Torque wrenches: all you need to know

Published : 12/6/2023 16:28:20
Categories : Professional working tools guide

Stahlwille torque wrench

In the industry, precision is everything. Even the most insignificant mistake can affect the results of long, strenuous work, as well as pose some serious risks. Therefore, professionals know that they must rely solely on accurate tools made and tested to standards.

In the world of tools, few are as precise as the torque wrench. Whether you're a seasoned professional in the most important sectors, such as automotive or aviation, having the right torque wrench can make a significant difference in the success of your projects. In this comprehensive guide on Mister Worker®, we'll explore the ins and outs of torque wrenches, covering everything from what they are to how to use and maintain them.

A torque wrench is a specialized tool designed to apply a specific amount of force, known as torque, to a fastener, typically a nut or bolt. Its primary function is to ensure that these fasteners are tightened to a precise level, preventing under or over-tightening that may cause damage. This means that a proper torque measurement is crucial for the safety, assembly, and performance of equipment. This tool, designed by Conrad Bahr in 1918, has been in use since the early 20th century.

What is a Torque Wrench Used For?

Utilized for checking and adjusting the tightening torque of components such as bolts, screws, or nuts, torque wrenches play a vital role across diverse industries such as automotive, construction, manufacturing, as well as aerospace. These technologically advanced devices are essential for precision, guaranteeing a secure fastening of components while minimizing the potential for overload or structural damage.

When is a Torque Wrench Used to Tighten a Bolt?

A torque wrench is employed whenever accurate torque values are essential for the proper functioning of a structure or mechanism. This could include tasks such as tightening critical engine components, assembling machinery, or even securing lug nuts on a vehicle.

What Does a Torque Wrench Look Like?

Torque wrenches come in different models and designs, (such as click wrenches, inch-pound models) but they generally consist of a handle, a torque indicator, or a socket for attaching to the fastener. Some feature a simple beam design, while others are more complex, like the click or electronic variants.

If you’re asking yourself “What Type of Torque Wrench Do I Need?” There are various types of torque wrenches, including beam, click, plus electronic models. The type you need depends on your preferences, the level of precision required, and your budget.

Among the most common types sold on the market are mechanical and digital torque wrenches.

How to Use a Torque Wrench

Using a torque wrench involves setting the desired torque level and applying force until the wrench signals that the preset torque has been reached. This ensures that the fastener is tightened to the recommended specifications.

To effectively use and configure your torque wrench, follow these step-by-step guidelines:

  • Determine the Torque Value: Begin by identifying the required torque value. Consult your user manual or check online resources for this information. Ensure that you are referencing the correct scale on your torque wrench, which typically provides lb·ft on one side and lb·ft or N.m on the other.
  • Loosen the Knob: Start by releasing the knob located at the bottom of the torque wrench. This action allows the handle to move freely back and forth.
  • Set the Torque: If, for instance, the specified torque is 100 lb·ft, rotate the handle until the '0' aligns with the 100 lb·ft line.
  • Tighten the Lock Nut: After setting the desired torque, securely tighten the lock nut. This step is crucial to lock the torque value in place.
  • Attach the Socket: Place your socket onto the torque wrench.
  • Position Over Lug Nut: Align the wrench with the lug nut.
  • Grip and Tighten: Grasp the handle and tighten the lug nut. Apply consistent pressure until you hear a distinct click sound.
  • Click Indicates Achieved Torque: The audible click signifies that the required torque has been reached. This ensures precision and accuracy in your tightening process.

How To Use A Click Torque Wrench

Click torque wrenches are popular for their simplicity. Once the desired torque is set, you apply force until the wrench produces an audible "click" sound and releases tension, indicating that the correct torque has been achieved.

How to Use Inch Pound Torque Wrench

An inch-pound torque wrench measures torque in inch-pounds instead of foot-pounds. Using it involves similar steps, but it's crucial to know the unit difference and adjust your settings accordingly.

How to Set a Torque Wrench

By rotating the handle, an internal coil spring is either fixed or unfastened. Many torque wrenches have a safety mechanism that prevents settings from being altered during use. Once the safety is activated, the torque can be increased by turning the handle to the left or decreased by turning it to the right.

How to Set a Torque Wrench in Inch Pounds

For torque wrenches measuring in inch-pounds, the process is the same, but the scale will be in inch-pounds. Ensure you're working with the correct unit of measurement for your application.

How to Read a Torque Wrench

Begin by identifying the units of measurement employed by the torque wrench. The prevalent units are inch-pounds and Newton meters. Once you've chosen the desired units, consult the markings on the wrench to ascertain the applied torque.

Reading a torque wrench involves checking the torque indicator or scale to ensure it aligns with the desired torque value. Precision is key, so take the time to confirm the setting before use.

How to test a torque wrench

Testing through a digital torque adapter

The use of a digital torque adapter stands out as one of the most efficient ways to assess the calibration of your wrench. Brands like KS Tools, USAG or Beta provide cost-effective solutions that can test all your torque wrenches over an extended period, potentially spanning years or even decades.

To conduct the test, set your torque wrench to a specific foot-pound value (e.g., 80-foot pounds), place it on the tester, and pull until the wrench clicks or signals that the desired torque has been reached. If the digital meter displays the same value (80-foot pounds), your wrench is appropriately calibrated. However, if the reading deviates from the target (in this case, 80-foot pounds), adjustments are necessary.

Ensuring the accuracy of your torque wrench is essential for reliable performance. This testing method provides practical means to validate and adjust the calibration as needed.

Testing through other devices

There are also other devices useful for calibrating torque tools, from the test benches to torque tester. On the market, you can find several models from renowned manufacturers, for example:

How to Store a Torque Wrench

Storing a torque wrench properly is essential for maintaining its accuracy. Below you can find some tips for protecting your tool:

  • Various experts strongly recommend storing the tool exclusively in its original case to prevent accidental shock or vibration that could impact calibration.
  • Keep it away from excessive temperatures and moisture.
  • Be careful not to drop it, as this may affect its operation.

We always suggest referring to the instructions for proper storage of the torque wrench according to the model chosen, as well as its purpose.

How to Calibrate a Torque Wrench

Calibrating a torque wrench involves adjusting it to ensure it provides accurate torque values. This process is crucial for its long-term accuracy. Here is a simple and clear guide to ensure the accurate calibration of your tool:

  • Begin by measuring from the center of the square drive using an appropriate unit, marking the measurements with a dark marker.
  • Secure the torque wrench in a vice or socket, ensuring it's tight to avoid damage. Use a rope and weight for a calibration test.
  • Calculate the correct setting: multiply the initial distance by the weight and dividing by twelve for foot-pounds.
  • Suspend the weight from the marked point; if there's no click, calibration is accurate.
  • If needed, adjust the torque wrench manually by tightening the tension spring in the middle.

Some models have user-adjustable settings, while others may require professional calibration. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the best results.

Where to Get Torque Wrench Calibrated

Many manufacturers offer calibration services or recommend certified calibration centers. Check the product manual or contact the manufacturer directly for guidance on where to get your torque wrench calibrated.

What Torque Wrench to buy

If you are wondering “What Torque Wrench Should I Buy?” We can say that there is no simple answer to this question. Choosing the right torque wrench depends on your specific needs and the types of projects you will be working on. A click torque wrench with a suitable torque range may be ideal if you're working on automotive projects. For more precise applications, an electronic torque wrench could be a better fit.

Below, however, we answer some questions frequently asked by professionals grappling with these tools to help guide your choice.

Who Makes the Best Torque Wrench?

Several manufacturers are known for producing reliable torque wrenches. Stahlwille, FACOM, Beta, KS Tools or Hazet are among the top brands known for their precision and durability.

But there are plenty of other brands engaged in the production of ultra-high-tech electronic and mechanical torque wrenches.

What are the best torque wrenches?

As mentioned above, we cannot tell you what the absolute best torque wrench is, as there are millions of different models on the market, and choosing the right tool depends on your needs. Among the most popular torque wrenches chosen by professionals in various fields, you can find the following.

Stahlwille Manoskop 730N mechanical torque wrench

Stahlwille Manoskop 730N torque wrench

Buy Stahlwille Manoskop 730N

One of the most popular torque wrenches from Stahlwille, the MANOSKOP® 730N guarantees outstanding precision with its click-type mechanism and interchangeable insert tool mount. Its intelligent QuickRelease safety lock ensures secure usage, while the innovative QuickSelect quick-action adjuster facilitates swift and accurate settings. Then, the dual stop signal enhances safety, and the double scale, color-coded for clarity, differentiates between N·m/ft·lb and ft·lb/in·lb scales.

Facom E.306 electronic torque wrench

Facom E.306 torque wrench

Buy Facom E.306

This is an advanced technology model with excellent yield. It boasts a ±2% accuracy within 20-100% key capacity. Then, it grants peak or normal measurement modes in N.m, lbf.ft, lbf.in, and Kg.cm units. Allows pre-setting of 9 torque values, stores 250 values with PC USB connectivity, and comes in a plastic box with a foam tray. Furthermore, this tool is shipped with an ISO 6789 calibration certificate, so you are assured of a high-quality product.

HAZET 5122-3CT mechanical torque wrench

HAZET 5122-3CT torque wrench

Buy HAZET 5122-3CT

Durable and user-friendly, this reversible ratchet is ideal for motorcycles, bicycles, and tire pressure control systems. With ±3% accuracy, enhanced by haptic and audible safety features, it ensures precise screw tightening. Designed for rough workshop use, it caters to a wide range of applications in tire service, vehicles, and diverse trade and industrial settings.

Beta 666N click torque wrench

Beta 666N click torque wrench

Buy Beta 666N

This amazing click-type torque wrench made by the famous Italian tool brand Beta features a 60% enhanced scale for better visibility and precise settings. The torque adjusting speed is boosted by 40%, and its handle and lens materials are resistant to all automotive, industrial, and aviation chemicals. In addition, the red o-ring signals an unlocked wrench for torque adjustment. For storage, set torque to the lowest range.

KS TOOLS 516.5062 industrial torque wrench

KS TOOLS 516.5062 torque wrench

Buy KS TOOLS 516.5062

This useful KS TOOLS torque wrench ensures precise torque application with ±3% release accuracy from the set scale value. Ensuring reliable performance for a minimum of 5,000 tightening cycles, it features a secure locking function within the handle, clear torque release signals, and extended service life for optimal functionality.

In conclusion, the torque wrench is a fundamental tool for anyone involved in precision work. Understanding how to use, calibrate, and choose the right one for your needs ensures that you can tackle projects with confidence, knowing that your fasteners are tightened to the exact specifications required. As you embark on your journey with torque wrenches, remember that precision and care are the keys to success in any endeavor.

Where to Buy a Torque Wrench

You can find torque wrenches at retail outlets globally and in various online tool stores. If you opt for online purchases, you can buy them directly from Mister Worker®. Explore a diverse range of torque wrenches and accessories from renowned brands, and make the most of our exclusive deals and promotions.

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