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How to Read a Torque Wrench (The Right Way)

Torque wrenches are commonly used in cars, machinery, equipment, and construction.

Regular wrenches will suffice for simple tasks, but torque wrenches that can measure and set torque are necessary for delicate and more complex jobs.

Unskilled users will have difficulty recognizing the different types, utilizing, and interpreting the equipment, while professionals can take advantage of its advantages. Where do you start?

What are the proper settings and how do you check the torque applied to machinery? We’ll go over that.

How to Read a Torque Wrench

The torque wrench is used to tighten up nuts and bolts according to preset torque values. A bolt’s threads will be damaged if you overtighten the piece. On the other hand, if the torque power wasn’t high enough, the piece would be flimsy and unlikely to stay attached, and your equipment could break down, fall apart, or even cause accidents.

You must control and be confident with the torque level you apply to prevent both undesirable outcomes. Know your units and scales before starting. A micrometer, a beam, a dial wrench, and a cutting-edge torque tool are the most commonly used.

What Does This Tool Do?

Torque wrenches come with shafts with printed figures. A rotating handle is attached to the shaft that moves back and forth.

How Does a Torque Wrench Work

Within the shaft is a screw thread that allows this handle to rotate. The pitch of the screw thread is determined by the torque setting outside the screw.

Whenever the torque wrench handle moves forward, it compresses the coils of the spring. The handles are compressed tighter the further they are pulled. You loosen the spring by rotating the handle to the backward position, causing the coils to spread farther apart.

As a result, the spring strength in the shaft of the spanner is equated to the setting of torque out on the outside. You can therefore easily read and adjust.

We built a guide that goes over numerous  Torque Wrenches (USA Made) that could help you make the right buying decision. Also if you were in the market, Best Adjustable Wrench Made In the USA is one of our best articles to date.

An Introduction To Micrometer Torque Wrenches

Following a few uncomplicated steps will help you understand how a micrometer torque wrench works.

Step 1 – Push the knob

The knob must be turned anti-clockwise to begin the work. It loosens and lets you adjust the torque setting by rotating the gear located at the bottom of the handle.

Step 2 – Consult the scales

Vertical figures can be found above the torque wrench’s handgrip. A foot-pound is abbreviated to ft.-lbs in the first set of numbers.

A Newton-meter is abbreviated to Nm in the second set. This is the most common method of determining torque levels.

Scales with horizontal lines and vertically printed numbers are generally referred to as main scales. Torque settings of your wrench are displayed in tenths: 10, 20, 30, 40…

Step 3 – Turn the handle to locate the micrometer

Its handle is constructed of micrometers, which are the digits around its circumference.

By defining the second half of torque measurement, they make it possible to control torque more precisely.

Step 4 – Turn the tool handle

The torque can be placed by rotating the handgrip. The clockwise direction increases the torque value, and the counterclockwise direction decreases it.

Micrometer figures move along with the rotating handle as well. Main figures and micrometer-scale figures both change as the handle rotates.

Step 5 – Adjust the settings as needed

A precise setting is achieved when the vertical lines on the wrench handle match the vertical lines on the micrometer.

Added the main scale and micrometer figures together gives a torque setting. It’s a little above the 60-ft.-lbs mark on the main scale.

It’s five inches above the vertical line on the micrometer. You’ve set your wrench to 65-foot pounds here.

Step 6 – Tighten the knob

The knob on the instrument must be tightened to complete the torque setting. Rotate it clockwise to complete the torque setting.

Once this is done, the position and torque level can be fixed. When changing the adjustments, weaken the knob first and then repeat these steps from the beginning.

Step 7 – Be attentive to hear a warning click

The wrench will signal you when it has reached the desired torque level by emitting an audible click. Afterward, it won’t tighten anymore!

The lowest torque setting should be used to store a wrench to prevent tension from building up on the mechanism.

Here Are Some Tips and Tricks for Reading The Gear

Tips for reading a torque wrench

Always double-check the item description or instruction manual to be sure you’re using the correct amount of torque.

In addition to the primary scale, there is a microscope scale.

On the left, you can see odd multiples of ten, and on the right, you can see even multiples of ten-twenty, forty, sixty, and eighty-foot pounds. To settle the torque, several reference lines are used.

To read a setting, micrometer scales are rotated and numbered 0-10. In actuality, we’re looking at 0 2 4 6 8, with 0 replacing 10 once more.

Add multiples of ten on the left or right side of the handle, corresponding to the one digit, to determine torque setting.

The handle is intersected by the closest tens amount, forming a noticeable vertical stripe in the center. For example, a 10 foot-pound torque.

You select the major scale in the division of the tens, and the Micrometer provides you with the one-digit quantity. At this time, it is aligned.

Interpreting Figures on Beams and Dialing Torque Wrenches

Find the meter

A scale with an arrow and figures can easily be seen on the torch wrench’s lower part. Those figures represent the torque level in foot pounds and Newton meters. A torque is applied when a bolt or nut is tightened. If the static position is zero, a torque is applied.

Watch the arrow

Be careful when tightening nuts or bolts with these torque wrenches. An arrow indicates how much torque you’re using while you’re working.

Avoid damaging the bolt by using slow, controlled torque.

Measure the torque by looking at the arrow-straight down. Memory arrows are available in some torque wrenches.

The arrow that follows the main arrow shows how much torque was applied to the nut. When the wrench is disengaged, you can still see that indication.

Stick a piece of tape

Mark the torque line where you want to read for ease and comfort. Without a mark, a torque wrench or beam with a lot of stripes and figures may be uncomfortable to read.

A piece of tape can be stuck near the stripe of the torque needed or maximum if there is no memory arrow. Marking the wrench makes it easier to read.

How To Set and Read a Torque Wrench That’s Modern

Here’s the user’s guide

Learn how the torque wrench’s settings are adjusted by looking at the instructions that come with it.

Torque Wrench User Guide

In addition, follow all of the suggestions for adjusting and understanding the unit of measurement in foot-pounds or Newton meters.

1. Set the torque by using the arrows

Push down the up and down arrows to set your wrench’s torque requirements.

2. Parameterize the tolerance

By using the % button, you can set a precise torque.

When performing precision tasks, the majority of digital torque wrench models include tolerance parameters. When a preset torque level is reached, the indicator indicates.

How to Use a Digital Torque Wrench

As soon as you reach 50% of your desired torque, the wrench warns you with a light and vibration.

The tolerance parameters can be set by clicking the % button and selecting the percentage using the up and down arrows.

1. Adjust the sound and vibration effects, as necessary

In some models of digital torque wrenches, the gear can produce additional oscillations and sounds.

Using a torque wrench with a comfortable grip and great results can be as simple as customizing the effects.

2. Prepare the pieces

Bolt threads should be cleaned.

The torque will be applied, but don’t remember to apply lubricant or tape. Neither is suggested.

3. Correct torques for extensions

Whenever you are using extra parts, such as extensions, or adapters, make sure that you calculate the torque carefully.

It is important to remember that for each inch of extension, 1 ft-lb must be added.

4. Signal the end of your work

Those are the signals that let you know you’ve achieved your goal – the level of torque you want. You’ll know to stop once you see them.


When you have a basic understanding of how torque wrenches work, reading them becomes easy.

Learning how to adjust the settings, in addition to understanding the principles, will help you become proficient.

Having one of these in your toolbox is always an advantage. Be sure to pick one up!

Stewart Kaplan
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