For easy and safe opening and tightening of wheel nuts, there is a need to have a clear understanding of how torque works or operates. Talking about the measurement of the amount of compression a wheel nut is putting or applying on the hub, wheel, bottle, and a brake rotor, indirectly, this is the function of the torque.
To clearly define what torque is, you can term it as a means of measuring twisting force. In another way, it can be expressed as force multiplied by the distance (Force X distance). As it stands, as humans, there is no consistent way to measure the amount of force exerted on a wrench and the required torque that needed to be inserted into a nut or bolt using our mere hands.
If you want to achieve the right tightening of the spark plugs, the oxygen sensors, the valve cover gasket bolts, the cylinder head bolts, and the wheel nuts, all you need is a torque wrench. When getting a torque wrench, make sure it is calibrated. A calibrated torque wrench ensures better performance.
What are the available torque wrenches on the market?
When you watch closely, there are various types of torque wrenches on the market. The type of wrench you go for is dependent on the use or application. In the automotive industry, there are three well-known torque wrenches to choose from. These wrenches are Click, Beam, and Electronic torque wrenches.
The mode of operation amongst these torque wrenches varies slightly. The variation is to ensure accurate measurement of the amount of force to be applied to a particular fastener is known or can be detected.
Click: This type of torque wrench has a similar appearance to a standard ratchet. Inside this torque wrench are some special mechanisms which are effective for measuring torque. The micrometer-adjust is considered as the most popular type of click torque wrenches. The micrometer-adjust operates or works by compressing a spring which can be found inside of it.
Beam: This type of torque wrench has been in existence for up to 100 years. Out of the three listed torque on this list, in terms of operation, this type of torque wrench is considered as the easiest and simplest. The key beam comes with a handle. The main use of the handle is to exert the needed force to the socket. Connected to the socket head is the indicator beam.
While tightening a fastener, the indicator beam doesn’t make any movement. To achieve a torque reading, the deflected distance is measured by the gauge which is placed or can be found on the main beam. This torque wrench can either be used for tightening or loosening.
Electronic: This type of torque wrench is completely devoid of any parts that move. An electronic torque wrench detects the extent of twisting force that is exerted to the socket, thereby giving out to a readout which is displayed digitally. This process is carried out electronically.
To get a notification when a specified torque is reached, you have several options to choose from as an indicator. You can set up the display to vibrate, beep or blink as the case may be. This type of torque wrench may as well come with a torque-angle function.
Using a torque wrench
No matter the type or size of torque wrench you have, you are expected or required to handle it steadily and firmly. In the presence of a torque sequence, this includes the head bolts of cylinder, wheel nuts used for tightening, and several internal engine and transmission parts, there are some important things you should know.
To make effective use of your torque, to protect it from possible damage, and to ensure optimal performance at every operation, there are some basic steps you need to follow. Make sure all the related steps are followed judiciously at all time.
When you watch closely, several fasteners need an extra measurement aside the twisting force. An example of such fastener is the torque-to-yield cylinder head bolts. The job doesn’t end after setting the bolt to the required or preferred torque. After the process of setting the bolt, there is a need for an additional angle to be specified, and turning of the bolt a little bit further, no matter the torque used.
In some instances, you may need to make use of paint marks. To attain the accurate result, it is advisable you make use of torque-angle gauges or electronic gauges. If you are making use of a beam torque wrench, make sure you stay at alert. It is very important to look closely at the gauge until the required torque is reached.
Once the gauge gets to the required torque, at this point, there is no need to continue adding force to the handle. For the click-type torque wrench, it doesn’t matter if it comes with either a split-beam or a spring, all you need to do is to simply position the dial and lock it into the exact torque requirement or specification.
Afterward, simply follow it up by tightening the fastener at a slower pace. Upon getting to the torque’s limit, there is a click sound that is generated from the handle. Apart from the sound the handle makes, you will also feel it in the handle. When you perceive either of the two listed signs or signals, all you have to do is to halt the application of force.
For electronic torque wrenches, the mode of operation is very similar to that of click-type torque wrenches. The basic differences between these torque wrenches are how adjustments are made and how notifications are received, either are operated or achieved electronically.
Using an electronic torque wrench, upon reaching the torque, a beep sound is heard. Apart from the beep sound, other signals include vibration, or a display of flashing light, whenever any of the discussed signals come on, you are expected to stop the application of force to do away with tightening the fastener beyond recommendation or requirement.
For split-beam wrenches, there is no special requirement as regards storage. For proper handling, ensure you keep your torque wrenches in their respective protective gears. Ensure you do not drop them, either intentionally or non-intentionally.
Also, make sure you calibrate your torque wrench every year. Once in a year calibration is the standard. Your torque can only function properly or optimally only when it’s properly maintained or handled. One of the easiest ways of maintaining it is by calibration.