How do you take a reading from a torque wrench ?

I know that torque wrenches are supposed to allow you to tighten nuts and bolts to certain tightness (torque) – for example some bolts on a car need to be tightened to a set specific torque.

I’ve got a 1/4 – 3/8 torque wrench set… looking at it for the first time…. what bit of it shows the reading of torque… cause I just can’t understand it.

Mine looks a bit like this :

Also would i need a bigger torque wrench and add-on bits to test/tighten my car’s wheel bolts?

Thanks (sorry I’m not good with tools but trying to get better)
Thank you for your very informative answers.

It seems my torque wrench(s) must be quite old… (they are at leat 15 years old and were passed to me from an engineer) as they are solid metal to the bottom with no extra setting area at the base – and the part which turns at the top also doesn’t have a setting area… just a "left" marking and a "right" marking…. no markings for newton meters, ft lbs, inch lbs dial indication whatsoever.

However thank you for some very informative answers which shall come in useful for when I buy a new torque wrench.

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10 Responses to “How do you take a reading from a torque wrench ?”

  1. Fitron says:

    You turn the handle on the bottom to the torque you want. There’s usually a locking collar on the very bottom to keep that torque set. When you are tightening a nut/bolt, the wrench will click when you reach the desired torque. A 3/8 drive torque wrench will work fine to tighten your wheels, as long as it can be set high enough. Keep in mind that if you use extensions, you must set the torque higher, as the extension twists and absorbs the torque. Always torque in a criss-cross pattern, and always build up to the recommended torque…never go right to the maximum. Never use a torque wrench to remove a tightened nut/bolt. Keep it dry and lightly oiled, in a case, and it will last a long time.

  2. gdiceman says:

    Torque wrenches can’t read!

  3. grindandflash says:

    The settings are usually in the handle. You need a much bigger wrench for your cars wheel nuts unless you want them to fall off.

  4. Sane says:

    The amount of torque set is indicated at the top of the black part of the handle. The black part should turn right and left to increase or decrease the amount of torque. So if you wanted 90 foot pounds, turn the handle until the little mark on the moveable handle part is aligned with the _90 mark. You cannot get a bigger torque wrench, they are all on average the same length. The size of the drive is not much of a factor, it only determines how high an amount of torqure the wrench can handle. I’d go with the larger drive if I were going to be using it a lot. DO NOT use expensions or a pipe on the handle end as this changes the wrenches internal torque settings by changing the leverage factor, and you’ll under torque the bolt which can lead to a disaster.

  5. yffar a says:

    If you want to be able to read the torque applied to a torque range then you need to buy a digital torque wrench or one that has an indicator. One thing to remember is that the torque you want to apply should be within the capacity of the wrench you are going to use. This is to prevent damage to the tool.

  6. Victor J says:

    well like The other gentleman said it is usually on the tool
    now there a few different types of measurement newton meters, ft lbs, inch lbs dial indication it usually graduates from left to right when you tighten w/ a dial type toque wrench it will show the amt on dial i suggest when you find out the spec of torque you find it on the dial and mark it so when you get to it it will be easier to read the more you do it the easier it is man it is not hard so dint be scared of precision tools when you learn how to master them there is high demand for people that can use precision equipment i see yours looks like a click type
    click type is the easiest kind to use they click when they get to the desired torque cool huh most parts stores will let you rent torque wrenches try that man good luck OK

  7. Edwin says:

    In my experience, i have used only two types of torque wrench. One, the easiest to operate has a little Gage on the the crank where the nut or driver will be placed to drive the nut, this relies on the bending or slight twist that is developed whilst fastening the nut. Its a good and cheep tool and its clearly marked so i have no idea why you have problems reading it. Though this tool is not used commercially and is not the preferred tool by those servicing on a regular basis. The second tool, is that explained already, and you have to set the tool to click at the desired torque settings. Now.. whatever tool you use, you must consider that the use of non dedicated extensions is not recommended and that these tools are critical and also very damaging in the wrong hands. They should be regularly tested, replaced and, or, calibrated! and be warned, old, damaged or previously overtightened bolts or nuts may fail if taken to their original torque settings, that is not to say you don’t torque them, that could be damaging and hazardous. If in any doubt, replace them with new ones prior to torquing. AND… That last bit of information is for the novice.

  8. notaclue says:

    The first thing you need to determine is it "inch pounds" or "foot pounds" you are working with. Secondly, you would have to tell us which torque wrench you own because there are several different styles which are read differently and determined differently!

  9. jason c says:

    Torque wrenches can range in price from£5.00 to £250.00 if you are going to use for only checking the wheel nuts go for the cheapest one that has the range required.

  10. studmuffin says:

    you got the 1 that looks lik mine.min,all i do is turn the handle,where the mark is,until you find the number you want and then tighten the knob on the got the clicking type.when it gets to the right torque it will click.

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