You might be new to the DIY world or you may have been browsing through the tool aisle at your auto parts store and saw torque wrenches for sale. You may be wondering what exactly is a torque wrench, what do they do, and do you really need one?
In short, a torque wrench is used to tighten bolts or nuts to a set torque value, measured usually in inch-pounds or foot-pounds. This tool allows nuts and bolts to be tightened to a specific tension, keeping two or more parts tightly together, but not so tight that the fastener is under stress.
Torque wrenches were first introduced in 1918 and have become a staple in most toolboxes.
What Does the Word “Torque” Mean?
Torque is a measurement of how much force an object needs to rotate or move the object. Torque is most often measured in foot-pounds, inch-pounds, or the newton meter.
The Different Types of Torque Wrenches
In the same way that there are many different styles and makes of cars, the same is true with torque wrenches. All torque wrenches perform the same task, it’s simply a matter of which type you find easier to use or more appealing.
Some of the different types of torque wrenches available include:
- Click Wrenches- These make a loud click sound when the set torque has been reached.
- Electronic or Digital Torque Wrenches- This type of wrench will usually light up or beep once the desired torque has been reached.
- Beam Type- This type of wrench is perhaps one of the oldest styles, but they are very accurate and easy to calibrate. Beam style wrenches use a dial, similar to a thermometer, which indicates how much torque is being applied.
- Dial Torque Wrenches- These are considered one of the most accurate and are used by many in the aerospace and defense industries. Despite being perfectly accurate, they are also very wide and will not fit in all spaces.
What Are Torque Wrenches Used For?
You will find torque wrenches in many different industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, and regular home use.
Torque wrenches are used in places where a fastener must be secure but at the same time, must not be overly tight.
For example, the wheels on your car should be set with a torque wrench. You wouldn’t want the lug nut to be loose, or worse yet, for the nut to be so loose that the wheel comes off!
At the same time, you don’t want the lug nut so tight that should you have a flat tire, you cannot remove the lug nut. Overly tight lug nuts can also warp the rim.
Everyone has their own preference for what is the “perfect” type of torque wrench, so if you are considering purchasing one, it’s a good idea to try out a few different types first. Ask your friends if you can try out their torque wrench and see which one feels best for what you have in mind.