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Torque sticks are often confused with torque wrenches but they are two very different tools. While torque sticks are not a well-known tool, they save you a headache and save your hands from the tortures of tightening.
We love this tool and believe it should be a staple in your toolbox. So, we’re going to explain what a torque stick is, what it’s used for, and even how it works.
Then, we’re going to share our favorite torque sticks so you can add one to your toolbox and have it ready when you need it.
What is a Torque Stick?
A torque stick is also known as a torque bar or torque limiting extension bar and is an add-on for your impact wrench. It’s usually made from strung steel which allows it to flex slightly. The thicker the torque stick, the higher the torque it controls and uses.
As you probably already know, impact wrenches are a must-have for any mechanic or tire shops. These wrenches are powerful tools that deliver a large amount of torque which comes in handy for a lot of jobs.
When you add a torque stick to your impact wrench, you’re picking the amount of torque force that the wrench has. Each torque stick has its own amount of force which is why they come in sets.
Just like with a torque wrench, once the desired amount of torque is reached, the stick locks so you can’t move it any further to prevent over-tightening.
Torque sticks are an important tool for mechanics or anyone who works on vehicles. Specifically, they make removing lugs from tires super easy and super fast.
How to Use a Torque Stick
If you’re using a torque stick to remove lugs from a tire, it’s important to take the proper precautions. These steps ensure the right force is used and as well as ensure your safety.
1. First, examine the tires you’re working on, checking for dirt and debris. If there’s any dirt on the tire, clean it before doing anything else but do not use any lubricants because they can affect the torque. A wire brush works best for cleaning tires.
2. Next, add the wheel and the hubcap. Hand-tighten the fasteners first so the hubcap is attached to the wheel. Do this in a star pattern to make sure everything is tightened evenly.
3. Choose the torque stick that provides the amount of force you need and attach it to your impact wrench.
4. Plug in the impact wrench and test it to make sure it’s operating correctly.
5. Lower your tire just enough that it doesn’t move while you’re tightening the lugs and bolts.
6. Use the torque stick on the lugs, following the same star pattern. Once you’ve reached the desired amount of torque, the torque stick prevents you from tightening any further.7. Double-check that each fastener is tight and secure
Our Top 3 Torque Sticks
These are our favorite torque sticks. They’re all great quality and we feel they really stand out over the competition.
ABN Color-Coded Torque Limiting Bar 10-Piece Set
- The ABN Color-Coded Torque Limiting Bar Set has 10 torque sticks to make your work easier. This included more torque options than the other sets we chose so, if you need a wide variety, this may be your best bet.
- They are made from chrome-molybdenum steel and manganese phosphate so they’re built to last.
- All 10 torque sticks are color-coded so you can easily choose the one you need. They also have the size etched into the side if you’re not sure what each color stands for.
- They have spring-loaded ball drive ends. These drive ends ensure that the stick locks once you reach the desired torque and that there are no accidents if your hand slips from the tool.
- They are 8 inches long.
- They come with a heavy-duty plastic blow-molded carrying case for easy storage and transport.
Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar 5-Piece Set
- The Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar 5-Piece Set promises accurate and consistent torque every time.
- They’re made of chrome-molybdenum steel. This heavy-duty metal ensures that they’re durable while still allowing them to flex appropriately.
- These torque sticks are 8 inches long.
- Each torque stick is color-coded so you can quickly judge sizes.
- They cover 65, 80, 100, 120, and 140 foot/pounds.
- This set comes in a carrying case which makes them easy to store away or transport.
- Another great thing about this set is it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Neiko 02450A Torque Limiting Extension Bar 5-Piece Set
- Neiko’s 02450A Torque Limiting Extension Bar 5-Piece Set brings are extremely accurate so you’ll never over-tighten.
- These torque sticks are made of chrome-molybdenum steel so they’re heavy-duty. These should last for years.
- They have spring-loaded ball drive ends. These special ends lock snug when you reach the desired amount of force. This type of end also creates a secure attachment so you’re less likely to drop them while you’re working.
- They’re 8 inches long.
- Each stick is color-coded so you can accurately choose the sizes you need, quickly and easily.
- They cover 65, 80, 100, 120, and 140 foot/pounds.
This torque stick set includes a blow-molded carrying case so you can keep them organized when you’re not using them. The case has a convenient handle making them great for travel or road-side assistance.
The Bottom Line
Torque sticks are a great add-on for impact wrenches and can help make any mechanic’s life easier. This is the kind of tool that, once you add it to your toolbox, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.