How to Use Torque Wrench Properly

A torque wrench is a special tool that is used to tighten nuts and bolts properly. Sometimes, over-tightening may cause damage to the nuts and bolts. To avoid this situation, a torque wrench is a savior. It can perfectly tighten a nut and bolt to a fixed level. The most usage of a torque wrench is in vehicle maintenance. You don’t need any other tools to operate a torque wrench. The tightening process is done with bare hands. This wrench is not precisely the same as an ordinary wrench used for tightening nuts and bolts. Most of us don’t know how to use it properly. In this article, I’ve tried to make this clear for you. Let’s see how to use a torque wrench properly during car maintenance.     

The Process to Use a Torque Wrench Accurately

We will discuss the whole process in three specific steps- preparation, application, and maintenance. Let’s dig into it.

Step1: Adjusting the Wrench

Before maintaining your car with a torque wrench, you should adjust the wrench properly.

  1. There’s a tightener at the end of the wrench handle. Loosen it by rotating counterclockwise. By doing this, you will be able to change the torque wrench settings. Usually, this should be a plastic cap or colored differently.
  2. Find the torque settings in your torque. It should be near the torque handle. Search for the hash marks over the wrench body. There should be two sets of numbers. One over the wrench body and another set will be over the wrench handle. Usually, the smaller numbers are smaller digits, and the larger numbers are larger digits.
  3. While the tightener is loosened, you can move the body of the wrench freely. You can set to any desired torque amount by changing the torque settings. Suppose you need 140ft-lb. So, you need to set the handle between 135-145ft-lb. Then you will get the desired torque for the application. To determine the actual torque, add the dialed number with the hash number of the handle. Different torque wrench comes with different types of torque adjusting methods, so reading the user manual will be helpful.  
  4. Adjust the wrench according to your car’s needs. You will find it in the car’s manual. There should be a specific torque amount which is safely applicable for your car’s nut and bolt. When you are done, tighten the tightener screw.       

Step2: Tightening Nuts and Bolts of Your Car

  1. To start the tightening process, slide into a socket into the wrench head, which matches your car’s nuts and bolts. If you are using an extender or adaptor, you can adjust that instead of at the head of the wrench. The sockets are interchangeable and sometimes comes with the torque wrench.
  2. Take the nut or bolt and try to tighten it with your bare hand. You should do it until the nuts or bolts catches the threading on the screw. Do not use a torque wrench to catch the thread initially. Torque wrench provides a massive amount of torque, which might damage the threading of your nut or bolt.
  3. Hold the torque wrench in your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to slide into the socket inside the nut or bolt. Try until it perfectly adjusts into it and ready for applying force.
  4. Now start pushing force over the torque wrench handle in the clockwise direction to tighten the bolt. Almost all torque wrenches come with auto-return function, so you don’t have to reposition the wrench again and again. With this type of wrenches, you have to move the wrench in a counterclockwise direction to reposition it automatically.
  5. While moving it in a counterclockwise direction, if you hear a clicking sound, that means you should keep tightening the nut or bolt. But if you hear that clicking sound while rotating in a clockwise direction, that means you have reached the desired torque level. At this point, you can stop tightening your bolts.

Step3: Maintaining the Torque Wrench

  1. After your maintenance period, you should reposition the dials at 0. Loosen the tightening screw and put both dials at 0 positions. If you don’t perform this task after each time you use the wrench, it might cause calibration error after several days of use.
  2. Clean the sockets after each use. The easiest way to reduce the longevity of the torque wrench is by allowing dust or rusts inside it. Also, use lubricants where it needs to be applied.
  3. If you have enough experience in car maintenance, then you can easily calibrate your torque wrench. But if you are a novice, it is necessary to take your wrench to a mechanic once a year for calibration. It could help you to avoid dangerous scenarios while maintaining your car with the torque wrench.

Before Buying a Torque Wrench- Things to keep in Mind

If you want to buy a torque wrench to maintain your car with it, you must choose the best torque wrenches available in the market. Don’t go for cheaper ones. Buy it from a reputed manufacturer. Also, make sure the wrench is made of stainless steel. It will protect the wrench from dust and rust. Low-quality material can easily get damaged while applying force. Torque wrenches work under heavy forces; that is why the build quality needs to be top-notch. Also, please don’t keep the wrench at an open place after using it. Rust can easily damage your wrench if you let it stay openly. You should make sure that you keep it inside an air-tight box.


Own car maintenance is the most exciting topic for DIY enthusiasts. A torque wrench can easily expand the longevity of your car parts while other ordinary wrenches can’t. Tools like torque wrenches are most handy for an automotive vehicle maintenance procedure. It is hard to understand the procedure at the beginning, but once you’ve learned how it works, you will get the best output from it. Here in this content, my goal was to show you how to use a torque wrench during car maintenance. I hope you’ve got the idea.