when not to use an impact wrench

When Not To Use An Impact Wrench: Expert Tips!

Scenarios to Avoid Using an Impact Wrench:

  • On stripped bolts or nuts
  • Damage to surrounding materials
  • Where noise is a problem
  • Without the correct socket size
  • While working with delicate materials
  • When precision counts for delicate work
  • Working with small fasteners

The impact wrench stands as a powerful tool, capable of tackling even the most stubborn fasteners with ease. However, like any tool, it has its limits, and knowing when to wield it and when to not use an impact wrench is essential. 

In this piece, we’ll look at instances in which an impact wrench can cause more harm than good.

Key Takeaways 

  • Avoid Using Impact Wrench on Stripped Bolts or Nuts: Impact wrenches should not be used on stripped bolts or nuts as it can further damage the threads or even snap the fastener.
  • Be Cautious with Delicate Materials: Impact wrenches can damage delicate materials like plastic parts, sheet metal, and painted surfaces due to their high torque. It’s advisable to use a less powerful tool when working with these materials.
  • Consider Noise Levels: Impact wrenches are noisy tools, so it’s best to avoid using them in areas with poor acoustic insulation, such as apartments or shared spaces, to avoid causing a disturbance to others.

When to Avoid Using an Impact Wrench

Avoid Using Impact Wrench
Source: The Spruce

Impact wrenches are strong tools that can save you a lot of time and work, but they can also be harmful if not used properly. It’s important to know when to avoid using an impact wrench to avoid damaging your tools, your fasteners, or yourself.

Here are some scenarios when you should avoid using an impact wrench:

On Stripped Bolts or Nuts:

Stripped Bolts
Source: Pip’s Island Home

Impact wrenches shouldn’t be used on stripped bolts or nuts as these are likely to be stressed and weakened. 

As a result, putting an impact wrench on them can severely damage the threads. It can even snap the clasp, making removal even more difficult.

Bonus tip: You can look into Milwaukee M18 impact driver problems as well as impact wrench problems prior to working with stripped nuts and bolts.

Damage to Surrounding Materials:

Damage to Surrounding Materials
Source: Pro Tool Reviews

An impact wrench is a powerful tool, and its high torque can easily damage delicate materials, such as plastic parts, sheet metal, and painted surfaces. It is best to use a less powerful tool when working with these materials

These tools can be a screwdriver, handheld drill, cordless driver, or even manual wrenches depending on the task.

Where Noise is a Problem:

Impact wrenches are very noisy tools, so it is best to avoid using them in places with poor noise insulation. This can be apartments or other shared spaces. This could be a nuisance to others, including pets.

When You Don’t Have the Right Socket?

Right Socket
Source: ElectronicsHub

Impact wrenches are potent tools, and they can easily damage nuts and bolts, especially if you are not careful. If you accidentally round off the fastener head with an impact wrench, it can be very difficult to remove.

When Working With Small Fasteners?

Using an impact wrench on small fasteners is like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. It’s overkill, and it’s likely to cause damage. Small fasteners are delicate and can easily be damaged by the powerful torque of an impact wrench.

To avoid this, use a hand wrench or other tool that allows you to tighten the fasteners with more control and precision. For example, Milwaukee tools like M18 as opposed to M12 provide impact control for better precision.

How To Properly Use Your Impact Wrench For The Job

Impact wrenches are tough instruments that may get the job done quickly, but they can also be harmful if not used properly. Here are some tips on how to properly use an impact wrench:

Use tip-first control for better results:

This entails holding the impact wrench at the handle’s tip. This will give you more control over the tool and help you to avoid making mistakes.

Stop when you feel the friction:

Impact wrenches can easily overtighten fasteners, so it’s critical to stop when you feel friction from a tightened bolt.

Overtightening the fastener might harm it and make it challenging or hard to remove afterward.

Don’t under-tighten either:

Under tightening a fastener can be just as dangerous as overtightening it. Make sure to tighten the fastener enough to secure it properly, but not so much that you damage it.

For optimal effect, maintain a tight hold:

Take a strong and steady grip on the impact wrench handle. This will help you to control the tool and prevent it from wobbling or moving.

Use two-hand control for safety:

Using both hands to control the impact wrench will help you to prevent accidental over- or under-tightening. It will also give you more control over the tool when working on delicate or intricate objects.

Create space to work safely:

Make sure to create enough space around you before using an impact wrench. This will help you to maneuver the tool easily and prevent accidents.

Performance Tips for Using an Impact Wrench

Impact wrenches are powerful time-saving tools, but use them with caution. Here are some tips for using an impact wrench safely and effectively:

Use an extended socket for stubborn nuts:

If you’re having trouble removing a nut, try using an extended socket.This will offer you greater leverage to loosen the nut.

AMM Impact Grade Socket Adapter‎Black Phosphate Surface Finish.
ABN Impact Driver Tool SetGreat to use on any project, especially motors.

Lower the torque for delicate materials:

If you’re working on delicate materials, such as aluminum or plastic, lower the torque setting on your impact wrench to avoid damage.

Wear safety gear:

Impact wrenches can be loud and produce flying debris, so it’s important to wear safety gear, such as eye protection, ear protection, and gloves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is An Impact Wrench Stronger Than A Drill?

Yes, an impact wrench is stronger than a drill. Impact wrenches are designed to deliver high torque in short bursts, which is ideal for loosening and tightening stubborn bolts and nuts. Drills, on the contrary, are intended for drilling holes. They can also be used to drive screws, but they are not as powerful as impact wrenches.

Is It Bad to Remove Lug Nuts With An Impact Wrench?

It is safe to use an impact wrench to remove lug nuts, as long as it is used properly. Be sure to use the correct socket, set the torque to the manufacturer’s recommended setting, and loosen the lug nuts in a star pattern.

Can Impact Wrench Drill Holes?

Yes, an impact wrench can drill holes, but it is not the ideal tool for the job. Impact wrenches are designed to deliver high torque in short bursts, which is ideal for loosening and tightening bolts and nuts. Drills, on the flip side, are used for producing holes. They can also be used to drive screws but are not as powerful as impact wrenches.

Bottom Line

In the realm of mechanical prowess, the impact wrench reigns supreme. However, as our exploration has revealed, knowing when not to use an impact wrench

Remember, the key to mastery lies not only in power but also in precision and prudence.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top