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Impact driver for auto work? #5218248 09/20/19 07:27 PM
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Klutch9 Offline OP
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Recently picked up a multi-tool Milwaukee kit that included the 2853-20 impact driver. This thing is an absolute monster. I bought some socket adapters for the hex drive, so I can use it for light automotive work. Any reason why this would be bad for it? It’s basically just a small impact wrench, with a different drive. I may bust a few adapters along the way but that’s not the end of the world. I see many people online saying “Don’t do it!” but never offer any valid reasons. Again, it’s basically just a less powerful impact wrench, that can still break loose 300 ft/lb according to real world tests.


'11 Fusion SE 2.5L - 93k miles - HK 0w20 syn, Carquest Blue filter
'08 Sedona LX LWB 3.8L - 149k miles - Havoline HM 5w20, Fram XG filter
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218250 09/20/19 07:34 PM
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Astro14 Online Content
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I would use that for its intended purpose: driving screws. It will excellent at that.

Then get a Makita XWT11Z.

They excel at actual impact wrench (not driver) tasks, like lug bolts and the like. Stuff that will absolutely break your new impact driver and the adapters that it uses for sockets.

. Makita XWT11Z


32 Packard 15W40
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02 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 Edge
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Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Astro14] #5218255 09/20/19 07:39 PM
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Klutch9 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Astro14
I would use that for its intended purpose: driving screws. It will excellent at that.

Then get a Makita XWT11Z.

They excel at actual impact wrench (not driver) tasks, like lug bolts and the like. Stuff that will absolutely break your new impact driver and the adapters that it uses for sockets.

. Makita XWT11Z


That’s what I don’t understand. Why will it hurt the tool? As long as it’s within the capabilities of the tool and you’re not blasting away at the impact on a fastener that it can’t remove, what’s the issue? I see people with actual impact wrenches gunning for 20-30 seconds on stubborn fasteners and no one blinks an eye. FWIW, I will eventually be getting the M18 mid-torque impact wrench for big stuff.


'11 Fusion SE 2.5L - 93k miles - HK 0w20 syn, Carquest Blue filter
'08 Sedona LX LWB 3.8L - 149k miles - Havoline HM 5w20, Fram XG filter
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218262 09/20/19 07:52 PM
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Astro14 Online Content
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I’ve broken stuff when I’ve used them for purposes for which they weren’t intended. Sockets. Tools. All kinds of stuff.

That’s why folks say, “don’t do it”.

But feel free to try it.

Report back.

Last edited by Astro14; 09/20/19 07:53 PM.

32 Packard 15W40
01 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 AMSOIL SS
02 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 Edge
02 Volvo V70 XC 0W40 Edge
05 MB S600 0W40 M1
16 Tundra 1794 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218301 09/20/19 08:44 PM
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AVB Offline
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It will be fine. I don't have any experience with Milwaukee's newer tools, I have had a pinion gear come loose in a DeWalt. I have a 3 year old Makita that gets used daily and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218307 09/20/19 08:56 PM
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wensteph Offline
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If you're going to follow Astro's suggestion get the Milwaukee 2767-20. It's an actual 1/2 impact wrench that takes the same M18 battery you already have.

Northern Tool has it for $249 with a free M18 battery until 10/31/19

Last edited by wensteph; 09/20/19 09:06 PM. Reason: Add Northern Tool deal
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218312 09/20/19 08:58 PM
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clinebarger Offline
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I used a Dewalt 18volt 1/4" impact driver for years with 3/8" & 1/4" drive adaptors. For light work it will be fine!

If you want to pull lugnuts....You will need a dedicated 3/8" or 1/2" Impact.


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
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Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218322 09/20/19 09:12 PM
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Driz Offline
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I use my M12 all the time. Still you gotta be careful not to snap off rusty bolts and be [censored] sure that they’re not starting cross threaded going in. Just be easy on the trigger

Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Astro14] #5218333 09/20/19 09:31 PM
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demarpaint Offline
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Originally Posted by Astro14
I would use that for its intended purpose: driving screws. It will excellent at that.

Then get a Makita XWT11Z.

They excel at actual impact wrench (not driver) tasks, like lug bolts and the like. Stuff that will absolutely break your new impact driver and the adapters that it uses for sockets.

. Makita XWT11Z

thumbsup Great tool for the money.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5218567 09/21/19 07:15 AM
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HangFire Offline
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One issue with using an impact driver with a socket adapter is the fit. The adapter is loose in the driver socket, and that results in loss of energy.

The second issue is the impact design.

When driving a screw, you're dealing with low mass, medium high resistance. That is what the hammer system of the impact driver is optimized for, which emphasizes energy over torque.

When driving a bolt, it's the other way around, high mass, low resistance. When removing a bolt, it's high mass, very high resistance. Neither are the forte' of the impact driver.

Will it move nuts and bolts on and off? Yes, up to a point. I've used them in a pinch. I did use a chrome socket on one, once. I was wondering what all the tiny tinsel was, falling from the work. It was the inner chrome of the socket.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: clinebarger] #5218577 09/21/19 07:27 AM
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RyanY Offline
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Originally Posted by clinebarger
I used a Dewalt 18volt 1/4" impact driver for years with 3/8" & 1/4" drive adaptors. For light work it will be fine!

If you want to pull lugnuts....You will need a dedicated 3/8" or 1/2" Impact.

^this
I still use my old 18V Dewalt 1/4" for lots of things on cars, including with 3/8 drive adapter. In fact I usually grab the little dewalt for most jobs and leave the 1/2" on the wall. It will remove most small/medium bolts with no problem but not rusted bolts or lug nuts, etc.


2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L >131k miles; mix of PUP/Magnatec 5W-30 + ACDelco PF2129G

2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L >109k miles; QSUD 0W20 + STP S6607XL
Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5219277 09/21/19 10:01 PM
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Go for it! I have been through 2 12 volt makita 1/4 hex drivers then up graded to dewalt 18 volt then dewalt brushless. No problems at all with any of them. I use the driver a lot and there is something to be said about the hex over a 3/8 square. The hog ring on the end of the 3/8 or 1/2 wears out and your sockets are loose. With the hex you just replace the tip.

Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5220262 09/23/19 08:17 AM
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I'd say 90% of the time, my 20v Dewalt impact driver has a 3/8" drive socket adapter installed.

A good friend of mine has a M18 Milwaukee Fuel set and does have the 1/2" impact wrench, but he was able to remove the lug nuts on his large car trailer with the 1/4" driver.

Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Astro14] #5221124 09/24/19 09:25 AM
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Trav Offline
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+1 The most used impact tool I own. That being said I have a 1/4" Makita driver for the last 11 years and use it only for small bolts M6 or less. The max torque on this tool is 29 ft.lb but that is absolutely perfect for what I do with it, it takes pan and cover bolts off without breaking them, it will rattle them out if over tight.
I also run them up with it even if it impacts 1 time its still under 7 ft.lb so no chance of stripping.

They came out with a new version of this one with 70 ft.lb, for me that is useless and wont buy it, it is way too strong for these little bolts and when you think about it there are a lot of small bolts under the hood that have to come off before getting to the big stuff. I even use a little Bosch driver for interior screws, its also perfect for the job it is being used for, on low it will not strip screws even in plastic which is a god send when removing a dash and console.

For me I find the 1/4" low power driver very useful but if you try to remove bigger bolts with it, forget it the tool will destroy itself, that's when the mid size comes out. I guess it comes down to the right tool for the job.


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Re: Impact driver for auto work? [Re: Klutch9] #5222639 09/25/19 11:50 PM
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I used to do that. Impact driver with adapter and sockets. Decent for automotive work removing 8-10mm sized hex heads.

The problem is that there’s a lot of torque loss through the adapter. You will find that many fasteners will need additional hand tightening because of the energy loss.

After a while, it’ll be likely that you get addicted to cordless power, and get tired of the adapter and the torque loss. I predict you’ll wind up with a 1/2” impact wrench, a 3/8” impact wrench, and all the Milwaukee cordless ratchets in the next 2 years. Why not save yourself the headache and just buy them all now? smile


2003 Honda CRV EX 290,000+ miles
2003 Honda Element EX 330,000+ miles
2018 Ford Transit XLT 27,000+ miles
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