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How to Use a Torque Wrench

A torque wrench is a specialized tool used to tighten nuts and bolts. It can be set to a predetermined specific amount to avoid over-tightening the nut or bolt. Fixing a nut on a bolt too tightly may result in unnecessary damage to the nut. It is often used by auto mechanics because of the need to periodically remove nuts and bolts to service the vehicle. This routine maintenance requires that the tool being used does not affect the overall condition of the fastening mechanisms. Therefore if you are interested in performing routine auto repairs in accordance with proper procedures then a torque wrench is essential. Following this set of instructions should lead to successful results using a torque wrench.

Things You Will Need

  • Torque Wrench
  • Nuts and Bolts
  • The Manual

Instructions

  1. Inspect the torque wrench paying close attention to its features. It should look like a regular socket wrench with the exception that it has a dial on the lower portion of the handle. This dial controls how much force will be applied when fixing the nuts on the bolts. This is achieved by rotating the dial to alter the force limit required during use.
  2. To determine the torque (the force needed for rotation) for the specific nut or bolt you are currently tightening, refer to the manual. Look for the year and make of the car to ascertain the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  3. Adjust the dial on the wrench by spinning it forward or backwards to arrive at the specified setting dictated by the manual. Ensure that the wrench settings correlate with the unit of measurement described by the manual that you are presently referring to. The measurement system presented in the manual will either be the metric system or the US Imperial system.
  4. Locate the appropriate socket for the corresponding nut and bolt that will be tightened. Fix the socket to the wrench and fit it to the bolt or nut. Commence the tightening process of the bolt and nut, using short strokes of the wrench handle for the duration of tightening.
  5. Cease tightening once the wrench begins to feel like it breaks or slips on the nut. When this occurs the force being applied has achieved the required force needed to complete tightening. At this point the wrench has not been damaged though it almost feels that way when the slip or break occurs. The internal mechanism within the wrench’s handle releases the force when it arrives at the predetermined setting designated by the dial.
  6. The remaining nuts can be tightened in this manner following this procedure.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • If you have any doubts that the wrench has not reached the correct force for effective tightening, re-check the settings on the dial and begin tightening again. If it breaks as soon as the process is restarted the nut is securely tightened.
  • Do not use the wrench without the manual as this may result in unwanted damages.
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