In 2005, the US Grand Prix turned out to be among the most controversial in the history of Formula One. Why? Tires. Many of the drivers using a particular brand of tires had to retire from the race before reaching the finishing line. Sad, right? Well, the dynamics of an automobile are complicated, and that’s why you must always prepare for any event. Your car should have a kit complete with a jump starter
, a first aid box, and even a torque wrench in case you get a flat.
Torque wrenches are used to tighten or loosen bolts not only in cars, but also in your household. Over time, loose bolts may come out and cause problems that could have been avoided. Whether you’re connecting bolts or tightening nuts, you have to do it at a specified torque level. A torque wrench lets you do just that. The reason these wrenches have become popular is because unlike ordinary tightening tools, torque wrenches make a sound indicating that the right torque has been reached. Researchers have found that most DIY enthusiasts tend to over tighten things from the lawn mower to a simple fix underneath the car.
To get the best torque wrench, you have to understand the task you have at hand. The size of the drivers will determine the wrench that you get. Whether it’s 1/4’’ or ¾’’, you have to ensure that the size is right. The settings of the torque are also important, allowing for flexibility while operating. The accuracy of the torque wrench also plays a major role in your decision since you don’t want to make the bolts too tight or too loose. All in all, if you’re looking to upgrade your toolbox
, then adding a torque wrench is a must!
Investing in a quality torque wrench will save you tons of money. They’ll let you do most of the fixing without spending a fortune on a handyman. Better yet, torque wrenches are fairly priced; with $30 to about $180, you can acquire a quality wrench that’ll serve you well. The price of torque wrenches varies depending on the type you get. You’ll find that those meant for industrial use tend to be more expensive due to high calibrations geared towards more precision. You’ll definitely pay more for a digital torque wrench than you would for an analogue one.
When shopping around, you’ll come across cheap torque wrenches that we’d like to discourage you from getting. Such appliances may give you misleading calibrations, missing the purpose of having a torque wrench in the first place. Don’t jeopardize your work by going for one of these cheap wrenches.
There are many factors to consider before settling for a particular wrench. Here are some key features to keep in mind when shopping for a torque wrench:
- Torque -The level of torque you require greatly determines the type of wrench you are going to get. This is usually measured in pounds.
- Accuracy - A wrench’s accuracy is paramount for it to effectively carry out the task you want done. Always consider the percentage of accuracy given.
- Material - Most torque wrenches are made using steel, which is long lasting and can withstand even the toughest jobs.
- Weight -Consider the weight of the torque wrench, since one that’s too heavy will hamper its effectiveness in your hand.
- Type -There are various types of torque wrenches including: digital quality control wrenches, analogue, and even industrial torque .
Construction and Design
Torque wrenches come in many shapes and sizes depending on the task they’ve been designed for. To better understand the construction of a wrench, let’s look at the various types:
- Electronic Wrench - These are the digital ones that can be programmed to set a torque limit. The beauty of these is that they have an LCD display and a chip to store the readings taken. You can even transfer the readings to your PC for future use. These torque wrenches operate in real time and give you more control over the tightening process.
- Click Wrench - These click once a torque is reached and are usually among the cheapest and lightest in weight. However, you may overtighten since everything is up to you. This torque’s work cannot be measured or traced, so human error is always a possibility.
- Beam Wrench -This torque wrench has a basic design where the lever arm separates the head from the handle. The arm bends as you apply pressure, resulting in the tightening of the bolt. There’s usually a scale with a pointer to indicate the readings.
- Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench -This one has both visual and sound output and offers more accuracy when dealing with high torque. The fact that it makes an audible sound once your required torque is reached makes it an amazing device.
Performance and Ease of Use
Achieving the required torque using a wrench really depends on the set calibrations. Using a torque wrench is not complicated, especially the programmable ones since they do most of the work for you. When using the device, it’s important to always set the scale back to zero for greater accuracy. We advise you to carry out your task in two steps: first go for the half torque, and then the final torque.
Regarding maintenance, avoid using it on rusted parts and don’t lubricate your wrench without referring to the manufacturer. Avoid dropping the wrench since that can greatly interfere with its accuracy. In case you accidentally let it fall, you need to have it recalibrated professionally.
We looked at specialty tool and automotive brands to find well-made wrenches, and compared ease-of-use against price for each model. We then looked closely at customer satisfaction to determine which torque wrenches stood out the most. We've chosen a mix of manual and digital adjustable torque wrenches since both can be great options – depending on your budget and frequency of use.
To get the best torque wrench, pay attention to torque range and size before you buy. The bolts on your car wheels, for example, require a different amount of torque compared to the bolts on your bike. ½" torque wrenches are the most versatile since they're compatible with car engines, tires, and other common items. Whatever you're fastening, these brands have a model to precisely fit your needs.