appliances and tasks. It’s lightweight and easy to carry. However, there are also some downsides to the corded impact wrenches. For instance, it’s not within the budget limit of everyone as it’s a bit expensive than the other types and also gets overheated when you use it for a longer time.
Cordless Impact Wrench – Classy & Portable!
If you are a frequent traveler and need to visit distant places for your projects, then a cordless impact wrench is the best option for you. It’s powered by a battery and doesn’t include any electrical cord that makes it a portable device you can carry easily. Storing and holding this impact are also trouble-free tasks. It can reach into tight places easily and you can use it at places where electric supply isn’t available.
Like the many perks of this type, there are also some drawbacks associated with it. For instance, it needs to be recharged constantly. If you are working at a place where electrical supply is limited and there is no extra battery available, then you can face issues. Either you have to stop work or wait for recharging the battery again. To prevent this situation, keeping an extra battery with you is a wise idea. Other than that, the heavy-weight of this battery is another negative side of this wrench. However, it’s not too heavy to carry. Just heavier than the previous type.
Air Compression Based Impact Wrench
Pneumatic impact wrench runs on compressed air. They are simple and lightweight and never costs you much. The price of pneumatic impact wrench is lesser than the rest of the two types. As it runs on compressed air, you don’t have to worry about the overheating of the device. It never gets hot even if you work the whole day with it as the air keeps passing in it and keeps the impact wrench cool.
You need an air compressor to work with a pneumatic impact wrench and it’s a major drawback of this type. For automotive workshops, buying an air compressor isn’t a big deal as they have to work with the impact wrench on a daily basis. Don’t opt for this type if you are planning to buy it for domestic usage because it won’t work alone and you have to buy an extra air compressor with it. The second issue associated with it is the low torque level that raises questions on the overall performance.
How Much Torque from Impact Wrench Do I Need for Automotive?
Torque is another important feature that determines the performance of an impact wrench. The right torque level makes you work easy and you don’t face over-tightening issues as well. The good thing about all types of impact wrenches is the wide array of various torque settings that make the tool very useful for multiple tasks.
It’s a good idea to ask an automotive expert about the maximum and the minimum levels of torques for your car tires or trucks. It will help you to prevent the over-tightening of nuts that beings serious troubles for you on the roadside when you need to change the tire. It’s a fact that the majority of people don’t have any idea about the right torque level and they exceed the torque level than the required level.
RPM & IPM – What’s the Deal?
Do you think rotation per minute and impact per minute are the same? Actually, they aren’t. They are two different things. Rotation per minute means how many times an impact wrench rotates in a minute. Usually, the RPM of most of the impact wrenches is between 2500 to 3, 000 RPMs. For bigger machines and rusted bolts, higher RPM is a better option as it works faster and removes the stubborn nuts easily. However, if you are using an impact wrench of high RPM for a smaller machine, then the chances of breakage are much higher and should get ready for the possible damage.
Impact Per Minute, on the other hand, is the number of times the anvil hits in a minute. You can complete a task faster if working with an impact wrench having higher IPM.
Impact of Weight and Batteries on Impact Wrenches
Corded and cordless impact wrenches are two widely being used types. Corded impact wrenches are difficult to move from one place to another especially at places where electric supply isn’t available. The portability feature of cordless impact wrenches distinguishes it from the rest of the types and makes them suitable for remote places.
Due to the cordless nature, you need batteries to power them up. Using big batteries means you are increasing the weight of impact wrenches. Carrying a heavy impact wrench for a longer time will harm your arm and make you feel tired. Luckily, the evolution of technology has solved this issue and now you can buy a convenient and lightweight battery for your impact wrench. Opt for the lightweight Lithium-ion batteries and enjoy the portability feature thoroughly.
The lightweight batteries come with an A.H score. The term A.H refers to Amperage Hour which reflects how long a charge will stay in the battery. However, it’s not necessary that the battery is the only factor that determines the weight of the impact wrench rather every company has its own strategy for it. The weight is also dependent on several other factors such as assembly of the battery and tools used to combine it.
Companies label the voltage level of impact wrenches on the packaging so you can choose the required voltage level. Usually, the voltage level of impact wrenches range between 16V to 20V and the same voltage level is ideal for automotive usage. A higher voltage level implicates better performance of the impact wrench.
You have to pay extra bucks to get a high voltage level impact wrench. But they are long-lasting and never damage easily. So, don’t hesitate to invest money in it and enjoy the long-lasting benefits.
There are three different types of drive sizes, i.e. 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2. Inches. The larger size of the drive size gives better performance and more strength. So, the selection of the drive size is absolutely dependent on the appliances you are working with.
Multiple Features of Impact Wrenches
New impact wrenches are coming with the latest technology and new features. The prices of impact wrench with advanced features are higher, but they are very useful and make work easier. For instance, the latest models are coming with embedded LEDs and lightweight batteries. You also get a small diameter and a better grip over the holder and can carry the impact wrench for longer hours. A small diameter is convenient and never hurts your hand. Likewise, the presence of LED lights on the impact wrenches lets you work in areas where there is no light or has low-light.
So, after discussing every possible feature of an impact wrench, we have come at the end of the blog. The conclusion of the whole discussion of the best size of impact wrench is a bit relative. It depends on the appliances and the machines you are working on and the type of nuts you are trying to unbolt.
For bigger and complex appliances, 3/4-inch is a good option as it gives higher torque, more comfort, and high reliability. These impact wrenches are more powerful and last for decades. Opt for the ½-inch impact wrench if you want to choose if you are working with small appliances and need to take the impact wrench from place to place. A ½-inch impact wrench isn’t big in the size and light in weight. To enjoy the portability feature, choose Lithium-ion batteries as heavy batteries affect the overall performance of the impact wrench.
Also, don’t forget the torque as it determines how rapidly and effectively you can work with an impact wrench. If you have any other important features or tidbits to share with us, don’t hesitate and do let us know in the comments.