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How to use a torque wrench

9 STEPS

A torque wrench is a specialized tool — nothing else in your toolbox can take its place. Treat your torque wrench right and it will provide accurate fastenings, giving you peace of mind.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Step

Choose the right size

Torque wrenches come in different sizes, so make sure you pick one that meets your vehicle’s specifications.

Step

Use for final adjustments only

A torque wrench is a precision tool, so should not be used for the full fastening job. Doing so can cause undue wear and tear on the tool. Instead, use a fastening tool, such as an impact wrench, ratchet, or any other fastening device, until the bolt is snug and then use a torque wrench for the final adjustment.

Step

Set the torque value

Unlock the handle and rotate it until you’ve reached your desired torque on the main scale (located on the shaft). Check your owner’s manual to find the precise value.

Step

Insert a socket

Choose a socket that fits the fastener you want to tighten and insert it onto the square drive of the ratchet. Then attach it to the fastener.

Step

Apply pressure

Using only your hands, apply slow, steady pressure to the handle. Do not put pressure on any other part of the wrench.

Step

Do not over-torque

When the wrench momentarily releases, either with or without a click noise, release the pressure immediately.

Step

Dial it back to zero

After using your torque wrench, always dial it back to zero. Leaving it set means the spring mechanism inside it remains loaded, taxing and wearing out the spring unnecessarily.

Step

Take care of it

The mechanism inside a torque wrench is specifically calibrated to offer precision while fastening. Damage to the tool can affect performance, so handle it carefully.

Step

Don’t use it as a breaker bar

Keep in mind that a torque wrench is only made for fastening. Don’t use it as a breaker bar to unfasten bolts, as you could damage the mechanism.