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Torque Tool

Snapon Torque Tools

Many items in automotive maintenance require specific torque values when tightening bolts or screws. Vehicle manufacturer specifications will give values (usually in pounds per square inch) for tightening that hardware. Many parts of the vehicle literally will not operate if these torques are not met.

So what are the tools that can be used to measure the application of torque accurately?

There are a lot of them, depending on application and need.

Torque Wrench (hand)

The most common in most mechanic's toolboxes, whether professionals or not, is the adjustable torque wrench or gauge. These come in various types and have torque values ranging from 35 to 120 pounds with most manual wrenches being in the 80 pound range.

There are two basic types of hand wrenches for torque: adjustable and gauge. The adjustable wrenches are usually adjusted by turning the handle to a specific point for the torque value desired. Then, when the wrench reaches that point under pressure, it releases so that more pressure cannot be applied.

The double-bar gauge-type wrench is also common. This is like a breaker bar with an extra bar on it and a gauge near the handle. The user pushes the wrench and watches the gauge, stopping when reaching the desired pounds.

Powered Torque Wrenches

These are heavy-duty tools used to apply torque using power, usually either compressed air or electricity. They work in the same way with only the power source being different.

These wrenches work by utilizing a set of planetary gears to increase the power from the electric motor or compressed air flow. They can be adjusted to the desired torque and will "break" (stop turning) when they reach that point.

Specialized Torque Tools

There are many types of specialty tools for applying torque to various other hardware and applications. Open-end torque wrenches are uncommon, but available for some uses as are torque-measuring screwdrivers.

Other specialty tools include torque multipliers, which are tools that amplify the torque being applied.

However you slice it, the competent mechanic, whether a pro or not, will have at least one torque tool in his or her box.

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