The best choice is sometimes a relative term. So when selecting the best torque wrench for your car, it’s not the one who has earned awards or recognition nor the one that is precise and can bring massive force.
Instead, go for the one that can provide you your needs or rather what your car demands.
Amount of Torque Needed for Automotive Fasteners
1. Very Light Duty (15 – 75 ft. lbs)
It’s applicable for maintenance such as valve cover bolts, oil drain or spark plugs, and similar fasteners.
2. Light Duty (30 – 150 ft. lbs)
This is required in most of the repairs needed by the car. Repairs that have something to do with caliper bolts, head bolts, and lug nuts won’t be done if you don’t have this amount of torque.
3. Moderate Duty (50 – 250 ft. lbs)
Fewer fasteners are applicable in this range compared to light duty. It works well with critical applications.
The automotive fastening applications that you can do with this are the bolts of installed trailer hitches, hub bolts, and axle bolts.
4. Heavy Duty (120 – 600 ft. lbs)
It is utilized in driveline bearings and components. It is also helpful with transfer cases and differential.
5. Very Heavy Duty (200 – 1 000 ft. lbs)
The applications of this range are focused on harmonic balancers and camshaft sprockets. It is required by performance racing cars and other off-road vehicles.
Features that Can Affect your Decision in Selecting the Best Torque Wrench
Torque wrenches have various accuracy. The proof that it works well in this part is that it’s over 5%.
It should come with a certificate of accuracy and the date that states the calibration date.
There’s a need to re-calibrate your torque wrench per maintenance schedule of the manufacturer. It is a step to maintain factory accuracy.
If ever you dropped your torque wrench, you need to calibrate it to confirm accuracy. The way of storage can also affect accuracy, so better follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Warranty from Manufacturers
The warranty for a good torque wrench will be at least a year. Other high-end brands have a longer period.
The one with a metal body would work better than the cheap ones that are constructed out of plastic. Metal makes it durable.
To avoid banging up your torque wrench and knocking out its calibration, a hard case is preferably more than the soft kind. The hard case is usually made of plastic, and it is great as protection.
This feature is included in electronic and click-type torque wrenches. It brings convenience as it can be both used for left hand and right-hand threads.
It has a bi-directional function, and you can’t find this with the beam-type wrench.
Easy-grip is a nice feature when using a wrench. A slippery tool is a big hassle while you work on something.
With a good grip, you can manage to continue working even with fluids on your hand.
7. Scale Visibility
It’s best to pick something easy to read and set, whether it’s a digital readout and mechanical twist handle setting.
Types of Torque Wrench for Car Repair
Two specific types of torque wrench are made for car or automobile repairs. You have to take good care of them and regularly calibrate to maintain a dependable performance.
1. Hand Wrenches
– Click Wrench
It gives out the clicking sound to tell you that you achieved the right torque. It’s the simplest and more affordable torque wrench.
However, it is less precise than the other types. It relies on its operator to limit the torques that are applied.
It performs well as it can reach the more torque from 18 lbf.in up to 2 212 ft. lbs. It’s the right choice for its versatility and cost.
– Break-Over Wrench
It is more expensive than the click type. It limits the torque as it gives importance to assurance.
When it comes to the point of the proper torque, it prevents the operating to keep on adding more torque. So it has the control rather than the operator does.
It’s best to get this type of wrench if you want precision. The range is from 25 ozf.in to 147 lb. ft.
– Cam-over Wrench
It takes you from reaching the proper torque by disengaging or slipping. It delivers almost the same amount of torque with a break-over wrench, which starts with 2-90 lb. ft.
It is more expensive than the two other hands, wrenches. The structure of this wrench is ergonomically designed for the automotive industry.
It doesn’t need a huge range of motion like a break-over wrench. So it’s suitable for people who have limited working space.
2. Pneumatic Wrenches
– Discontinuous Drive or Pulse
It produces pressurized air to create a precise kind of burst. It is from a radial force to fasten heads.
It cuts the air supply or hydraulic pulse unit when you’ve reached the right torque. The operator can avoid over-torquing.
It reaches up to 332 lb. ft range. It is capable of dealing with any automotive applications.
The initial investment is its advantage compared to the hand wrench. It also delivers torque rapidly. Its service is best used in high-volume shops as it will help them to increase capacity and justify investment at the same time.
To Sum It Up…
Click wrenches are great for most automotive applications at the lowest price. For critical fasteners like in the cases of calipers and head bolts, you should go for break-over and cam-over wrenches.
Pulse wrenches cost more than the rest. But it has almost all the capabilities of other kinds of wrenches.