Is a 100 psi oil-less air compressor powerful enough to enable an air drill to remove and tighten lug nuts when changing car tires?

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    When you say "change car tires" what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Taking the wheel/tire off of the car, or taking the tire off of the wheel? What tools were you going to use to accomplish this? Are you just talking about refilling the tire after it's reseated onto the rim? Need some more information. Nov 11, 2016 at 0:43
  • Yes Paulster2 I would like to be able to take the tire/ wheel off the car, like if I have to put the donut on for some reason. I do not currently have any tools this is for just in case purposes. Nov 11, 2016 at 8:33
  • While it may be powerful enough, you'll never know how tight you have fastened it. Use a torque wrench and respect the torque limits that the manufacturer gives. If you don't have one, you better fasten it by hand instead of an air drill, you have better feeling of how much torque you apply, to tighten all nuts evenly.
    – Bart
    Nov 11, 2016 at 12:24

3 Answers 3


To change a wheel you will need an air wrench, not an air drill - the first two I found with a quick search both specify 90psi, so a 100psi compressor should be more than enough - though it's the flow rate (measured in cfm) that is more important than the max pressure.


Yes, but you must have an accurate in-line pressure gauge and check it continuously while you hold the tire air chuck in place (do not use a clip-on chuck, as used on foot pumps), or better, a regulator to limit the maximum pressure.

Injuries and even deaths have resulted from over-pressurized tires, particularly during mounting. Smaller tires, such as on bicycles, can be overfilled much more rapidly than car tires... I was present when a friend's bike tire exploded at a service-station pump, and I was unable to hear for minutes afterwards.

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    The OP wanted to know about changing tires, not inflating them.
    – Niall C.
    Nov 11, 2016 at 0:35
  • The internet wanted this answer instead of the one OP was asking, though. It's appreciated.
    – lly
    Jul 30, 2023 at 4:11

I'll assume you're not really using a drill to change tyres.

Air tools like an impact driver (commonly known as windy-gun) usually require 100psi and a good airflow to achieve the high torque required to undo wheel nuts - on a passenger car it should be no problem, on bigger vehicles (4x4, truck, etc.) you need a LOT more torque and it may not work.

However it is not a good idea to tighten your wheel nuts with that device as it has no torque control. If it has enough power to undo your wheel nuts/studs it probably has too much power to put them back on without over-tightening. If it doesn't have the power to undo the nuts/studs then it will not have the power to tighten them safely.

Tightening by hand, ideally using a torque wrench set to the manufacturer's specification, is the way it should be done. Professional wheel & tyre fitting shops use torque wrenches or other devices (including special air tools) which are calibrated to give a safe amount of torque.

I've seen wheel studs have the threads stripped or alloy wheels be damaged when lazy mechanics put the wheels on using an impact driver.

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