An impact socket is a very handy tool that you should have in your arsenal to help you around the garage and even when you’re taking on some household DIY projects. It is especially necessary if you have to tighten or loosen tough nuts and bolts.

Because impact sockets are such an indispensable tool, it is always helpful to know how to take care of them.

1. What are Impact Sockets?

Impact sockets are power-driven pieces of equipment designed to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. They will usually have a 12-point bolt circle (or bore diameter) and be distinguishable from standard sockets by the hole within the socket, which works in conjunction with the small end of an impact wrench’s square drive adapter to apply torque to the socket.

Impact sockets are a specialized type of socket that can be used with impact wrenches, which are capable of generating high levels of torque to loosen stuck nuts and bolts. Impact sockets are also often called impact sockets, power sockets, or power bits.

2. What is the Difference Between Impact and Regular Sockets?

When you are talking about impact sockets vs regular sockets you have to remember that you are speaking about two types of tools for different applications. Regular sockets are great for everyday use and offer an excellent value when it comes to price.

Impact sockets can be used in the same applications as regular sockets, but they are really designed for difficult situations and are capable of handling the added strain that is required when trying to remove nuts on much larger steel fastener connections.

Regular sockets are directly linked to the former’s need for additional strength. First and foremost are the metals that are used.

Rather than a chrome vanadium finish as found on most hand sockets, impact units are made out of chrome molybdenum, which is then carbonized, giving them a flat black look.

Carbon can withstand more impact force without deforming than chromium-molybdenum mixtures are commonly used in forged socket designs. This allows them to be lighter overall (they still contain cushioning materials).

Other areas that affect an impact sockets’ durability include the tolerances in which they are made. Impact sockets are manufactured using highly durable materials and coatings to ensure a long-lasting socket.

3. Can You Use Impact Sockets as Regular Sockets?

Impact sockets are basically the same thing as regular sockets, except there’s a little extra piece, which looks like a hammer of sorts. This little bit makes an impact socket capable of breaking bolts that would otherwise be cross-threaded or rusted on.

That said, impact sockets can actually be used as standard sockets in some cases, depending on what you’re working on and what kind of ratchet you’re using.

4. What is Impact Sockets Used For?

Impact sockets are very strong and are used for the removal of broken, seized and distorted nuts and bolts. They are composed of a thick, high strength steel construction with special teeth for gripping.

Impact sockets have become a very popular accessory to both professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts alike.

It has a hollow interior that is designed to accept the shaft of an impact wrench such as those used on automobiles. Impact sockets are designed to withstand the varying rapid forces of impact drivers, which regular drive sockets cannot do.

5. What Material is Used For Impact Sockets?

Impact sockets are commonly used in automotive and industrial settings, especially by those that work on engines. In order to stand up against the heat generated from using an impact wrench, all quality impact sockets are made of chrome molybdenum.

Chrome molybdenum is stronger and less brittle, which makes it the obvious choice for high-impact sockets.

It is also lighter than chrome vanadium, so the same high strength can be achieved with much less weight  – useful when lugging around a bunch of heavy bolts.

6. What Oil Do You Use For Impact Sockets?

Boeshield T-9 is often the go-to if you’re looking for rust and moisture protection on your impact sockets. If you don’t want to shell out the money for the spray, or it’s just not feasible where you work, we suggest using some WD-40 mixed with a little friction modifier oil.

The WD-40 provides the rust and moisture protection you’d get from a spray, and the friction modifier will help protect against galling caused by contact with other metals (like aluminum).

The friction modifier also helps protect against cold temperatures making this stuff an excellent choice in areas that are prone to cold winters.

7. Why Do Impact Sockets Have a Hole?

There is a very specific reason why impact sockets have a hole in the middle. It’s not just there for looks.

This hole is called a retaining pin or sometimes referred to as a locking pin. The reason they are designed like this is that holding an impact socket with your hand doesn’t allow you to apply a lot of force while trying to fasten a nut or bolt onto something.

Pins are used to secure the sockets to an impact gun or wrench because they are specifically designed to tighten and loosen bolts much faster than you could do so by hand alone. If you were to use the socket without a pin, it would vibrate loose before you had a chance to thread it onto the bolt.

8. What Happens If You Don’t Use Impact Sockets?

Standard sockets are made with brittle material that is not designed to withstand the torque of an impact tool. When you force a standard socket onto an impact gun, it can break or crack because the socket can not handle the pressure.

In general, impact wrenches generate 1500-1800 in-lbs of maximum torque which means the socket can deform and or break under pressure if it’s made from normal material.

9. Can I Use Impact Sockets For Everything?

You can use an impact socket for most jobs but there are some exceptions. Impact sockets can’t be used with a ratchet that only accepts normal sockets and impact sockets can’t receive teeth that are only designed for hand ratchets.

Unless you have specialized tools, it’s safe to use either an impact socket or a standard socket on a ratchet.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important tools that you should keep in your toolbox is an impact socket. What exactly makes this tool so significant? Sockets are designed to fit over fasteners and equipped with a long ratchet handle.

The function of an impact socket is to help you loosen and tighten nuts or bolts that are extremely tough to loosen.