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How to use a Torque Wrench PROPERLY

Hey guys, ChrisFix here

and today I'm gonna show you how to properly use a torque wrench.

A torque wrench is used to tighten down nuts and bolts to a specific torque.

You should use a torque wrench because you can easily over-tighten nuts and bolts

and damage the threads.

Or, you could even snap the bolt head right off.

Also, if you don't tighten nuts and bolts enough,

they could come loose, which would be very bad.

All torque is is a rotational force, or a twisting force

and while working on cars, you'll be rotating a nut or a bolt.

And that can be while working on different parts of the car, such as the suspension,

the wheels, the brakes,

and even while working on the engine.

So let me show you how to use a torque wrench

All these right here are torque wrenches.

We have a 1/2" drive, we have a 3/8" drive, and we have a 1/4" drive.

and then here's the one I use all the time, which is a 1/2" drive.

Now let's say we want to torque down the lug nuts on a wheel.

Most wheels, the lug nuts are tightened to 100 lb-ft of torque.

And yes, the right way to say it is "pound-feet" of torque

not "foot-pounds" of torque.

But, everyone says "foot-pounds" of torque — I even say "foot-pounds" of torque

and it's really not that important how you say it.

But anyway, get your click-adjustable torque wrench

which is the most common type of torque wrench

and what we're talking about in this video.

So, to adjust the torque wrench, the first thing you do is you go down to the end here

and you loosen this little knob down here

and that allows the handle to freely move back and forth

You want to make sure you're using the correct units

in this case we're using foot-pounds

but if we go to the other side of this wrench

you can see here there [are] different units

because not everybody uses foot-pounds

and then what we're going to do is we're going to look for 100.

So our torque is 100 foot-pounds, you can see

right there we have 100 foot-pounds

so what we're going to do is we're going to rotate this

until our 0 right here

meets that 100 foot-pound line right there

so now we're going to just turn this handle until that 0 mark lines up with the 100 mark.

So right now our 0 is lined up to that one

which is 90 foot-pounds

We want to get to 100

So that would be 91, 92, 93

96, 97, 98

99, 100

The zero lines up with 100

And we are set to 100 foot-pounds

If you wanted to do 99

you just move it one click down

and that's 99, 98

right there.

If we want 101

We go 100

and 1

102

102.

Once we have it all lined up

you're going to take your locknut back here

and then turn it clockwise

until it locks this in place, so your torque spec doesn't change

when you're trying to tighten it down.

Then all you do is you get your torque wrench, put your socket on your torque wrench

put it on the lug nut

you put your hand on the handle part that you were adjusting before

and you tighten.

And the click means that you've reached your desired torque.

so you're done.

Move on to the next lug nut that you want to torque down.

It's as simple as it looks,

just tighten it until it clicks,

and then you're good to go.

Now I know the lug nuts are the correct tightness

so I don't have to worry about damaging the studs

or having the wheel fall off.

And that's really all there is to it

it's very simple to do

nothing complex at all.

As easy as these things are to use,

there are a lot of top tips that I can give you.

Such as, where do I get my torque specs?

How do you take care of these? Where do you store them?

What about the calibration?

Can I use extensions?

And another big question is: where do I get a good torque wrench?

So the first top tip I want to cover is, where do I get my torque specs?

This is where I get my torque specs from.

I buy the service manuals for the cars I own because I know I'm going to work on them.

And the service manual tells you the basic steps to repair the part

and it gives you the torque specs for the nuts and bolts

that you're going to tighten down.

The other method to get a torque spec

is to just do a search online.

For example, if I'm working on a Trailblazer,

and I want to get the axle nut torque spec,

I'll search "2004 trailblazer axle nut torque."

And you can see there are a bunch of relevant results

and this guy says 103 lb-ft

and he says he's quoting the service manual.

So those are the two methods I use.

The next top tip is taking care of your torque wrench so it lasts a long time.

Make sure you don't drop this or impact it hard

when you're turning this, because that could throw off the calibration.

Sure, if you drop it once,

you know, it's not gonna mess it up.

But if you're constantly dropping it, or you drop it from really high up,

you know, this is probably gonna knock out of calibration.

The other thing is, you want to keep this dry

and out of places it could get rusty.

Most torque wrenches come in a case, so use it.

This case protects it from moisture and shock.

But before you put it in a case,

you want to remember something:

inside this torque wrench is a spring,

which is under pressure.

The more you tighten the torque wrench handle,

the more pressure there is on the spring.

When you store the torque wrench, you want to store it [at] the lowest setting.

So loosen it up all the way,

and once you get it all the way loose,

tighten it,

a little bit past the lowest setting.

That'll keep slight tension on the spring

so it's not completely loose

but the spring will be unloaded

and it'll make your wrench stay in calibration a lot longer.

Remember, torque wrenches are precision pieces of equipment

so treat them that way.

The other thing is, you don't want to use your torque wrench as a breaker bar

or as a normal ratchet.

Use a breaker bar — that's why you have breaker bars.

These are made to take the strain.

You're going to wear the components in this out if you use it that much.

The other thing is

don't be using this as your ratchet to tighten this up all the way

tighten it up most of the way with a ratchet first

and then once it gets snug

then you can use your torque wrench.

And then that will just keep your calibration longer

and you won't have to send it in for service.

Now, speaking about calibration,

when should these torque wrenches be calibrated?

On average, torque wrenches should be calibrated at least once a year

or every 5,000 clicks.

So for most DIYers, once a year is going to work.

And now getting your torque wrench calibrated

could be kind of expensive

It ranges from $25 to $75

depending on who does it

plus shipping if you have to ship it out

So what I'll do is I'll test my torque wrench

to see if it's in spec

and I'll show you that in a different video

but you can actually do that yourself

so you're not shipping this out and spending a lot of money

especially if you don't use it that often.

Now another top tip I have is using extensions.

A lot of people are like, "Oh, you can't use extensions with torque wrenches

because then the torque won't be exact."

And, well, that's not completely true.

You want to try to use thicker extensions.

You can see these are 3/8" extensions

so they're more likely to have a little bit of twist to them.

But these 1/2" extensions take a lot of force to twist.

You have to realize, when you're working on cars,

sometimes you have to use extensions

just to get to the nut or bolt.

Now, the extensions that you shouldn't be using

when you're torquing stuff

are universal joint extensions that have a lot of play in them

and also wobble adapters, or wobble sockets

which have a lot of play in them.

because this will mess up your torque reading and torque spec.

The final thing I want to cover is

what torque wrench should you get?

Well, there's two different things you have to look at

the first thing, you need to figure out what drive torque wrench you want.

And the drive is what size the stud is.

So here we have 1/4" drive, here we have 3/8" drive, and here we have 1/2" drive.

So if your socket says 3/8,

you might consider getting a 3/8.

But that's not the only thing to think about.

The other thing you have to think about is what torque spec

you're going to typically torque down your nuts and bolts to.

So the 1/4" drive

uses inch-pounds

which is for tightening smaller nuts and bolts

I typically don't use this.

And then we have the 3/8" drive

and the 1/2" drive

The 1/2" drive goes from 20

to 150 ft-lb

which is the range that I like, this is what I use most of the time.

And the 3/8" drive

goes from 10 to 80 ft-lb,

which is a decent range

but a lot of times, especially [like when] we just did the lug nuts

we won't be able to use this.

So once you figure out what size drive you want,

and what torque range you're going to be using the most,

you want to figure out what price range you're in.

The more expensive wrenches like SnapOn

are definitely better

but you can get a decent, inexpensive wrench.

This is inexpensive, and I've had it for a few years now,

it's what I use in all my videos

No need to break the bank

1/2" drive

20 to 150 ft-lb

and it's what I recommend to everybody.

I'll leave a link in the description

to a torque wrench that is a good price

and is really good quality for the price.

It's not gonna break the bank, you'll be able to buy it yourself,

and use it at home, it's good for all the DIYers, home mechanics,

but those are things that you have to think about.

So now you should know everything you need to know about torque wrenches!

Hopefully the video was helpful! If it was,

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