How Do Torque Sticks Work?
How Do Torque Sticks Work?
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A set of sockets, wrenches, extension sticks are must-have tools in the kit of a professional mechanic. Often there is a need to get into hard-to-reach places to have better access and hold of a bolt or nut. In order to do the job successfully, it is necessary to choose the right tool type but also some of its accessories. These include torque sticks – supplementary elements designed to facilitate the process.

What Is a Torque Stick?

The main purpose of a torque stick is to increase the length of a standard tool so that you can reach the thread in hard-to-reach places. It is a metal rod of cylindrical shape with a connecting square at one end and a torque profile at the other. It is attached to the tool, and the torque head is then installed on it. Torque sticks differ in length, shape and material. They can even be L-shaped so that the mechanic can use the tool in places where a straight wrench cannot cope.

How Do Torque Sticks Work Guide

Using these length adapters, you can use wrench heads with connecting squares one size larger or smaller. In general, additional attachments greatly increase the efficiency of a simple instrument. There are also cardan-type extension sticks, the direction of which can be changed by 270 degrees to suit your needs.

The benefits of torque sticks:

  • high strength;
  • durability;
  • a significant variety of sizes and shapes;
  • ease of use;
  • compliance with international quality standards;
  • ergonomic shape;
  • affordable price.

Types of Torque Sticks

There is a wide variety of extensions that are used for torque heads. They differ both in make and in purpose, the shape of the profile, and other physical characteristics. In general, there are two types of these extensions: rigid and flexible.

The first is a rigid rod-like extension used for socket heads. It does not give much freedom of action. You may not find it too helpful to reach the most inaccessible places, but it has many of its advantages. A rigid part for the head is considered more reliable and wear-resistant. It can handle heavy loads and often allows you to exploit the tool at its full power without damaging it. Some of these rigid extensions for socket heads can even function as a wrench.

Flexible torque sticks are more popular. They provide the user with wide freedom of action, have high mobility, and are able to work at an angle. In some cases, you can apply it even at an angle of 180 degrees. The flexible parts are usually made of a metal helix. The main disadvantage of this tool type is the insufficient power of the tool, the inability to transfer the generated impulse to the working area.

How to Use a Torque Stick?

Even if you generally understand the principle of work of a torque stick, a few tips will help unscrew any nut and keep the tool in working condition for a long time:

It is recommended to use socket wrenches with heads of exactly the same size as the object you want to unscrew. If the size of the tool is larger, you can get the edges of the nut or bolt head rounded. It will make the further process more difficult.

If it still happened, you can try to remove some metal from the nut or bolt to match a smaller number of a tool. It is important to monitor the size. The tighter is the connection to the wrench head, the more chances you have to succeed.

Before unscrewing, make sure that the nut is not stuck in. To do this, try to turn it without making too much effort, otherwise, the thread or nut may be damaged.

If it does not work, it is recommended to lubricate the nut with oil or moisten it with kerosene and leave it for some time. A light tap on the screw may help as well.

When using removable heads with torque sticks, check thoroughly that these devices fit tightly. To do this, insert them until you hear a clicking sound.

How Does a Torque Stick Operate?

To describe the principle of work of a torque stick in simple words – it can be said that it works as a shock absorber. This tool is usually rather small, but it can produce big load on the mechanism. Its main benefit is the ease of use. You just need to plug it into the main instrument – an extension stick is fixed to an impact gun and then connected to the target nut or bolt. Torque sticks operate according to the rule of a torsion bar twist theory. The power of the torque is usually stated on the side of the extension stick. It means they rotate at a certain rate and stop applying torque when they arrive at the flex point. By this action, a torque stick absorbs the impact of the gun. It is important to avoid extra rotation as it can damage the bolt or nut.

Torque sticks are produced colored. Each color relates to certain tool power. It helps the master to skip reading specifications on the torque sticks while working. It is enough to choose the correct color.

The biggest advantage of a torque stick is the speed, as this tool allows mechanics to complete the mounting and removal process much quicker.

How to Choose Torque Sticks?

To find the right torque stick for the head, it is worth considering several important factors:

Size. Pay attention to the measurement system. The size of the tool can be stateв in inches or millimeters. The metric system of measurement is convenient to use when you are going to buy torque sticks by eastern manufactures. Western manufacturers use inches. Therefore, you should be extremely careful to select the right extension tool. After all, the physical parameters of the tool are first and foremost.

Material. Torque sticks can be made of 2 types of alloys. These are chromium-molybdenum and chromium-vanadium. In terms of quality, they are almost equal. Both materials are perfectly resistant to weathering, mechanical damage, and, of course, corrosion. Corrosion has always been the weak side of metal tools. However, these two alloys worthily resist it and will be able to serve you for many years. But be careful not to buy a fake as sometimes it is extremely difficult to distinguish a fake from the original. 

Length. Pay attention to the length of the torque stick. Every mechanic knows how long tool he usually needs. For example, for professionals who work with the suspension of SUVs, you need really long models. But for those who work with motorcycles, 50 mm will be fine. By the way, you will find extensions from 50 mm to 1000 mm on the market. The step makes 20 mm, 25 mm, and 50 mm, depending on boundary values. All the nuances can always be clarified directly in the store. 

Connector size. The size range of the square for fastening to the socket is the main parameter, which cannot be neglected. It is always indicated in inches and can be standard from ¼ ″ to 1 ″. To find the type of torque stick suitable for the socket head, you should carefully study the parameters of these tool parts. You should focus on the size that you most often deal with at work. You can always complete your set by adding rare size connectors gradually.

Connector shape. The profile shape is another essential indicator. There are hexahedrons and dodecahedrons. Torque sticks can also have a non-standard profile, but it depends on the manufacturer. If this is your case, you can only pick and buy the correct head part from the same brand as the rest of the tool. But it happens extremely rarely, and basically, all parts of this type have a standard shape, and you can easily find a suitable option.

Related Video: Torque Sticks – How They Work?

Conclusion

Torque sticks will become an indispensable assistant for any master. This tool is especially appropriate for mechanics and people who are involved in the repair and maintenance of vehicles. These specialists often have to work with bolts and nuts hidden deep in the structure of mechanisms.

With a set of torque sticks in the arsenal, any master will significantly expand his capabilities in repair and construction works. We hope this article will help you to widen your toolset by selecting the right instruments.


I’m a Matthew Johnson, and I’m a motor mechanic. I like my profession and every day I use many tools, but a torque wrench is most useful of them. I’m going to write about my experience of using different torque wrenches and share with you.

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