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What is a Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench is an essential tool for any mechanic or home DIYer. But what is it? How does it work? And how do you use it properly? In this article, we will answer all of those questions and more. We’ll also provide some useful tips on how to get the most out of your torque wrench. So whether you’re a beginner just starting out, or an experienced DIYer looking to learn more, read on for everything you need to know about torque wrenches!

What is a Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific amount of torque to a nut or bolt.

It is important to use the correct amount of torque when tightening nuts and bolts, as too much or too little can lead to problems.
Too much torque can damage the threads on the fastener, while too little may not secure it properly and could lead to it coming loose.

There are two main types of torque wrench: digital and analog. Digital torque wrenches are more accurate than analog ones, but they can be more expensive. Both types of wrench will have a dial or screen that shows the amount of torque being applied.

What is a Torque Wrench?

Most torque wrenches have a range of between 0-100 ft/lbs, which is sufficient for most home projects. If you need a higher range, you can buy a torque multiplier, which is essentially a gearbox that multiplies the amount of torque being applied.[2]

What is Torque?

Torque is a measure of how much force is required to rotate an object. In terms of car maintenance, it’s usually used to describe how tight or loose a bolt should be. The amount of torque required varies depending on the size and type of bolt, as well as the material it’s made from.[1]

What are Torque Wrenches used for?

Torque wrenches are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, and construction. They are most commonly used to tighten bolts and nuts to a specific level of torque. This ensures that the fastener is tight enough to hold the joint together, but not so tight that it strips the threads or damages the material.[1]

Different types and their uses

Electronic Torque Wrenches

An electronic torque wrench is a highly accurate instrument that is used to apply a specific amount of force to a fastener. These wrenches are often used in situations where it is critical that the fastener be tightened to within a very small range of the specified torque value.[1]


Beam torque wrenches are the simplest type of torque wrench. They look like a big screwdriver, with a long handle and a small head. The head is where you attach the socket.

To use a beam torque wrench, you simply put the socket on the bolt and turn it until the pointer on the handle lines up with the correct torque reading.

Beam torque wrenches are not as accurate as click or digital torque wrenches, but they’re much cheaper and easier to use. They’re a good choice for general home mechanics who don’t need super-precise measurements.


There are two types of torque wrenches: click and digital. Click torque wrenches make a clicking noise when they reach the set level of torque, while digital torque wrenches display the amount of force being applied on a digital screen. Deciding which type is best for you depends on your needs and preferences.

If you need a torque wrench for occasional use, a click type is generally less expensive and just as accurate as a digital. Click types are also easier to calibrate if needed. However, if you need to apply precision torque regularly or want to avoid calibration issues, go with a digital torque wrench.

Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

Hydraulic torque wrenches are the most powerful and accurate type of torque wrench. They use hydraulic pressure to generate torque, which is then applied to the fastener. This makes them ideal for applications where extremely high levels of torque are required, such as heavy machinery or large construction projects.

Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

There are two main types of hydraulic torque wrench:

  • Pneumatic torque wrenches: These use compressed air to generate torque. They are less powerful than hydraulic wrenches but are still very accurate and ideal for high-precision applications.
  • Electric torque wrenches: These use an electric motor to generate torque. They are the most powerful type of hydraulic wrench but can be more difficult to control than pneumatic or manual wrenches.

If you need a powerful and accurate torque wrench for your next project, a hydraulic wrench is the best option. Just be sure to choose the right type of wrench for your needs.

Micrometer Torque Wrenches

If you’re looking for a torque wrench that is highly accurate, then you’ll want to consider a micrometer torque wrench. These wrenches measure the amount of torque applied to a fastener by using a calibrated screw.

This type of torque wrench is often used in industries where precision is key, such as aerospace or automotive manufacturing.

One thing to keep in mind with micrometer torque wrenches is that they can be somewhat delicate and require regular calibration. If you plan on using one of these wrenches regularly, it’s important to make sure that it is well-maintained.[1]

Dial Torque Wrenches

If you’re looking for a torque wrench that’s easy to use, then a dial torque wrench is a good option. This type of wrench has a dial that lets you know how much torque is being applied. They’re great for people who are new to using torque wrenches because they make it easy to get the hang of applying the right amount of torque.

How Torque Wrenches work

Torque wrenches are used to apply a specific amount of torque to a fastener, such as a nut or bolt. This ensures that the fastener is tightened properly and prevents it from being over-tightened or under-tightened, which can lead to damage or failure.

Most torque wrenches have adjustable settings, so you can set them to the desired value for each individual job.
For example, you would use a lower setting for a small fastener and a higher setting for a larger one.

It’s important to note that torque wrenches are only accurate when used correctly. This means following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the wrench in accordance with its intended purpose. For example, you should never use a torque wrench as a breaker bar.

How Torque Wrenches work

If you’re not sure how to use a torque wrench or which one is right for your needs, please consult a qualified mechanic or technician.[4]

How to use Torque Wrenches

There are a few different ways to use torque wrenches, depending on the specific application.

For example, when torquing a fastener in an assembly such as an engine, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure.

This usually involves tightening the fastener in stages until the final torque value is reached.

Other applications may require you to simply tighten the fastener until it reaches a certain level of resistance.

In either case, it is important to be aware of how much force you are applying so that you do not damage the part or over-tighten the fastener.

When using a torque wrench, always make sure that the handle is in line with the axis of the bolt or nut you are tightening.

Applying torque at an angle can damage both the fastener and the wrench itself.

It is also important to keep the wrench well-lubricated to avoid damaging the internal mechanism.

Finally, always make sure to calibrate your torque wrench regularly to ensure accuracy.

Following these simple tips will help you get the most out of your torque wrench and prevent damage to your parts or assembly.[3]

How to set a Torque Wrench

There are two main types of torque wrench – those with a dial or those with a click. Dial torque wrenches are adjusted by turning a knob to the required setting, while click type wrenches have a ratchet mechanism which ‘clicks’ when the preset torque is reached.

To set either type of wrench, firstly make sure that the joint you’re working on is clean and lubricated. This will help to prevent rounding off of nuts and bolts. Next, use the wrench to turn the fastener until it’s tight, but don’t overdo it! Once you’ve reached the point where further tightening would start to damage the thread, stop and back off slightly.

Do they need to be calibrated?

Yes, torque wrenches need to be calibrated periodically. Depending on how often you use your wrench and what kind of accuracy you need from it, the calibration interval will vary. For most people, once a year is sufficient. If you use your wrench more frequently or for critical applications, you may want to consider calibrating it more often.[1]

How are they calibrated?

The most important part of any torque wrench is its calibration. Most torque wrenches will have a certificate of calibration that comes with them. This is essential to ensure that your readings are accurate. If you don’t have a certificate, there are ways to check the accuracy of your wrench.

How are they calibrated?

One way is to use a known weight and compare it to the amount of force required to break free a bolt that has been tightened with the torque wrench in question. Another way is to compare the readings of your torque wrench to another one that you know is accurate.

If you don’t have access to another torque wrench, there are online calculators that can give you an idea of how accurate your readings should be. Just enter in all the information about your wrench, including the model and make, and the website will give you an estimate.

Of course, even with a certificate of calibration, torque wrenches can lose their accuracy over time. If you use your wrench frequently, it’s a good idea to have it recalibrated every few years to be sure that your readings are still accurate.

How often should they be calibrated?

Most torque wrenches will come with some sort of calibration certificate. This is important to keep as you will need to show this to your employer or customers if they ever ask to see it.

Generally, it is a good idea to get your torque wrench calibrated every year or two.
However, if you use it very frequently, you may want to get it calibrated more often. You can usually take it to the place where you bought it and they will calibrate it for you.[1]

If you don’t have a calibration certificate, there are other ways to tell if your torque wrench needs to be calibrated. One way is to compare it to another torque wrench that you know is accurate. Another way is to use a torque testing device. These devices can be expensive, so it is not always practical to use them.


What is the difference between a torque wrench and a regular wrench?

A torque wrench is a specialized tool that is used to apply a precise amount of torque to a fastener, such as a nut or bolt. It is usually used in situations where it is critical that the fastener be tightened to within a specific range of torque values. For example, when assembling an engine, it is important that the bolts be tightened to the correct level so that they do not come loose over time. A regular wrench can also be used to apply torque, but it is more difficult to get an accurate reading with this type of tool.

Another common use for a torque wrench is when tightening lug nuts on a vehicle’s wheels. The recommended level of torque for lug nuts varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but it is typically between 80 and 100 foot-pounds. Applying too much or too little torque to the lug nuts can cause problems, such as making the wheel more likely to come loose or making it difficult to remove the lug nuts in the future.

What is the difference between a ratchet and a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is a tool that applies a specific amount of force to a fastener, such as a nut or bolt. It is used to ensure that the fastener is tightened to the correct level of tension. A ratchet is a similar tool, but it does not have a mechanism for measuring or applying torque.

What car parts need a torque wrench?

While you don’t need a torque wrench for every single car part, there are some key components that absolutely require one. These parts are generally related to your car’s suspension and wheels – areas where it’s critical to have precise tension. If these parts are too loose, they can fall off while you’re driving; if they’re too tight, they can break.

What car parts need a torque wrench?

Some of the most common parts that require a torque wrench are:

  • Wheel lugs
  • Sway bar end links
  • Control arm bushings
  • Tie rod ends
  • Shock mount bolts

What can I use instead of a torque wrench?

There are a few alternatives that can be used in place of a torque wrench, depending on the application. For example, if you’re simply tightening bolts or screws, a regular ratchet wrench will suffice. However, if you need to apply more precise torque values, you might want to consider using a click-type torque wrench. These wrenches have a pre-set torque value that can be adjusted as needed, and they make an audible clicking noise when the desired torque is reached.

Another alternative to using a torque wrench is to use your own body weight. This method is typically only used for very small applications, such as tightening door hinges or picture frames. To do this, simply hold the bolt or screw in place with one hand and use your body weight to apply pressure with the other. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this can strip the threads or damage the object you’re working on.

Finally, if you don’t have a torque wrench and can’t get your hands on one, you can always improvise. For example, if you need to apply 100 ft-lbs of torque, you could use a long pipe or bar to extend the leverage of your regular wrench. Just be sure to use caution when doing this, as it’s easy to over-tighten and cause damage.

Useful Video: How to use a Torque Wrench PROPERLY


As you can see, there are a variety of ways to tighten bolts and screws without using a torque wrench. However, if you need to apply precise torque values, it’s best to use a click-type torque wrench. And if you don’t have one of these wrenches handy, you can always improvise with what you have on hand. Just be sure to use caution so that you don’t cause any damage. Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful.


  1. https://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=ideas-and-advice/torque-wrenches-guide
  2. https://www.rodcraft.com/gb/news/how-to-use-a-torque-wrench.html
  3. https://tools.cp.com/en/expert-corner/blog/7-things-you-should-know-about-torque-wrenches
  4. https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a26948859/best-torque-wrench/