Are trying to know how to read a torque wrench? Well, a torque wrench is a special tool that helps you apply the correct pressure when tightening or loosening bolts on a car or bike. It’s important to use a torque wrench to don’t strip the bolt or damage the component you’re working on. In this guide, we’ll show you how to read a torque wrench so that you can use it correctly and safely!
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Torque wrenches come in two basic varieties: click-type and beam wrenches. Click-type torque wrenches provide an audible signal when they have reached the desired torque setting so you can stop applying pressure. Beam wrenches are designed to be used the entire time until the required torque is reached. You’ll want to use a click-type wrench for occasional home use but look for a beam type if you’ll be using it often.
Each unit of torque is called a ‘click.’ This refers to the number of times the handle moves when applying pressure. For example, one-click means that the handle moves once you apply force to the handle. If you set the dial to 10,000 lbs of torque, applying a given force will yield this number of given units.
The units on your torque wrench are indicated with numbers on a dial indicating how many force units are applied. For example, if your torque wrench has a dial from 5-45 in-lbs, you will tighten bolts by turning the handle clockwise. You should also be aware that each click equals roughly four percent of the total range for most torque wrenches.
Also read: Snap On Torque Wrench Review | Best of 2021
Interpreting a Torque Wrench
Most torque wrenches are adjustable foot-pound or Newton-meter (ft/lbs or Nm). This means a mechanism on the handle with two markers, one in ft/lbs and one in Nm. If you’re working in Imperial units, the ft/lb marker will be visible; the Nm marker will be visible if you’re working in Metric.
Adjusting The Pressure Applying too little pressure will not tighten the bolt sufficiently, and applying too much pressure can break the bolt or damage the part you’re working on.
What Level of Pressure Should You Apply?
Getting The Right Torque You don’t want to apply too much pressure because that could cause other problems for your car. For example, too much pressure could tear a gasket and cause the fluid to leak when working on the engine. Some bolts should only be tightened to a certain torque; if you tighten them too much, you could break them off completely!
The correct amount of pressure will depend on:
- The type and size of the bolt
- How long the bolt has been in place if it’s a used part
- The temperature surrounding the bolt (more pressure is required on a hot day than on a cold day.
Also read: What Is A Torque Multiplier?
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Setting a Torque Wrench
Most torque wrenches come included with a storage case and two ratcheting end-pieces: one that fits 3/8 in. drives and one that fits 1/2 in. drive sockets; others include adapters for 1/4 in. hex bits.
- Make sure the torque wrench is clean and free of debris.
- Ensure your sockets are clean and free of other tools or debris like dirt, sand, or metal shavings (this can affect the accuracy).
- Slide an empty socket onto the end of the handle; make sure it’s seated firmly.
- Rotate the handle so that it’s pointing up at 90 degrees.
- Slide the other end of the wrench onto a socket and rotate the handle down until it locks into place.
- Line up your desired torque reading with one of the two scales on the handle.
- Turn counterclockwise to loosen or clockwise to tighten until your desired reading reaches zero.
- Turn the handle clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen again to get the right torque level set on the wrench.
- Wait for the click that signals that you’ve reached your desired setting; this ensures accuracy. (Some wrenches make an audible clicking sound while others don’t.)
- Keep tightening or loosening until you reach your desired torque value.
The markings will show that the pressure is equal between two points; the lower end of the handle and the head of the wrench. This means that even if you use more force, it will still read out as zero on the scale (this only applies to torque wrenches with a beam bar design).
After you have reached your desired torque on a bolt, you should try to avoid over-tightening or stripping it. Over-tightening means applying too much pressure, which could wear out the part more quickly. Stripping occurs when you apply too little pressure; if this happens, the bolt will not be as tight as it should be, and you could lose a bolt, ruining the part.
Also read: 3 Best CDI Torque Wrench Reviews – Best of 2021
How to Read a Torque Wrench
The torque wrench will have numbers indicating different torque ranges set by turning the handle. If you’re tightening screws, the torque range maybe 20-80 in.lbs or 3.5-9 Nm. You can usually find this information in your vehicle’s user manual; if not, check your car service manual (available at most libraries).
- Adjusting The Wrench When tightening a bolt with a torque wrench, follow these steps:
- Find the correct torque setting for your bolt.
- Turn the handle so that the tool is set to this range.
- Locate the starting point of the desired torque range, which will be at or near zero pounds.
- Push or pull until you feel increased resistance, then stop turning and read the scale to determine how much torque has been applied.
- Repeat from step 2 until you have reached the desired torque reading on the scale of the tool.
Screwing in a Bolt Apply a small amount of pressure to turn it clockwise, and stop turning when you feel increased resistance. This is usually more than a few degrees of rotation. If you keep going past this point, the bolt will strip, and you’ll have to start over.
Also read: Pittsburgh Torque Wrench Review: Best of 2020
What to Do When You Strip a Bolt?
If you do strip a bolt, here are some things you can try:
- Clean your wrench up and recalibrate it if the problen is incorrect reading so that the torque readings are correct again.
- If the bolts were not tightened properly (too loose) and can be tightened properly, apply more pressure and try tightening them again.
- If the bolts were just stripped and you’re not sure about fixing them yourself, take your car to a mechanic or bring it in for service so that professionals can help with your problem.
- When storing your torque wrench, make sure to wrap the handle so that the wrench doesn’t fall and potentially break.
How to Read a Torque Wrench
Now that you have a basic understanding of how torque wrenches work, you can use this tool whenever necessary! Just remember to do your research and get the right tools to don’t damage any components. This will help you get rid of stripped bolts and experience less frustration on the road.