Many of us are huge fans of ‘do it yourself’. We love to know a few things we can do when things break down or require fixing at home, in our cars, like the tire or the office. And that is good. A little technical knowledge of things around would do good. Knowing how to use a torque wrench would save you trips to the carpenter or mechanic.
It would also save you from spending the money you would have given to say a plumber to fix a leaking sink. You could use the money to get yourself something else. If you are a fan of do it yourself, one of the tools that should not be missing in your toolbox at home or in the car is the torque wrench.
Video: How To Use A Torque Wrench
If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here:
What Are Torque Wrenches?
Torque wrenches are tools that are used to cause rotation of fastening objects. These fastening objects that torques are used on are usually nuts and bolts. The torque wrench can be used to either tighten or loosen the nuts and bolts. Torque wrenches are very important if you have a car. It could save your day when you are stuck with a flat tire and you need a change.
What Are The Types Of Torque Wrenches?
Here are the types of torque wrenches:
1. Deflecting beam: This was made in 1948. It has both sounds and visual indicator that shows that the needed toque is reached.
2. Beam: Made by Walter Chrysler between 1920s and 1930s. It is cheap and inaccurate.
3. Slipper: This has a cam and a roller. This wrench stops applying force when the set time has reached.
4. Electronic torque wrench: This is a digital version of torque wrenches. It can store measurements in its memory. The electronic torque wrench is the best type of torque wrench.
5. Mechanical torque wrench: This is a click-kind of wrench. They click or beep when desired torque is achieved.
6. Click torque wrench: A preloaded wrench. It is the most complicated and sophisticated type of torque wrench.
7. Programmable/angle torque wrench: This can even measure the angle of tightening curves. It can also show you yield controlled tightening. It was invented in 1995.
8. Pneumatic torque wrench: This looks like an impact wrench. It is the easiest torque wrench to use.
9. Hydraulic torque wrench: This is used for tightening that require high accuracy. It is found in aviation and specialized tools industry.
10. No-hub wrench: This is used to tighten things with soft landings, like soil pipes.
What Are The Marked Differences Between The Torque Wrench And Other Normal Wrenches?
The marked differences between the torque wrench and other normal wrenches are:
1. Torque wrenches are slightly more difficult to use than normal wrenches.
2. They also look different from other wrenches and can confuse even some experts if they are not told how to use them.
3. The torque wrench has a measuring scale that tells accurately the amount of torque that is on every nut and bolt it comes across, others do not.
4. The measuring system is usually labeled in foot-pounds or newton-meters. This can be interchanged either manually or using the conversion system that is already present on the torque wrench. You cannot find this on other wrenches.
5. Torque wrenches have in-built electric or mechanical alert system that notifies you when you are approaching a torque level. They do this by beeping or vibrating or switching on a notification light. The torque wrench indicates these torque levels to avoid over tightening that may affect and damage your nut or bolt. However, in other wrenches, you depend on your gut to know if the pressure is enough.
Even among torque wrenches, there are some differences. Torque wrenches have varying accuracy.
This means that a torque wrench can be better than another because of how it was manufactured. The electronic torque wrench is different from the mechanical torque wrench too.
Engineers who make cars and other machines assign a specified torque amount on every part of the car or machine that has a nut or a bolt. But most people do not know because this information is in the user manual of your car and machine and well, how many people read manuals nowadays?
When you are unaware of this specific torque, you might be in danger of under or over-tightening. It is usually the latter. Even mechanics overtight sometimes. They-and majority of other users-just keep going until the nut or bolt can no longer turn. Over tightening can cause a nut and bolt to crack, break or loosen.
What are the dangers of over-tightening wheel nuts?
The dangers of over-tightening wheel nuts are:
1. Over-tightening will damage your rotor.
2. It will damage your nuts and bolts.
3. The bolt shank will break.
4. Threads can give way and there won’t be anything holding nut or bolt in place. This can lead to a fatal car crash.
5. Over-tightening stretches the studs.
What are the dangers of under-tightening your wheel nuts?
The dangers of under-tightening your wheel nuts are:
1. Under-tightening of the nut or bolt will lead to shaky wheels and a shaky car.
2. The nut and bolt can come loose and fall out. This would lead to a fatal crash.
So, to avoid all these, the best option is to use a torque wrench.
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Video: How To Use A Torque Wrench
This video will show you, in easy steps, how to use a torque wrench.
What Can You Use The Torque Wrench To Do?
The torque wrench can be used to do the following:
1. Fasten the bolts on the head of the engine cylinder, connecting rod bolts, main bearing cap bolts, flywheel bolts, camshaft timing gear bolts, crankshaft pulley bolts, intake and exhaust manifold bolts, lug nuts, axle nuts and ball joint studs.
2. In other machines, like the generator, the wrench can be used to tighten or loosen spark plugs and lug nuts.
In motor cars, there are various parts where the torque wrench can be used, this why having it in your car’s toolbox is not negotiable.
How To Use A Torque Wrench
To use a torque wrench, do the following:
1. Loosen the fastener that is responsible for holding the set-in place. The fastener is usually metallic or in plastic form and is located at the base of the wrench.
2. On most occasions, the fastener is a different color from your wrench. Ensure you set the torque wrench fastener to zero. Never below, never above. You do this by moving the fastener in an anti-clockwise direction until it is completely free and set at 0.
3. Look for the calibrations on the body of your wrench. This is usually located at the handle of the torque wrench.
4. Set your torque wrench to your desired measurement by holding the torque wrench with your passive hand and then moving the dial slowly to the desired torque measurement.
5. As you move the dial in the clockwise direction, the torque setting number increases and if you move in it in the anticlockwise direction, the torque setting number decreases. When you reach your desired measurement, stop moving the dial.
6. You can now use the torque wrench to fasten the nut or bolt.
What is the unit of measurement of the torque wrench?
The wrench has two units of measurement; there is the part calibrated in large number fonts and then there is the part with small number fonts. The small numbers are the measurement for foot-pounds while the large numbers are the measurement for meter-kilograms.
How do you get a torque value on your wrench?
To get a torque value on your wrench, you should set it within 5 foot-pounds of that number. Let us say you are targeting 120 ft-lb, you set your dial at 115 ft-lb or 125 ft-lb.
N.B: Always refer to the user manual to know the exact torque amount that each nut or bolt needs. There is no rigid number you can set your dial to, it is not set in stone.
(the number on the dial are the large numbers while the numbers on the handle are small numbers)
Check to make sure that the smaller numbers are also set where you want them. You can do slight adjustments to the dial without moving the handle so that the smaller numbers are aligned.
How Do You Measure The Total Torque Required To Put On The Nut Or Bolt?
To measure the total torque, do the following:
1. Add the number on the dial that aligns with the number on the handle. For example, if the number on the dial is 6 and the number that aligns with it on the handle is 70, this means that the total torque that would be applied is 76 foot-pounds (ft-lb).
2. Locate the base of the wrench and grip the fastener. Slowly push it back in and tighten with your hands, hold the torque on your passive hand and tighten the fastener with the active hand in a clockwise direction.
3. Once you are done, the fastener will stop moving. This also means that you can no longer change the torque number setting. Get the head or socket or adaptor that is the perfect size for the head of your nut or bolt and put them into space at the head of the torque wrench.
4. Get the nut or the bolt and slot them into the corresponding thread by hand. It is not wise to use the wrench at this point because the wrench has huge pressure, and this may cause the thread or the nut to wash thereby wasting all your efforts.
5. Turn bolt or nut by hand in the clockwise direction until they cannot turn anymore.
6. When this is done, use your active hand to place the head of the wrench (now with the socket or adapter) on the head of the nut or bolt and then turn the wrench with your passive hand.
7. The turning should be clockwise and steady. Unlike other wrenches, you don’t need to always return the torque wrench to its previous position before turning again.
8. As soon as you hear a click or beep sound, or see a flash of light, don’t turn the wrench further. This means that the set torque has been attained. Old wrenches would stop moving altogether once the set torque is attained.
9. Remove the torque and disconnect the socket from its head, go back to the handle and set it at point zero.
You can now safely drop your wrench in the toolbox, awaiting another working time that would require you to use a torque wrench.