How to Set Torque Wrench

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Setting your torque wrench to the right torque on a click-style wrench is pretty simple. There are usually two types of torque measurements on a click-style torque wrench, depending on its purpose and size. There is the standard American foot- or inch-pound settings and Newton meter settings.

Once you’ve set torque wrench to the correct setting, when it tightens the bolt or nut to that specification, it clicks to let you know that you’ve achieved the correct tightness.

But how do you set torque wrench to the perfect setting? In this article, we’re going to go over the advantages to using a torque wrench and how to properly set a torque wrench for your specific project.

Advantages to Using a Torque Wrench: Torque Wrench Setting

You might think that you don’t need a torque wrench to work on your garden and lawn equipment and install spark plugs. However, many studies have shown that most DIYers tend to overtighten just about everything, which leads to damaged equipment, stripped threads, and broken bolts.

torque wrench closeup

With a torque wrench, the problem is solved. A “clicker” torque wrench will make an audible click once you’ve reached the torque level you’ve set. With a “beam” style torque wrench, you watch the scale and stop at the right number.

Set the Torque

There are several styles and shapes to torque wrenches; it’s all dependent on their application. The standard torque wrench has been around since the late 1920s. These torque wrenches look like a socket wrench but are designed with a couple extra features.

The handle is made from elastic material which responds to force when it’s applied. Near the head of the wrench there is another arm that isn’t affected by the torque; instead it stays parallel to the arm itself. This arm is designed to reflect the amount of torque that is applied and matches the gauge that’s located near the base of the handle.

This is how a standard torque wrench works; below, we’ll talk about some other types of torque wrenches and how they work too.


Digital torque wrenches are made to remove the guesswork from using a wrench properly for a project because digital wrenches do most of the work for you.

torque wrench accuracy

They are frequently used in production and manufacturing plants where absolute precision is needed, but they also frequently used at home and other capacities as well:

  1. Set the torque value on your digital wrench. Many models have a “SET” button with down and up arrows that will let you easily modify the torque value.
  2. Set the tolerance parameter to set the “No-Go” and “Go” signal responses. Program the lower and upper thresholds for quality and safety control purposes.
  3. Put your torque wrench on the fastener and start making your adjustments. On many digital wrenches, a light or buzzer will go off when you need to stop applying torque.
  4. Check your reading. Most digital wrenches will utilize a green light to tell you that the proper torque level has been reached. A red light will indicate if the torque isn’t within the right torque level.


Dial wrenches give users better levels of precision when it comes to tightening bolts on cars and machinery. They are frequently used in repair and production facilities because using a dial torque wrench provides quality control.

Many people use this style of wrench for adjusting essential bolts and nuts, like the ones that you find on your car tires.

torque wrench for tires
  1. Set your wrench’s torque value to the necessary setting; this will be based on the type of job you’re doing. There are some models of torque wrenches that have double-ended drives that you can use for loosening and tightening.​​
  2. Position the wrench on the bolt and nut and start making adjustments. Many models have a beep or light that will go off when you’ve hit the desired torque level.
  3. Check the torque reading as you go if your model doesn’t have a sound or light. You’ll need to keep the gauge in view as you turn the torque wrench to view the readout. Stop turning once the wrench has reached the correct torque value.

Adjustable or Clicker

A click or adjustable torque wrench is an easy tool to use to make adjustments on heavy-duty products or cars. While the process is a bit different than that of the other types, it’s simple to learn.

Here are the steps that you’ll take to calibrate a torque wrench of this style and use it for your next project:

  1. Select the right type of torque wrench for the project. A ½-inch or 3/8-inch wrench will usually be capable for most jobs, such as brakes, tires, head gaskets, and engine repairs. A ¼-inch wrench is best for precise jobs.​​
  2. Check the fastener to make sure that you’re setting your wrench’s torque value to the correct setting. For instance, your fastener might say, “150 foot-pounds.” This tells you that you have to adjust your wrench handle until you get to the correct setting. There should be clear markings on the handle that tell you what torque values are available.
  3. Tighten the release at the bottom; this locks your torque wrench at the correct setting.
  4. Put the torque wrench in place to make your adjustment. Turn the wrench until you hear two clicks, this means that you’ve reached the correct level of torque.

Torque Wrenches Maintenance

Torque wrenches can often withstand serious wear and tear; however, you might notice that its performance wears over time. If this happens, take it to a repair shop that can properly care for the calibration of torque wrenches.

This is important to do because it helps ensure that your torque wrench is providing the correct reading every time that you’re working with it.

If your wrench is properly calibrated, then it can cause damage to your machine because you could be applying too much or too little torque.

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