How to Use a Torque Wrench

A torque wrench prevents the common over-tightening problem

Buy and use a torque wrench to prevent common over-tightening problems and avoid expensive fixes later.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Similar Projects

Advantages of a torque wrench

You may think you don’t need a torque wrench to install spark plugs or work on your lawn and garden equipment. But studies show that most DIYers overtighten just about everything. And overtightening leads to broken bolts, stripped threads and damaged equipment.

With a torque wrench and the manufacturer’s torque value in hand, the problem is solved: A “clicker” torque wrench makes an audible click when you’ve reached the set torque, and with a “beam”-style wrench, you just watch the scale and stop at the right number.

Torque Wrench Use and Care Tips

Tighten fasteners in two steps—first to half torque and then to final torque.

Clean dirty or rusted threads before tightening, but don’t lubricate them unless instructed to by the equipment manufacturer.

Always dial the wrench back to zero (never below zero) when you’re done with it.

Never use your torque wrench as a breaker bar—that’ll damage the torque mechanism.

Carry it with kid gloves—a single fall can knock the accuracy off by as much as 30 percent. If you do drop it, get it recalibrated (calibration firms listed below) before using it again.

Torque wrench calibration services (304) 253-5729 (800) 328-2897 (530) 268-1860 (888) 682-8675