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OT: Impact wrench vs. breaker bar

Superbowl

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
I know the proper way is to use a torque wrench on wheel lugs but I am too lazy for that. What I do is watch the engraved writing/numbers on the socket as the impact gun tightens the nut. When they start moving slowly I lay off the trigger.
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
I know the proper way is to use a torque wrench on wheel lugs but I am too lazy for that. What I do is watch the engraved writing/numbers on the socket as the impact gun tightens the nut. When they start moving slowly I lay off the trigger.
I've never done that. Nope, not me. At least not when I have a torque wrench handy. 😁
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
I know the proper way is to use a torque wrench on wheel lugs but I am too lazy for that. What I do is watch the engraved writing/numbers on the socket as the impact gun tightens the nut. When they start moving slowly I lay off the trigger.
thats how you rip the threads out of the lug nuts and it takes the whole stud with it when removed.............. Ive had to fix too many lug nuts and studs because of this type of tightening.
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
thats how you rip the threads out of the lug nuts and it takes the whole stud with it when removed.............. Ive had to fix too many lug nuts and studs because of this type of tightening.
I can't speak for SB but when I have ever done this it's while feathering the trigger. Watching the lug slow down and seeing the amount of socket rotation with every individual impact generally gets it pretty close once you have a feel for your individual impact wrench, but I still generally follow with a breaker bar just to feel how tight they are when it's necessary to tighten without a torque wrench. I've never had a stripped or broken lug stud.
 

steve45

Stainless
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Location
Midland, Texas
I cannot tell you how much I absolute HATE Discount Tire! And I've been in their stores at least a hundred times.

After I had to change a flat on a dirt road in the boonies 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico and split a Proto 1/2" drive socket trying to get a lug nut off, I had a little talk with them about using a torque wrench. They told me that they didn't use torque wrenches because they use torque sticks--which proved to me that they used the wrong torque stick or that they don't work. On my subsequent trip to DT, I told them to use a torque wrench and they said they didn't have one. I told them that I brought my own and they could use it. They told me that there would be an additional charge and I asked how much. They couldn't give me an answer. Got the manager involved and I told him to back the vehicle out of the bay with the lug nuts loose and I would tighten them myself in the parking lot. They certainly wouldn't agree to do that, so after a lot of cursing and name calling, I won.

I've gone round and round with them about wheel balancing. I've had my wheels balanced 3 times in one day, with 3 different balancers from 2 different stores. Took the manager for a ride and asked him why his 2 balancers disagreed so much--and both were wrong... I finally went to a brand new store a hundred miles away and their balancer worked fine.

Don't get me started about fixing holes in sidewalls of radial tires (which is perfectly safe if done with a boot designed for radial tires). Discount uses plugs to fix holes in the tread and I've had one cause separation that ran from the tread to the sidewall and ruined an otherwise good tire.

Then there's DT's policy about replacing valve stems every time they install new tires. I told them not to on my last tires because the stems were replaced a few months before when I replaced the TPMS sensors. They did it without telling me and, sure enough, the next morning I had a flat tire because the new valve stem leaked. I went back and blew up in the manager's face. HE put me at the front of the line, HE pulled the tire off himself and HE installed a new valve stem and tested it while I stood there and watched him. I told him that he wasted an hour of his time and two hours of my time because their idiots wouldn't do what I told them to do. I told him that there would be hell to pay if they didn't follow my instructions in the future.

They have some serious notes about me in their customer file and they cringe every time I walk in the store.

Like I said, I HATE Discount Tire!

Rant over.
 

edwin dirnbeck

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Location
st,louis mo
Question: will an impact wrench remove fasteners without destroying them that a breaker bar cannot?

Here’s the background. 2005 Explorer went in to the dealer last summer for some exhaust work, dealer said all four struts needed to be replaced, I said OK. Dealer said he could not replace RR strut, as they could not get wheel off. Said they tried breaker bar with pipe extension, no luck. I found that a bit tough to take, as car had had tires replaced six months previously. Why they didn’t use impact gun to loosen I don’t know.

Next time car was in, I asked them to please make sure all lug nuts could be removed. Obviously, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere with a flat and no way to change it. They said they had loosened and re-tightened all lug nuts, and all were fine.

Month later, I wanted to check the emergency brake shoes. RR lug nuts again a problem. Too tight to loosen with a large four-way wrench. Tried a breaker bar with a pipe on it, but worried it would bend. So I went down to HF, bought their heaviest breaker bar - 36”, 3/4” drive. Had to turn down a six-point impact socket to fit into the wheel. Got the wheel off, but broke two studs in the process. Went back to the dealer. They were embarrassed and replaced the studs, no charge.

When I got the car back, I loosened and tightened all of the lug nuts just to be sure. I put Never-Seez on them. Yeah, I know they don’t recommend it, but I don’t mind checking them periodically.

Which all made me wonder - if I had used an impact gun rather than the breaker bar to remove the frozen lug nuts, would those studs likely have snapped?
An impact gun applies a more pure TWISTING force. A breaker bar can SIDE LOAD a lug nut,especialy if you have deep dish wheels and must use an extention to reach the lug nut.Edwin Dirnbeck
 

Superbowl

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
An impact gun applies a more pure TWISTING force. A breaker bar can SIDE LOAD a lug nut,especialy if you have deep dish wheels and must use an extention to reach the lug nut.Edwin Dirnbeck

That is exactly right. The "X" shaped lug wrenches help with evening the pressure but still not as good as an impact gun.
 

DanielG

Stainless
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Location
Maine
They use lots of salt here, so everything rusts. I find the impact is less likely to break the studs. It always applies a pure moment with no side loading, which is difficult with a breaker bar. It also seems like the vibration from the impact helps break up the rust, but that might be wishful thinking.
 

Mr.M

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Location
MN, USA
I cannot tell you how much I absolute HATE Discount Tire! And I've been in their stores at least a hundred times.

After I had to change a flat on a dirt road in the boonies 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico and split a Proto 1/2" drive socket trying to get a lug nut off, I had a little talk with them about using a torque wrench. They told me that they didn't use torque wrenches because they use torque sticks--which proved to me that they used the wrong torque stick or that they don't work. On my subsequent trip to DT, I told them to use a torque wrench and they said they didn't have one. I told them that I brought my own and they could use it. They told me that there would be an additional charge and I asked how much. They couldn't give me an answer. Got the manager involved and I told him to back the vehicle out of the bay with the lug nuts loose and I would tighten them myself in the parking lot. They certainly wouldn't agree to do that, so after a lot of cursing and name calling, I won.

I've gone round and round with them about wheel balancing. I've had my wheels balanced 3 times in one day, with 3 different balancers from 2 different stores. Took the manager for a ride and asked him why his 2 balancers disagreed so much--and both were wrong... I finally went to a brand new store a hundred miles away and their balancer worked fine.

Don't get me started about fixing holes in sidewalls of radial tires (which is perfectly safe if done with a boot designed for radial tires). Discount uses plugs to fix holes in the tread and I've had one cause separation that ran from the tread to the sidewall and ruined an otherwise good tire.

Then there's DT's policy about replacing valve stems every time they install new tires. I told them not to on my last tires because the stems were replaced a few months before when I replaced the TPMS sensors. They did it without telling me and, sure enough, the next morning I had a flat tire because the new valve stem leaked. I went back and blew up in the manager's face. HE put me at the front of the line, HE pulled the tire off himself and HE installed a new valve stem and tested it while I stood there and watched him. I told him that he wasted an hour of his time and two hours of my time because their idiots wouldn't do what I told them to do. I told him that there would be hell to pay if they didn't follow my instructions in the future.

They have some serious notes about me in their customer file and they cringe every time I walk in the store.

Like I said, I HATE Discount Tire!

Rant over.
Dude, at this point maybe don't go there anymore. There is probably another tire shop. :p
 

1yesca

Stainless
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
I cannot tell you how much I absolute HATE Discount Tire! And I've been in their stores at least a hundred times.

After I had to change a flat on a dirt road in the boonies 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico and split a Proto 1/2" drive socket trying to get a lug nut off, I had a little talk with them about using a torque wrench. They told me that they didn't use torque wrenches because they use torque sticks--which proved to me that they used the wrong torque stick or that they don't work. On my subsequent trip to DT, I told them to use a torque wrench and they said they didn't have one. I told them that I brought my own and they could use it. They told me that there would be an additional charge and I asked how much. They couldn't give me an answer. Got the manager involved and I told him to back the vehicle out of the bay with the lug nuts loose and I would tighten them myself in the parking lot. They certainly wouldn't agree to do that, so after a lot of cursing and name calling, I won.

I've gone round and round with them about wheel balancing. I've had my wheels balanced 3 times in one day, with 3 different balancers from 2 different stores. Took the manager for a ride and asked him why his 2 balancers disagreed so much--and both were wrong... I finally went to a brand new store a hundred miles away and their balancer worked fine.

Don't get me started about fixing holes in sidewalls of radial tires (which is perfectly safe if done with a boot designed for radial tires). Discount uses plugs to fix holes in the tread and I've had one cause separation that ran from the tread to the sidewall and ruined an otherwise good tire.

Then there's DT's policy about replacing valve stems every time they install new tires. I told them not to on my last tires because the stems were replaced a few months before when I replaced the TPMS sensors. They did it without telling me and, sure enough, the next morning I had a flat tire because the new valve stem leaked. I went back and blew up in the manager's face. HE put me at the front of the line, HE pulled the tire off himself and HE installed a new valve stem and tested it while I stood there and watched him. I told him that he wasted an hour of his time and two hours of my time because their idiots wouldn't do what I told them to do. I told him that there would be hell to pay if they didn't follow my instructions in the future.

They have some serious notes about me in their customer file and they cringe every time I walk in the store.

Like I said, I HATE Discount Tire!

Rant over.
that's to bad i have use them [Discount Tire] for over 35 years and had have no problems with them but also i am a oem
stock guy no penis extension gear head bullshit for me but you know you can always get your own tire machines and do it
yourself and that way it will be done the way you want it and if it takes a shit you can stand in front of a mirror and yell at
yourself
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
that's to bad i have use them [Discount Tire] for over 35 years and had have no problems with them but also i am a oem
stock guy no penis extension gear head bullshit for me but you know you can always get your own tire machines and do it
yourself and that way it will be done the way you want it and if it takes a shit you can stand in front of a mirror and yell at
yourself
xlation to engrish pleaze...
 

car2

Stainless
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Apex, NC
I cannot tell you how much I absolute HATE Discount Tire! And I've been in their stores at least a hundred times.

After I had to change a flat on a dirt road in the boonies 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico and split a Proto 1/2" drive socket trying to get a lug nut off, I had a little talk with them about using a torque wrench. They told me that they didn't use torque wrenches because they use torque sticks--which proved to me that they used the wrong torque stick or that they don't work. On my subsequent trip to DT, I told them to use a torque wrench and they said they didn't have one. I told them that I brought my own and they could use it. They told me that there would be an additional charge and I asked how much. They couldn't give me an answer. Got the manager involved and I told him to back the vehicle out of the bay with the lug nuts loose and I would tighten them myself in the parking lot. They certainly wouldn't agree to do that, so after a lot of cursing and name calling, I won.

I've gone round and round with them about wheel balancing. I've had my wheels balanced 3 times in one day, with 3 different balancers from 2 different stores. Took the manager for a ride and asked him why his 2 balancers disagreed so much--and both were wrong... I finally went to a brand new store a hundred miles away and their balancer worked fine.

Don't get me started about fixing holes in sidewalls of radial tires (which is perfectly safe if done with a boot designed for radial tires). Discount uses plugs to fix holes in the tread and I've had one cause separation that ran from the tread to the sidewall and ruined an otherwise good tire.

Then there's DT's policy about replacing valve stems every time they install new tires. I told them not to on my last tires because the stems were replaced a few months before when I replaced the TPMS sensors. They did it without telling me and, sure enough, the next morning I had a flat tire because the new valve stem leaked. I went back and blew up in the manager's face. HE put me at the front of the line, HE pulled the tire off himself and HE installed a new valve stem and tested it while I stood there and watched him. I told him that he wasted an hour of his time and two hours of my time because their idiots wouldn't do what I told them to do. I told him that there would be hell to pay if they didn't follow my instructions in the future.

They have some serious notes about me in their customer file and they cringe every time I walk in the store.

Like I said, I HATE Discount Tire!

Rant over.
Always had GREAT service with Discount Tire, and everyone that I've referred to them has also; many sets of tires over decades. They even swapped the tires purchased from them on a VW that got crushed by a tree, onto new rims on another, for free and with original warranty. (No affiliation whatsoever with DT). And unlike other "tire" stores, never had a problem removing lug-nuts on their installations. They also don't feed folks a bunch of sales BS, and try to find the best tire for one's car and budget.
 
Last edited:

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
Impact wrenches are not good for tightening. My daughter's Honda transmission oil plug boss disintegrated when the mechanic loosed it by hand. Mechanic said a sure sign of impact wrench misuse.
That's not 100% accurate. As previously mentioned it's important that the mechanic understands what he's doing. They sell 3/8" drive and 1/4" drive impact wrenches for a reason. Use of the wrong tool or wrong technique is always a problem even with hand tools. Tightening that same plug with a 1/2" drive breaker bar would've caused the same problem.
 

ratbldr427

Stainless
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Location
jacksonville,fl.
Fastenall has a good bolt torque chart with dry and lubed fastener values. There are others as well. That being said probably the most accurate method is to measure stretch. It ignores all the frictional elements which the torque wrench dosn't. They are popular because of ease of use and better than nothing.

One could, for home use, with open end nuts and box wrenches fasten an indicator to measure stretch if you had the stretch values available. Not practicable in a commercial environment.

Some auto mfg's use an angle measurement to supply the correct torque. It makes sense because the rotation is a portion of the pitch which ignores any frictional loads. Example one flat on a hex on a 20tpi would be aprox .008" stretch.

Last is torque to yield fasteners but that dosn't apply to wheel bolts.

I just had to pull a wheel of my Traverse after having the tires replaced a month ago and thought the lugs not seem very tight. I checked the manual and they are 140 ft lb.!
 

Nmbmxer

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Location
VA
My favorite is when someone tightens a bolt with an impact then puts the torque wrench on and it immediately clicks. Then they apply the torque stripe since it’s “ now torqued”. If it immediately clicks you over tightened it with the impact and need to start over…
 

Corn

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
I know the proper way is to use a torque wrench on wheel lugs but I am too lazy for that. What I do is watch the engraved writing/numbers on the socket as the impact gun tightens the nut. When they start moving slowly I lay off the trigger.
Or get torque stick for impact wrench. With that you cannot overtighten as the stick starts flexing when reach its designated torque.
 








 
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