A torque wrench is one of the most useful and reliable tools you should have in your tool kit. It is a type of tightening tool specifically designed to apply a certain amount of torque to nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. Torque wrenches are usually used in the automotive, construction, and engineering industries.
Torque is not something you can measure by feel, and hence torque wrenches are used. A torque wrench is designed in such a way that when a certain torque specification is achieved, it gives an audible click/beep and/or tactile feedback through the handle. The point at which you hear or feel it can be changed by entering the desired amount of torque on the handle of your torque wrench.
A torque wrench is generally longer than a standard ratchet or breaker bar. This is to provide sufficient leverage to reach higher torque if needed. However, there are several sizes of torque wrenches used for a wide variety of applications.
What is the advantage of using torque wrenches?
When you use a torque wrench, there is a low chance of bolts snapping or anything going wrong. With a torque wrench, you eliminate the excessive tension that warps heads and gasket surfaces as well as the excess pressure on delicate components resulting in quicker wear and tear.
Which Torque Wrench to Choose?
Torque wrenches do not come in one size fits all solutions. Some of the common options you can consider are – from smallest to largest – the ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, and ½ inch drive models. Although it refers to the size socket they accept, the larger the drive, the larger the torque wrench (for more leverage).
So, a smaller wrench, while going down into single-digit torque increments will not offer you a large maximum torque setting. On the other hand, a larger wrench will give you much higher tension, but it would be of no use for smaller machinery.
Digital Torque Adaptor
This is a useful tool that can be popped onto the end of a ratchet or breaker bar to turn it into a torque wrench. It comes with a digital display where you can set the desired torque, and the unit will beep as you reach that.
Angular Torque Gauge
This is yet another tool that can be handy in certain specific circumstances. This snaps onto the breaker bar or ratchets much like the torque adaptor, but the difference lies in that it measures in degrees. So, this can be used in situations where you are required to torque to particular degrees – say 275 degrees or 183 degrees. The angular torque gauge helps to measure it to the dot.
Using a torque wrench
Whenever you use any torque wrench, whether for the first time or for the hundredth time, you should put it through the motions. This is to make sure the internal parts are free and well lubricated. This can be done by setting the torque on the wrench to high and activating it a few times. It will get the internal parts moving freely as well as lubricate every part.
A torque wrench is an essential tool in your tool kit. It not only saves you time and energy but also ensures that your nuts and bolts are in place without wearing them down unnecessarily. It is also possible to set the right torque for each situation without damaging any delicate parts of the machinery.