What Are Impact Wrenches Used For? [In Detail]

What Are Impact Wrenches Used For? Impact wrenches are perhaps one of the most powerful handheld tools that come in use widely to loosen and fasten the lug nuts of car tires. Car mechanics mostly use this powerful tool for changing tires. There are multiple types of this handheld tool and their way of working. If you want to know what this is all about, then keep reading. This is the ultimate guide where we will cover everything about impact wrenches in detail.

What is an Impact Wrench?

What is an Impact Wrench

An impact wrench is one of the power tools that help tighten and undo large bolts, lug nuts, and rusted or frozen bolts. It gives an elevated rotational torque which a regular power drill fails to provide. Torque is the proportion of force that is needed to move something.

This powerful handheld tool can attain this with an inner hammering mechanism that delivers the output shaft with kinetic energy. Yes, they can transmit high torque output with only the least exertion by their user. So, they are commonly used in industries like the automotive industry and construction industry. Apart from these industries, impact wrenches are also one of the loved tools across other industries where there is a need for high torque production.

What Are Impact Wrenches Used For?

Suppose you have to undo a stubborn nut or a frozen bolt using a hand wrench. It won’t be possible to make them loose with the normal hand force. Here comes the function of impact wrenches.

As already mentioned, the vast use of impact wrenches in the automotive industry help to remove lug nuts while changing the tires of a car. That is why they have become a powerful must-have tool for every automotive shop and vehicle repairing shop.

Along with this, an impact wrench is also useful in automobile assembly, assembly of heavy equipment, manufacturing of large construction operations, machine tools and maintenance. They are excellent in increasing productivity by replacing breaker bars or ratchet wrenches in a much easier and faster way. Its high torque originates from a hammering mechanism that delivers faster and stronger concussive blows.

Consequently, this develops a great force that facilitates undoing the nuts and bolts even if they are extremely hard. The motor puts on a continual twisting motion, primarily in minor bursts to the bolts or nuts. Ultimately, this leads to the movement of the bolts to either tighten or loosen them. Also, they are either powered by compressed air or an electric motor.

How to Use Impact Wrench on Lug Nuts

What are the Types of Impact Wrenches?

Impact wrenches can be easily categorized according to their use of power sources. Typically, electric motors and compressed air are used as a source of power in impact wrenches. Accordingly, there are air impact wrenches, corded electric motors, and cordless impact wrenches in the tools market.

Air Impact Wrench

Air impact wrenches are the most used impact wrenches in automotive assembly lines, automobile repair shops, manufacturing, maintenance of heavy equipment, etc. They have simple engineering designs with no electric parts. So, there is a rare chance of malfunction.

The best part is that an air impact wrench does not get heated as the heat cools down by the circulating compressed air. This makes it suitable for use in assembly lines for a long working time.


  • It is quite inexpensive
  • The air cools the heat produced by the rotating elements
  • Ideal for long working hours


  • It has limited power over-torque and speed
  • Works with an only continuous supply of compressed air

Corded Impact Wrenches

Corded impact wrenches are powered by an electric motor that must be plugged into the electric socket to turn them on. Its electric motor present in the rear end helps to operate the hammer units and transfer motions to its output shaft.

best Corded Impact Wrenches


  • It is portable as there is no need to carry an air compressor
  • Provides better torque control and speed


  • It is more costly than air tools
  • It May get overheated due to the moving parts

Cordless Impact Wrench

Cordless impact wrenches run with a battery. That is why it has a unique advantage to use over other wrench types. They are best to keep it in the car trunk or boot and take it out to use when there is a need to change tires.

Moreover, the no-cord design allows the use of them even in a compact workspace where other types can be a setback. However, its rechargeable batteries get drained faster, especially when used for a long time to make movement on stubborn bolts and nuts. As its battery drains quickly, the user must keep extra Li-ion rechargeable batteries.


  • It is highly portable
  • Suitable for use in both large or compact spaces


  • It is highly expensive
  • Battery life drains out quickly
  • It is heavier than corded and air tools

How do Impact Wrenches Work?

Impact wrenches are available in every size of standard socket drive. Where ½” size is the most commonly used, 1″ and ¾” drives come with high power. Their source of power operates the rotor, which in turn runs both the hammer and hammer cage. During the drive with no resistance on the output shaft, the power of the driving motor gets transferred to the anvil. The hammer mechanism present inside the impact tool elevates in the absence of required force.

Thus, when the output shaft gets resistant, the hammer falls from the engaging pin. This results in a higher velocity of rotation that further stores higher energy and connects with the output shaft. Eventually, the rotating hammer transmits the stored kinetic energy to the output shaft. As a result, there occurs a very high twisting torque on the output shaft.

Once the energy gets absorbed, the output shaft again faces resistance. In that case, the blow of energy will cycle.

Final Thought

An impact wrench is a highly useful handheld device that can make movement in stubborn over-torques nuts rusted bolts with high torque force quickly and easily. So, they are best used in automobile repair, maintenance of bulky machinery, and assembly units.



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