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Being invented in 1918, no one could predict how useful a torque wrench will be. But now, it has become one of the most popular tools in every family. Let’s study basic knowledge of torque wrench and go through these 4 steps and you will definitely a torque wrench master, believe me. Check it out:
A torque wrench and its advantages
A torque wrench is a tool that is used to apply a specific torque to a fastener like a bolt or a nut.
Its most popular form is a socket wrench with special internal mechanisms. It was first invented to prevent overtightening bolts on water main and steam pipe repairs underground. Another usage is to fix the car’s wheel and that is what we will learn today.
You may believe there is no need to use a torque wrench to install spark plugs or work on your lawn or any garden equipment. But it is a fact that most do-it-yourself-ers overtighten just about everything. As a result, overtightening can lead to broken bolts, stripped threads and damaged equipment. That’s why we must have a torque wrench.
With a torque wrench and the manufacturer’s torque value in hand, every problem will be solved: A “clicker” torque wrench makes an audible click when you’ve reached the set torque, and with a “beam-style” wrench, you just watch the scale and stop at the right number.
After having a basic knowledge about torque wrench, let’s get started with our 4 steps:
1. Purchase a torque
Of course, you need to buy it on the very first step. But here are some advices for choosing an appropriate one for you:
- There are four types of torque wrench: beam, click adjustable, dial gauge and digital electronic. The differences between these types are how they are read and how easily they can be adjusted.
- If you need a low cost one and ease of use is important to you, take a beam style torque wrench.
- If you want accuracy and it is used repeatedly, use a click adjustable torque wrench.
- Make sure your torque wrench is calibrated (take the brand new one at an auto parts store or a supplier) or if yours is the second hand, just go to the store to recalibrate it. And don’t forget to learn its structure.
2. Research the torque specifications for your project
This is normally noted in the number of foot-pounds that is recommended. In case you can’t find this specification in the instructions, take a look on the Internet. Then, note the pattern in which the instructions suggest you tighten the fasteners (e.g. a star pattern or starting in the middle and alternating between the two sides).
3. Prepare the nuts and bolts
Make sure your nuts and bolts are clean, dry and undamaged because the torque wrench won’t work efficiently on damaged threads. In addition, you may have to remove the fasteners in the future unless you are careful.
4a. Use the dial torque wrench
Firstly, tighten the bolts onto the threads with a wrench or socket, keep doing until they are snug. After that, you can follow up with the torque wrench.
Secondly, grip the plastic handle of the torque wrench. You must hold the handle so that it is centered on the pivot. For accuracy, neither end of the handle should be touching the bar.
Next, what you will do is placing the end of the torque wrench and getting into a comfortable position where you can read the beam straight on. Don’t view it at an angle.
Finally, tighten it clockwise until you can reach the recommended torque. Tighten the other fasteners in the recommended direction also with the similar technique.
4b. Use a click adjustable torque wrench
Now, instead of using the dial torque wrench, you still can work with the click adjustable one. Some steps may be the same:
Firstly, tighten the bolts onto the threads with a wrench or socket, until they are snug. The first step is totally the same.
Secondly, you will adjust your torque wrench accordingly. Then, loosen the adjustable dial. Now, turn the handle until it reaches the torque specification, and then tighten the adjustable dial.
Thirdly, hold onto the handle and place the tip on the fastener with the handle on the left side. This is called technique and you must follow.
This is important, turn it clockwise until you hear a click and repeat on the same handle until you hear another click to ensure you’ve reached the recommended force.
Lastly, move around the project tightening the fasteners in the recommended pattern and you have done your duty. And don’t forget to reset the torque wrench to zero when you are done. This will help you reduce the pressure on the internal spring and you can keep it calibrated (you don’t need to back to the store again).
Some helpful tips when you are working with the torque wrench
And that’s how to use the torque wrench. And here is my present – some helpful tips when you are working with your torque:
1. Tighten fasteners in two steps – first to half torque and then to final torque.
2. Clean dirty or rusted threads before tightening, but don’t lubricate them unless instructed to by the equipment manufacturer.
3. Never use your torque wrench as a breaker bar – that’ll damage the torque mechanism.
4. Carry it with kid gloves – a single fall can knock the accuracy off by as much as 30 percent. If you do drop it, get it recalibrated (calibration firms listed below) before using it again.
5. Don’t oil the threads before. This can reduce friction and increase the load on the bolt.
In short, all of above things are what I want to share today. Now, you can get a torque wrench and be ready for some of your tightening project. Remember to share with us your experience and don’t hesitate to contact if you meet any problem.