Tips For Using a Torque Wrench For the Beginner

Welcome back to my series on automotive tools for the beginner. Today we will discuss some basic tips for using a torque wrench in case you are not familiar with how to best ensure that you are tightening your fastener properly. If you are going to need to use a torque wrench for whatever job you are working on you will want to be sure that you are using it properly. The torque specifications to which you are tightening to may be involved with determining bearing clearances, in which case the proper use of a torque wrench isn’t only important, but required.So here are the basic tips to know:Tip 1: When grabbing the torque wrench, make sure you grab far down the shaft, not up by the dial. Grabbing low gives you more leverage and control over the wrench and fastener.Tip 2: When you are looking at your project, tighten the nuts or bolts down in a sequence that will apply load or pressure evenly across the item. Do not use it in a pure clockwise of counter clockwise direction. Whatever is being tightened needs to move down evenly or your readings may be off significantly.Tip 3: When working on a series of bolts or nuts, tighten them until they are snug, then go back over them for a final tightening and reading. This is once again to assure that you are placing even load on the surface you are working on. This is good general information, but becomes absolutely necessary when using a torque wrench on a surface that requires specific torque pressure.Tip 4: When using your torque wrench make sure that the bolt or nut moves freely along the threads you are tightening against. I like to use an assembly lube specifically designed for this application. If the fastener has resistance in its movement along the threads your torque readings will take that resistance into account as metered torque and while the readings might otherwise indicate that the fastener is properly torque, it won’t be.