Whenever we use torque wrenches, we tend to double-click to ensure that what we are working on has been tightened correctly.
Using torque wrenches can be challenging for some people, especially if you don’t use this tool daily.
So, is it necessary to double-click a torque wrench? An answer to this is that it is unnecessary, but it doesn’t hurt to double-click.
And sometimes, you may wonder, Can you overtighten with a torque wrench? A quick answer to that is yes.
Torque wrenches are designed to stop at the selected foot-pound of torque, and you should stop pulling after the click.
If you keep pulling the torque wrench after the click, you will find overtight nuts and bolts.
And correctly apply the required foot-pound of torque to your parts and ensure you are using the right application sockets.
So, do not continue pulling the torque wrench after every click to prevent the nuts and bolts from overtightening.
To better understand this unique tool, first, I want to put in your mind that not using a torque wrench properly can lead to some serious issues.
(Bellow) let’s go through a few essential questions and factors like What not to do with a torque wrench? How do you store a torque wrench? How do you test a torque wrench? Do torque wrenches work in both directions? And see what else we can digest about this unique and helpful tool.
Table of Contents
- Torque Wrench Styles (Which one should you use)
- What Not to Do With a Torque Wrench
- How Do You Store a Torque Wrench?
- How Do You Test a Torque Wrench?
- How Often Should a Torque Wrench Be Calibrated?
- Cost to Calibrate a Torque Wrench
- Do Torque Wrenches Work in Both Directions?
- Do You Really Need a Torque Wrench?
Torque Wrench Styles (Which one should you use)
As the old saying goes, a mechanic is only as good as his tools.
Now let’s go over some different torque wrenches styles so you can figure out which one is best for you.
If you plan to purchase a torque wrench, I recommend getting the digital torque wrench because it requires less maintenance service and is more accurate than the other styles.
Dial Torque Wrench
The first style of a torque wrench to consider is called a dial torque wrench.
The dial torque wrench has a dial on which you put the socket and measure the dynamic torque.
For instance, let’s say you want to find out how much force it takes to turn your motor, then this is the torque wrench for you.
As you turn your motor, you can find peaks and valleys in high amounts of torque.
Beam Torque Wrench
The beam torque wrench has an upper arm that remains fixed.
And when you start to tighten a bolt, you can see the indicator move to show the force you are exerting on that bolt.
These torque wrenches are not as accurate, and if you are looking for more precise numbers, you may want to get a more common click style torque wrench.
Click Torque Wrench
A click torque wrench can turn the handle and set the torque you are looking to exert on a bolt.
Once you get to the foot-pound amount of torque, you will hear a particular click.
Now, a word of caution, as I mentioned earlier, you can still over-torque the bolts if you ignore that particular click and continue to exert force on the torque wrench.
Digital Torque Wrench
The digital torque wrench works in the same way as a click torque wrench.
With this type of torque wrench, you set the foot-pound of torque digitally on the torque wrench, and you will hear an audible beep.
That beep indicates that the desired torque has been reached.
Still, you can over-torque your bolts even when using a digital torque wrench as well.
As I mentioned earlier, one way to get the most out of your click-style torque wrench is to make sure you set the torque setting back to 20 when you go to put it away.
If you leave it at a specific torque, it could throw off the torque wrench’s readings, and you’re going to get incorrect torque settings the next time you go to use it.
In fact, in most cases, if you leave it at a specific torque, you can void the warranty.
What Not to Do With a Torque Wrench
An essential thing about torque wrenches is to take care of them to last a long time.
Ensure you don’t drop or impact it hard when using it because it will lose calibration.
If you drop it once, it may not affect the calibration, but you will undoubtedly decalibrate it if you drop it all the time.
When using a torque wrench, always pull it and do not push it.
Never utilize a torque wrench as a breaker bar; keep in mind that it is a precision tool. It has been manufactured only to apply the tightening torque.
Suppose you use a torque wrench for another application, for example, to loosen nuts and bolts. In that case, you may damage some internal parts.
How Do You Store a Torque Wrench?
Do not leave the torque wrench tight, i.e., before putting it back in the case; you should loosen it almost to twenty, but not completely.
The internal spring will not be under pressure when it is not needed by loosening the torque wrench.
It is always good to keep the torque wrench inside the case and dry area to prevent rust buildup.
How Do You Test a Torque Wrench?
There are many ways to test a torque wrench, but the most common and easy way to test your torque wrench at home is by using a digital torque adapter.
Once you have your digital torque adapter, you can place it in a vise, which is the easiest option.
If you don’t have a vise, you will need to use your tire lug nuts to test your torque wrench.
Most car tire lug nuts are around 70 to 90 foot-pounds of torque; you will have to find the recommended foot-pound of torque for your car tire lug nuts first.
For example, if your car tire lug nut requires 70 foot-pounds of torque, set the torque wrench to 70 or less to test it.
And set the digital torque adapter to the (trace option); most torque adapters will turn on by default with the (trace option).
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a much simpler step when using a bench vise; place the digital torque wrench in the vise.
And set the torque wrench to any desired foot-pound of torque that you want to test the torque wrench.
Then select your digital torque adapter to the (trace option) and test the torque wrench’s accuracy.
How Often Should a Torque Wrench Be Calibrated?
On average, torque wrenches should be calibrated at least once a year or every 5,000 clicks.
For example, once a year, most people will be routine; note that getting your torque wrench calibrated could be somewhat expensive.
Cost to Calibrate a Torque Wrench
The average cost to calibrate a torque wrench ranges from $25 to $75, depending on where you go.
If you plan to send it in to be calibrated, add the shipping cost to the average price.
I suggest you invest in a torque wrench calibration tool, so you won’t have to pay for the calibration service and shipping cost.
Do Torque Wrenches Work in Both Directions?
Unless otherwise specified by manufacturers, most torque wrenches only work in a clockwise direction.
It would help if you only used it to apply the appropriate foot-pound of torque to nuts and bolts.
However, some nuts and bolts may require left-hand torque, i.e., nuts and bolts that are reversely threaded.
If you are working with a reverse threaded nut/bolt, you will need a torque wrench to apply torque in the reverse direction.
For example, you will usually find these nuts or bolts on a car engine that are reversely threaded on the pulleys.
Here’s a simple trick to check if your current torque wrench can be used in both directions, put your torque wrench on a low setting and try to remove the nut or bolt. If it doesn’t click, then it is not tightened in reverse.
Do You Really Need a Torque Wrench?
To put the question in perspective, lug nuts on cars are probably one of the essential tightening torques out there as they hold the wheels.
Generally, in most shops, you’ll notice that they have a lot of specific measuring equipment.
For example, in tire shops, they make sure that the wheels and tires’ tightening torque is perfect, and there is a reason for that.
And you may wonder, What happens if I over-torque my wheel nuts?
Incorrect torque can lead to vibration, wheel bearing failure, ABS failure, tire dropout, and various other problems you can avoid.