How to Measure a Torque Wrench

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Measuring the amount of torque that is being applied to a bolt is simple with a torque wrench.
Measuring the amount of torque that is being applied to a bolt is simple with a torque wrench. (Image: torque wrench and accessories image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com)

A torque wrench is a tool used to measure the amount of torque that is being applied to bolts and nuts. Specific bolts must be inserted with circular force. The torque wrench can be identified by its strong similarities to a ratchet, although it has a longer handle. Measurements are taken in foot-pounds and are displayed on a gauge along the handle of the torque wrench. Measuring torque to install bolts is very simple with a torque wrench.

Things You'll Need

  • Torqued bolts
  • Torque wrench reference guide
  • Torque wrench
  • Standard wrench

Locate the number on the top of the bolt. Some torque bolts will have an accompanying nut. A standard wrench will be used to hold the nut in place during the torquing process. Determine the appropriate size of the standard wrench, as this will vary depending up the size of the nut.

Look up the bolt's number in the reference book. A reference book will accompany any purchased torque wrench. The number found in the reference will be the amount of foot-pounds of torque that needs to be applied to the bolt and nut.

Spin the torque wrench's handle to the correct number of foot pounds. There will be a vertical list of foot pound measurements and an indented indicator marking on the lower part of the handle. Twisting the lower part of the handle to the right causes the indicator to move up while turning it to the left allows the indicator to move down. The indicator should align with the foot-pound measurement listed in the reference book.

Use the torque wrench as you would a normal ratchet. There is a movable metal piece on top of the torque wrench and will be slid to the left to tighten the bolt. If applicable, place the standard wrench around the nut to hold it in place. Move the torque wrench back and forth until the bolt is tight. You will hear two distinct clicks to indicate the correct number of foot pounds of torque has been applied. Lift up the torque wrench to release the bolt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not continue to torque the bolt after the torque wrench has clicked twice. This will apply too much torque and may strip the bolt.

References

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