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January 30, 2018
For a couple of years, the tire shop business has been evolving quite a bit. Tires are now changed more and more outside of traditional tire shops, we saw the arrival of new actors offering roadside assistance or tire changing services at convenient places for customers like their home. Along with these new services offering, came specific needs in terms of tools and equipment for operators.
If pneumatic tools have historically been the preferred choice in the tire changing industry, thanks to design and performance improvements, cordless electric tools have now become more popular, especially in applications requiring a high level of mobility. If there are pros and cons to each solution, each type of tool has its own particularity.
Often seen as the best solution for mobile tire changing specialists, electric cordless tools offer a lot of benefits justifying to be favored by operators. Indeed, tool manufacturers have developed high performance cordless electric impact wrenches to be able to work everywhere at any time, which is very much appreciated because of the freedom of movement they allow. Mobility is without any doubt the main benefit of this technology, even more for mobile technicians who are sometimes not able to park close to the job, or are working in difficult conditions. These situations require high running time which has been enabled thanks to the new Lithium-ion batteries (up to 6 Ah / 9 Ah).
Even if cordless impact wrenches are still a little bit heavier than similar air tools, they provide great comfort and ergonomics to operators. New tools are even coming out with great new functionalities, such as overtightening prevention or no-impact screwing options.
It’s important to remind that if cordless power is no longer questioned, such technology is still (and will always be) dependent on the battery charge level. Dear cordless tools users: don’t forget to always check your tool power level to be ready anytime.
On the other side, many impact wrenches users, including mobile “tire changers”, are still using pneumatic tools. One of the main advantages of using a pneumatic tool, besides its lower cost compared to cordless, is its power-to-weight ratio with an average weight of 4.4 lbs - 2kg (for an average high performance and durable composite impact wrench.). At the end of a working day, this makes a real difference!
Aside from that, it is also important to consider the tool’s conditions of use. In some situations, happening often outside of workshops, when bad weather conditions (extreme cold, rain…) could damage a cordless tool, pneumatic impact wrenches will last longer as they are extremely resistant to such environment. Pneumatic tools are appreciated for their greater compactness (enabling different applications usage with the same tool) and their lower vibration transmission while using them.
“ Whatever your choice, don’t forget that a torque wrench is necessary to tighten properly any wheels. ”
For tire changing applications, the best choice between cordless electric and pneumatic impact wrenches will differ mainly if you are looking at a workshop or a mobile job. Even if both options are good, pneumatic version will be preferred by operators who like lightweight tools, when cordless impacts will be chosen by mechanics who are looking for higher freedom of movement.
Pneumatic and cordless impact wrenches are your best partners for everyday tire changing, and depending on your specific needs, both versions can be complementary.