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How to Lubricate an Impact Wrench Correctly

Air impact wrench on work bench
13 November 2023 113 view(s)

When using an impact wrench to tighten and loosen fasteners, its components move about, causing friction and heat. Over time, this occurrence eventually affects the tool's performance, making regular lubrication necessary.

Heamar supplies a range of impact wrenches, but no matter which you acquire, you should make lubrication a key part of your maintenance to ensure your tool's longevity and optimal performance.

Neglecting maintenance can lead to decreased efficiency, increased wear and tear, and even irreparable damage to your tool.

Continue reading this guide to discover more about why lubrication is necessary. Also, find out how to lubricate your impact wrench to help mitigate issues.

What Can Happen If You Don't Lubricate An Impact Wrench?

Impact wrench being used on car wheel

Neglecting to lubricate an impact wrench can result in several adverse consequences:

Overheating

Without proper lubrication, friction rises, leading to overheating and potential damage to vital components.

Premature Wear and Damage

Inadequate lubrication accelerates wear and can lead to the breakdown of critical parts like gears and bearings.

Reduced Efficiency

As friction accumulates, tool efficiency declines, resulting in decreased torque output and reduced performance.

Warranty Voidance

Neglecting lubrication may void warranties, leaving you responsible for costly repairs or replacements.

Safety Hazards

Improperly lubricated tools can behave erratically, posing safety risks to operators and others nearby.

Which Specific Parts On An Impact Wrench Need Lubricating?

Impact wrench parts

There are two parts of your impact wrench to consider when lubricating it: the motor and the impact mechanism.

Many people neglect to lubricate the impact mechanism; however, all of the tool's parts are interdependent, so if one component isn't working as it should, it affects the overall function.  

So, lubricate the hammer mechanism, anvil, bearings, and gears.

But how do you know when your impact wrench needs lubricating?

Below are some signs that may indicate your impact wrench requires lubrication.

Sound

When your tool makes unusual noises, such as a persistent scratching sound, it's a clear signal that lubrication is needed. Typically, this noise arises when two metals are in close contact, generating friction.

Odour

If you notice a burning scent coming from your impact wrench, it indicates the tool's need for lubrication. 

Heat

Using an impact wrench can generate significant heat. Therefore, monitoring the tool's temperature is essential to ensure it does not overheat. Most often, excessive heat is a consequence of insufficient lubrication. 

Black Residue

A well-maintained tool should not produce any visible dust or residue. Observing black dust on your wrench indicates that the interior is dry and lacks lubricants.

What Types Of Lubrication Can Be Used On An Impact Wrench?

Spanners and grease

How you lubricate the impact mechanism depends on your tool's specific system, but you do it in one of two ways.

Grease

With the grease method, you carefully apply grease to the critical points of your impact wrench using your hand or brush.

Oil bath

Using the oil bath method, you submerge the entire front part of your impact wrench in oil. Be aware that an oil bath is not appropriate for every tool.

You can acquire numerous types of impact wrench and air tool lubricants; whichever lubricant you choose, you must ensure it is suitable for your specific tool. 

Heamar supplies a lubricant care kit for impact wrenches, containing oil, grease, and a grease pump to help extend the life of your tool.

We also supply Ingersoll Rand lubricant for impact tools; a heavy-duty grease specifically formulated for Ingersoll-Rand impact tool hammer mechanisms.

How To Lubricate An Impact Wrench

Holding an impact wrench

Lubricate the motor of your impact wrench via an airline lubricator that you add to the FRL (Filter, Regulator, Lubricator) system or directly at the air inlet. 

If you’re using the oil method to lubricate the impact mechanism, carefully open your tool, drain the old oil, and replace it with new oil.

However, follow the below steps when lubricating your impact mechanism via the grease method.

1. Identify the Type of Lubricant Needed.

To determine the type of lubricant you need for your impact wrench, refer to the manufacturer's recommendations and the specific requirements of the tool.

2. Check Your Warranty.

Before lubricating an impact wrench, it is essential to carefully review the warranty terms and conditions provided by the manufacturer. This is because many warranties for power tools, including impact wrenches, often come with specific maintenance requirements and guidelines. 

Reviewing these guidelines ensures that you're following the manufacturer's recommended procedures for lubrication and other maintenance tasks.

Manufacturers may specify the type of lubricant to use, the frequency of lubrication, and the proper procedures for application. Adhering to these requirements is critical to maintaining the warranty's validity.

Be aware that impact wrench warranties vary in terms of their duration. Some warranties may last a few months, while others extend for several years.

3. Take the Impact Wrench Apart.

Before starting, consult the manufacturer's documentation for your impact wrench model, as the disassembly process can vary between models. Also, consider that disassembling the tool may void the warranty.

Ensure the impact wrench is disconnected from the power source (unplugged or battery removed) to prevent accidental activation during disassembly. Wear safety glasses and gloves for added protection.

Check for visible screws or fasteners on the outer casing and remove them using the appropriate screwdrivers or tools.

Carefully pry apart the housing of the impact wrench. This may involve removing additional screws or unclipping plastic tabs. Pay attention to how the housing is secured, and take your time to avoid breaking any tabs or latches.

Use a soft mallet or rubber hammer to gently tap and separate the housing if it's stuck due to friction or gaskets.

Once you have removed the housing, you'll have better access to the internal components, such as the impact mechanism, motor, and gearbox.

As mentioned, each mechanical component in an impact wrench plays a critical role in its operation. Separating these parts allows for precise lubrication of each element.

4. Apply the Lubricant.

Before applying lubricant, wipe down your impact wrench’s exterior to remove dirt and debris.

Refer to the manufacturer's instructions to determine the points they recommend lubricating.

Then, apply a small amount of recommended lubricant to designated points using your hands or a brush. Try to avoid over-greasing.

Pneumatic impact wrenches tend to have multiple grease fittings, enabling you to apply grease through holes.

Use a clean cloth to remove excess lubricant, especially in crevices.

5. Reassemble and Test Your Impact Wrench.

Refer to the manufacturer's manual for guidance on reassembling your impact wrench.

Once assembled, carefully test your impact wrench. You must do this part slowly, ensuring you listen and look for any signs that might indicate something is wrong. 

Below is an explanation of why testing your impact wrench at this stage is essential.

Verification of Proper Lubrication

Testing the tool allows you to confirm that you have adequately distributed the lubricant to critical components.

Functional Integrity

Testing ensures that the impact wrench functions as expected. It verifies that you have correctly reassembled all internal components and are working together harmoniously.

Safety

Testing helps identify potential issues or malfunctions that pose safety risks during operation. It's essential for maintaining a safe work environment.

Now you know why lubricating your impact wrench is critical and the signs to look for that indicate your tool requires maintenance. Following our step-by-step instructions, you should also understand how to lubricate your impact wrench.

Remember, regularly lubricating your impact wrench will increase its performance, longevity, and safety. 

At Heamar, we supply various impact wrenches and other power tools and accessories; if you require help choosing the right equipment for your project, contact us today.
 

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