Choose the Best Torque Wrench for Automotive
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Torque Wrenches for Automotive
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Thanks to professional automotive torque wrenches, you won’t have to guess the torque of any fastener anymore. If you pick high-quality tools then you will be safe from applying too much force and such results as under or over-tightening.
This review focuses on the most popular U.S. automotive torque wrenches. You may check the comparison table to choose the instrument that may work for the best for your daily and/or heavy-duty tasks.
The buying guide will lead you through the variety of torque wrenches for cars and motorcycles.
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Torque Wrench – the best for versatility!
This tool is recognized because of the durable all-steel construction. It has a reversible head to tighten the bolts and nuts in both directions. Also, this instrument is rather small and simple to use.
- Factory pre-calibration
- Reversible head
- Strong molded plastic case
- Lifetime warranty
- Great instructions
- Simple use
- The markings are grey and hard to read
- If you drop the wrench it may stop working
- If you get it wet or too dirty, it may show incorrect numbers
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Torque Wrench can easily become an irreplaceable tool in any handyman’s toolbox. Do not forget the torque range limitations before the use.
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – the best for car’s safety!
It means you may tighten any fasteners in equipment and cars with the maximum precision.
Such an accuracy level prevents even the slightest chance to over-tighten or loosen nuts/bolts and get damaged parts. Also, it is extremely easy to use – when you hear the click sound, stop using the tool because the required torque range is achieved.
- Good quality
- Protects the car parts from damage
- Precise performance
- Easy readability
- Not good for heavy-duty jobs
- The lock mechanism is not very reliable
Besides all these features, the Tekton drive-click torque wrench is very durable because it has the all-steel build. And unlike the use of digital tools, you don’t have to invest in batteries and unnecessary features. This tool is a straightforward but almost perfect wrench for home car mechanics.
EPAuto 1/2-Inch Torque Wrench – the best for novices!
In addition, the manufacturer added the chrome-plated finish to make this instrument even more durable. Also, this wrench has a curved handle with a non-slip cover.
- Top-notch materials
- Comfortable and safe handle
- Simple and easy to use
- Great readability
- Comes with a sturdy case
- Too heavy
- Small torque range
- The head can’t be changed
- Hard to adjust
The 24-tooth ratchet head of this tool may rotate in both directions – counterclockwise and clockwise. This wrench may become a good choice for DIY car repair and small bicycle fixes.
Precision Instruments Beam Torque Wrench – the best for the price!
You won’t have to turn this instrument to tighten bolts. Also, it is long enough to reach even the narrow places.
- Ergonomic design
- Comfortable grip
- Loud and distinct click sound
- Quick thanks to the adjustment knob
- Has a flex head
- Made in the United States
- The plastic case is not sturdy and looks weird
- Only 90-day warranty
- Not good accuracy rate
This torque wrench is unbeatable if you seek a reliable and precise instrument to tighten your car’s nuts and bolts. The Precision Instruments wrench can be compared to the best-selling and expensive Snap-On that is picked by professional car mechanics. Take it as a simpler but top-notch version of Snap-On.
GEARWRENCH Electronic Torque Wrench – the best for extra features!
Besides, like most digital wrenches, this gadget has a few beneficial features – buzzing sounds, a solid LED display with a bright light indicator. The main advantage – additional guard options for keeping your car parts safe.
- Protection from over-tightening the bolts
- All benefits of digital wrenches
- Advanced 72-tooth ratchet head
- 5-degree swing arc to turn fasteners in narrow and tight places
- Batteries are drained quickly
- You have to buy batteries because the manufacturer doesn’t supply
This highly rated and highly accurate tool is extremely easy to apply. Make sure to check the preset modes before the first use.
The Buyer’s Guide
A torque wrench tool is a precise and small instrument with a torque measurement mechanism. Using such a tool, you will be able to tighten the fasteners to the required torque.
Most often, a tool with a built-in torque is used for repair and maintenance of automobiles, commercial vehicles, industrial equipment, construction equipment and assembling high-tech mechanisms. In all these cases, too much or too loose fasteners are at risk of breaking or loosening and falling out, which can lead to significant damage to vehicles.
As you’ve probably noticed, there are a few different types of torque wrenches for cars:
- Beam torque wrenches – the information about the applied force (torque) is transmitted on the scale that looks like a beam. This is the most affordable, least accurate and, frankly speaking, the most inconvenient wrench to use. It is worthy of your investment only if you do occasional and simple car repair jobs – for instance, if you need to tighten the engine’s screws once or twice a month;
- Drive-click torque wrenches – such instruments are much more accurate and convenient than beam tools, and at the same time, the price of click wrenches is significantly lower than digital instruments. That is why click torque wrenches are the most popular choice among professional mechanics and regular car owners;
- Digital/electronic torque wrenches – these accurate instruments inform the user with a loud beeping signal, light indicators and numbers on a LCD screen. These are the most expensive and most accurate wrenches in the market right now. There is no need to buy them if you have a single car and tighten the screws occasionally. These tools are mostly recommended for heavy-duty tasks in car repair shops. If you want to keep the expensive car engine safe, choose a digital automotive wrench;
The most important things to check before buying
- The maximum and minimum torque range;
- The size of the drive (squared connection);
- Correspondence to the ISO 6789 standard;
- Comfortable handle grip;
- A storage case should be sturdy;
- The overall length of the tool;
The most important factor is a torque range of a certain tool. Pick the wrench according to this setting.
For instance, you need to tighten the engine screws and the manual says that you should tighten these nuts with the maximum applied force of 110 Nm. It means you should pick the torque wrench the range of which is at least twice higher than 110 Nm.
Every manufacturer typically specifies the torque range for their instruments. In this case, you should buy the tool with the torque range from 40 to 220 Nm. The drive should be no less than 1/2 inches.
How to calibrate an automotive torque wrench at home?
- DIY calibration of a torque wrench requires from you setting the exact moment of the applied force (torque). At home, you can use a cantor or any load with the exact weight marking (dumbbells);
- Install the tool’s handle at the position and angle;
- Check if the wrench works;
- If a click occurs before the load moves, then you need to decrease the calibration of this instrument;
- If the weight rises without a click, the calibration should be expanded;
- Adjustment of the torque wrench is made until the load barely rises along with the tool’s click or beeping;
- When the required parameter is set, the lock knob must be tightened;
- The lock nut is installed and tightened to lock the calibration mechanism;
How to use an automotive torque wrench?
- Check the fastener type before picking a torque wrench. Typically the car manual or online forums can help to define the fastener’s size and type;
- Clean the fastener of dirt, grease and corrosion spots;
- The bolts or screws should be not be crooked or damaged – you may break the tool if you tighten one of such damaged fasteners;
- It is not necessary to lubricate the threads before applying the torque wrench. A lubricant may reduce friction and distort the results of tightening;
- The use of a torque wrench is usually recommended after pre-tightening of the fastener with a screwdriver;
- When tightening the fastener, check the visual readings only at right angles. Keep in mind that some torque wrenches have not very visible readings and you may need to use a flashlight or smartphone to read these markings correctly;
Picking the torque wrenches for automotive projects
The most common type of high-precision manual instrument for fasteners. Structurally, they resemble a ratchet for socket heads, in the drive of which a measuring mechanism is mounted.
Torque wrenches picked for automobiles are divided into 3 major types:
- Limiting (also called snap and spring);
- Beam, digital and scale-based (with indicators);
Beam tools are considered the most accurate one, but their price is the highest.
Top 5 torque wrenching tools for automobile owners:
- TEKTON 24335 has an accuracy rate of 4% (more or less);
- TEKTON 24340 can boast the ratchet with 24 teeth;
- EPAuto is a very precise ½ tool;
- Precision Instruments released the ½ instrument with a great ergonomic handle;
- GearWrench 85077 is my personal favorite with a 72 tooth ratchet;
Other awesome brands of torque wrenching tools that I recommend due to their huge assortment and affordable price: Mountain, Teng Tools, Gorilla Automotive, CDI Torque.
Consumers are usually encouraged to buy a torque wrench of the desired type and size separately. Also, there are kits consisting of a torque tool and a set of nozzles for it. On this website, I reviewed a couple of such kits and I think that my choice can actually help you. And I encourage you to watch the video tutorial and share your experience with these instruments for vehicles.
Video Tutorial: Craftsman Digi-Click Torque Wrench 9-13919
There are plenty of automotive torque wrenches in the U.S. market. The key factor to consider when buying a wrench is its accuracy. Even durability comes second. Make sure the instrument that you intend to buy is composed of durable metals. Also, it should be pre-calibrated so you could use it right out of the box.