How To Use an Air Impact Wrench: Quick Guide for Beginners

One of the mechanic’s best friends and handy tools in the shed is the air impact wrench. This piece of tool will help a mechanic in various ways to complete tasks around the home. One noteworthy benefit is you can replace it with an air ratchet, lug wrench, and breaker to remove any stubborn nut swiftly. 

Naturally, the first-time buyer couldn’t easily complete their task because the starting process isn’t simple. That’s why we are here to notify you of the process of how to use an air impact wrench.

We will discuss not only the using process of an air impact wrench but also show you how it works. So, fret not and start going through the following discussion.  

The working mechanism of an air wrench

Can’t loosen the stubborn nut? Don’t worry, invest in an impact wrench, hopefully, make your task easier. You will find three different types of impact wrench i.e air impact wrench, electric impact wrench, and cordless impact wrench

Among those, an electric impact wrench offers both cordless and corded electric impact wrench. We aren’t here to provide all the impact wrench details, instead, we talk only about the air impact wrench. 

An air impact wrench delivers torque to complete the project perfectly. You can adjust the torque  based on the project. The working process is the same for all types of impact wrenches. So,  let’s get started.

  • An air impact wrench offers two holes in the base side. One hole is used to force air inside. That airflow goes to the system’s backplate and then uses a rotor cylinder to touch the rotor blades. After that, the motor starts spinning. 
  • Inside the impact wrench, you will find the hammer cage and hammer. Those two items rotate simultaneously using a spline and then tighten or loosen the bolt and nut.

A simple guide of using an air impact wrench 

At your first glance, you can relate an air impact wrench with a drill. The body section is usually fabricated with silver metal and a pistol grip. 

Therefore, you can count it as heavy duty. Next up, a switch is attached to deliver maximum torque output using minimal exertion. 

However, after buying an intake air impact wrench, you need to go through three simple processes to use it. 

Step by step process: Ways to use impact wrench

#Step No. 1:

Your air impact wrench demands some tools to assemble. So, what could be your first assembling task? Well, for that, you need to take a rubber pipe named air hose and attach it to the end of the air impact wrench. Another end needs to attach to the air pressure unit. 

After perfectly assembled, the air impact wrench will give you stable air pressure. Hopefully, you notice the trigger which works to release the right amount and level of air pressure. Also, the trigger will help you to regulate the air pressure. 

Note: When we are talking about tools, we mean impact sockets and others, be careful with the high force. Try to maintain a firm grip. Otherwise, you may lose your grip and destroy the socket. Eventually, facing a sudden accident.

#Step No. 02: 

After passing the first step perfectly, now you need to see whether it can release the right amount of air pressure. So, conducting a test is necessary. 

For that, you need to take a compressor and set up a limit between 90 to 100 pounds per square inch (PSI). Now, press the switch and see whether it can release the right amount of pressure. 

After that, you need to conduct a quick test to see whether it is straightened out. Also, check out if there are any twists or kinks in the rubber hose?

Another point that demands testing is the direction. For that, you need to touch the switch lightly and see the turning. However, a latch or knob is hopefully visible to you by which you can reverse the direction of the socket. 

Note: Keep in mind, too much pressure means more damage. Always be careful with the amount of torque you are applying. Whenever you are removing a tire, 

  • First, park the car on the ground, then separate the nuts. 
  • When you are done to make sure the nuts are tightened enough, give a little torque. 

#Step No. 03: 

When you tighten or loosen any large stubborn bolt, lug nut, and rusted or frozen fastener, you need to ensure the right speed. 

For that, this handy kit offers a dial to control the speed depending on the project. Now, you need to examine if the air impact wrench offers blissful torque. 

Now ask yourself, can both speed and torque level satisfy you? If the answer is affirmative, then attach a socket to your wrench. 

After attaching the right socket, now take it to your vehicle’s wheel nut and slip that slightly. You can buy impact sockets from amazon and then press the trigger to lose the nut. Hopefully,  you are done perfectly. 

Note: You can use air tool oil to keep your air impact wrench from rust. Moreover, that oil will lengthen your air impact wrench life. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): how to use impact wrench

Q1: How much air do you need to run an impact wrench?

Answer: Many impact wrenches demand a minimum air compressor like 90 PSI to complete any task correctly. Moreover, some small compressors (which come with 1.5 to 3 horsepower) can deliver the user 120 to 150 PSI. 

Q2: What are air impact wrenches good for?

Answer: Some similar names of an air impact wrench are torque gun or rattle gun. This handy tool comes with compressed air, which helps you to tighten and loosen any bolt and nut. While working with an air impact wrench, you can hear a hissing-type sound. 

Q3: What type of socket should be used with an air impact wrench?

Answer: Sockets come in a variety of drive sizes. A 3/8 drive socket should be used with an air impact wrench. 

Q4: Do I need an impact wrench? 

Answer: It is not necessary unless you work in a mechanical shop, mostly in auto repair. This is an essential tool for tightening the bolts of car wheels. It made the process way too much  easier for people. You can find this tool’s best usage in formula car racing. 

Q5: Is an impact wrench better than a breaker bar?

Answer: There is a significant difference between both. You can easily use them for your new or old cars. However, the impact wrench works faster than the breaker bar with a little force applied. 

Again, you may find the breaker bar comfortable as they are the same size. Whereas impact wrench comes in different sizes and different torque.



Shawkat is a passionate home and auto mechanic who enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He has been working on cars and homes for over 9 years and has a wealth of experience to share. From indoor tools to outdoors, crafting to automotive, you will see his passion for tools. And he is not alone here, either. He collaborates with other users to give you the best possible tool experience. As the founder of Geartoolsbuddy, Shakat is always happy to help people with their queries and doubts about power and hand tools.