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How Does A Torque Wrench Work: A Complete Guide

The bset torque wrench is a necessary tool that is usually used by mechanics and car enthusiasts. This tool is not limited to a mechanic only as people who like to do specific tasks by themselves also keep it at their homes.

To use a torque wrench is essential, and you must know how does a torque wrench work.

If you are aware of the working of a torque wrench, it will enable you to tighten the bolts and nuts according to the recommended pounds/foot setting.

This tool helps you avoid any damage or stripping of the bolt and prevent overtightening by following the recommended torque. Various types of torque wrenches can be found in the market that can effectively help in your tightening and loosening bolts tasks.

Below is an explicit guide on how does a torque wrench works and other information that you need to know;

What is a Torque Wrench

The torque wrench is the type of tool that uses a predetermined or a recommended torque to fasten the bolts and nuts.

This fastener enables tightening the bolts ideally without overtightening them or letting them loose by providing a certain tension. With a specialized internal mechanism, this tool looks very similar to the socket wrench.

Types of Torque Wrench

A torque wrench can be found in different types depending on their shapes and sizes, along with their ability to take the reading. The types of torque wrench that can be found in the market include;

Electronic Torque Wrenches

Electronic wrenches are torque wrenches that don’t possess any moving parts but work on electric sensors. The electric sensors present in these wrenches tell the user about the twisting force or torque by displaying it digitally on a screen. Also, the measurements and readings are saved in the memory stick of this tool that can be accessed with the help of a computer.

Beam Torque Wrenches

A beam torque wrench possesses a scale that displays the torque measurement, and once the recommended torque is reached, it stops. A handle is present on the beam that bears the external force applied on the tool. The level of torque is displayed on the scale located on the beam. This tool is not just primary and convenient but also cost effective.


Featuring a spring-loaded lever, this wrench makes a clicking sound when it reaches a specific torque produced when the lever breaks.

Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

Hydraulic torque wrenches use hydraulics to reach the recommended torque and are usually used in industries.

Micrometer Torque Wrenches

These wrenches must be used carefully and are usually used in the transportation and manufacturing of cargo.

Dial Torque Wrenches

Being extraordinarily accurate and broader than other wrenches, dial torque wrenches are challenging to use in small spaces. Therefore, these tools are usually used in defense industries as well as aerospace.

How Does A Torque Wrench Work

Undoubtedly, the torque wrench has provided a variety of benefits since its invention.

Although torque wrenches are specifically designed to work on the bolts and nuts of the vehicle, they can prove helpful in tightening and loosening all types of bolts and nuts.

The step-by-step working of a torque wrench is given below;

Adjust the Wrench

The first step in working of a torque wrench is to adjust it. Now for the adjustment, you will have to lock the particular settings.

The setting of a specific torque on the wrench is done by the cap located on the tool’s handle. To loosen the piece, turn the twist it counterclockwise.

Identify the measurements and set a new setting

After loosening the cap, identify the torque measurements on the handle and adjust the new setting according to your requirement.

The torque value can be raised as the handle is turned in a clockwise direction, while rotating it in an anticlockwise result in a decrease in the torque value. After adjusted, tighten the cap or screw at the handle to lock the setting.

Put a socket on the head of your wrench

Now, after you have adjusted the recommended setting on your wrench, this is the time to place a socket on the head of your twist.

Make sure that this socket matches and supports the nuts and bolts that you plan on tightening.

Connect the bolt or nut on the threading of the screw

In this step, you will have to use your hands and place the nut or bolt on the threading of the screw or opening of your vehicle and tighten it with your hand.

Keep on pulling until the threading is connected with the threading on the screw and till you cannot remove it further with your hands.

Tighten the nut/bolt by fixing the socket on the nut/bolt

Now that the threading has the nut or bolt-on, tightening them by sliding the wrench and adjusting the socket onto the bolt.

To draw the bolts, turn the torque wrench into a clockwise direction. If your wrench is automatic, it can be reset easily by moving in a counterclockwise direction. If it is manual, you will have to reposition the wrench on the nut or bolt to torque it down.

Stop tightening when reached the maximum level

Now that you have adjusted your wrench have set a recommended torque, and have started to tighten the bolt, stop when the desired level is obtained.

Most of the torque wrenches are automatic. Therefore, if you have a mechanical wrench, it will make a clicking sound when turned in an anticlockwise direction.

If your wrench is making the clicking sound when turning it anticlockwise, you might still need some tightening. In this case, keep on tightening the bolt.

But if a clicking sound is produced by the wrench while moving in a clockwise direction, it is an indication that the maximum tightening level has been reached. Stop immediately.

Moreover, if you have a manual torque wrench, stop turning it or tightening the bolt when the wrench starts resisting.

How do Torque Limiting Extensions Work

With the torque-limiting extensions, also known as the torque sticks, you can easily adjust the torque specification for a particular bolt or nut.

These torque sticks can be readily found in the market distributed in a vast range of sizes and prices. A torque stick provides multiple benefits, including high accuracy, convenience, and making the process a lot faster.

Below is how a torque limiting extension work to provide you the optimum results;

Choose the right extension

The first step in using the torque extensions is to determine what sets you require, and once you are aware of the setting, you will know what torque stick you might need.

Torque extension bars come in various shapes, sizes, and ranges. Once you know the recommended torque you require for a particular bolt or nut, you will have to choose the extension with similar torque.

Works as a torsion stick

The working of a torque stick is not complex at all, and it provides great convenience in the task. Torque limiting extensions work on the principle of torsion.

Deflects when particular torque is reached

The torque limiting extensions deflect or bend as a torsion bar when your torque wrench reaches the recommended torque. Although this stick is made out of steel and looks tough, it still turns when extreme torque is applied to the body.

Absorbs extra pressure applied on the impact gun

When reached the recommended RPM of your impact gun, the torque sticks bend and absorbs all the additional stress and torque applied to the body.

With this, the bar successfully prevents the unnecessary torque from reaching the nut or bolt.

Might not fulfill the specifications

Although this torque stick prevents the exceeding torque from reaching the bolt, it still might not fulfill the required specifications as it might take 5-15% of the required torque.

This value of torque varies depending upon the RPM value of your gun. But it is usually on the tighter side than the loosen.  

How to Use a Beam Torque Wrench

Being convenient to use and accurate, beam most mechanics, and automobile enthusiast prefers torque wrenches. Also, these types of torque wrenches are durable and can last a lifetime if you maintain them properly.

Here, we have come with a step-by-step guide to assist you while using a beam torque wrench.

Find an appropriate socket

To start with the beam torque wrench, you will have to find the particular socket that will fit perfectly on the bolt or nut you plan to tighten. Moreover, the size of the drive of your wrench can be changed by using an adapter.

Attach the socket onto the drive

Press the square end of the socket on the drive and attach it there. Drive is present on the torque wrench on one of its ends.

Apply pressure on the tool while placing the socket onto the fastener

The next step is to identify the socket in the fastener and apply pressure onto the device by keeping the handle centered. Hold the device in a way that only the handle’s pivot is touching the beam.

Turn the tool in a clockwise direction

Twist the tool in a clockwise direction. The handle will start bending as a result of torque applied to it. A needle is located above the handle of the beam torque wrench that will point to the amount of torque applied.

Keep on applying force till the required torque is reached

Make sure while turning the fastener that the pivot of your handle is the only thing in contact with the beam. Keep applying force on the shaft by turning it until the needle points to the required torque.

Release the pressure and remove the socket

After the needle shows that the required torque has reached, release the pressure from the wrench slowly. Also, remove the socket and wipe down your beam torque wrench.


What is a good torque wrench to buy?

A variety of torque wrenches can be easily found in the market, and you will have to choose the one that is excellent with respect to your requirements. Some of the considerable torque wrenches available in the market include;

  • ekton Torque Wrench (24335)
  • Neiko Pro Torque Wrench (03709B)
  • ACDelco Torque Wrench (ARM601-4)
  • Industrial Brand Torque Wrench (CDI 2503MFRPH)

How much should a torque wrench cost?

A vast variety of torque wrenches can be found in the market; you can choose the tool according to your budget. Mostly the torque wrenches price range can start from $5 and goes up to $275.

Do I need a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is necessary if you are planning on working on your vehicle’s engine or powertrain components. If you do not use a torque wrench, you might overtighten the cylinder head-bolts that can severely damage your engine. Manifolds can also be cracked by it. Therefore, you should consider using a torque wrench.

What is inside a torque wrench?

An essential torque wrench possesses two beams. One of the beams is a lever located in the tool’s handle that applies force to the fastener. The second one, also known as an indicator beam, is attached at the end of the wrench’s head while the other side of the beam is free.

How to use a hydraulic torque wrench?

Hydraulic torque wrenches require pneumatic or electric energy for their working and are excellent in tighter spaces. To use a hydraulic torque wrench, follow the below-mentioned instructions;

  • Fix the wrench components into the places, i.e., one end of the hose will be connected to the power source while the other will be attached to the wrench.
  • Set the recommended or the required torque on your hydraulic torque wrench. The start will be the lowest and increase the value gradually.
  • Attach the wrench to the bolt and turn on your hydraulic torque wrench.
  • Would you please leave it to reach the required torque level?

The wrench will stop automatically after reaching the set torque, and you can remove it carefully from the fastener.

Is a torque wrench necessary for bikes?

Torque wrenches have become essential in a mechanic’s bag, either it is for cars or bikes. As the recently manufactured bikes have lesser aluminum and more excellent carbon fiber, the clamps damage readily if overtightened. Therefore, you should consider using a torque wrench to tighten any nuts or bolts of your bike, especially for lightweight parts.

How to use an old-style torque wrench?

Old-style torque wrenches need monitoring the value of torque on the scale while tightening the bolts. As in the beam torque wrenches, the ranking points to the amount of torque applied, and you have to stop when you have required the desired torque.

What is the difference between a Torx and a torque wrench?

Torx is a screwdriver that enables you to tighten the bolts or screws tightly and conveniently, preventing any damage to the screws. At the same time, torque wrenches help you tighten the bolts or screws up to a certain level.

What is a spud wrench?

Spud wrench possesses a standard or adjustable box wrench along with a sharp spike. Both of these features are located on the opposite ends of the spud wrench.

What is a strap wrench?

Strap wrenches allow you to grip any object with the help of a chain or a strap. The tension is applied to these straps till they firmly grasp the thing.


Now that you have enough information on how a torque wrench works, its types, and how it benefits your mechanical tasks, you might believe its importance.

Undoubtedly, a torque wrench has become essential in a mechanic’s bag and people who like to repair their vehicles on their own. These efficient tools speed up the task and are also highly convenient to use, and provide excellent accuracy.

All of these benefits provided by a torque wrench reflect its importance. Therefore, if you are a mechanic or plan on fixing your vehicle on your own, consider buying an efficient torque wrench.

Also, you must maintain and take care of your tool to last longer and provide excellent results. Choose the best type that will suit you and buy a torque wrench that might last you a lifetime and will prove a worthy upgrade in your tool bag.

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