Torque wrenches are in common usage across a variety of different industries as well as commercial garages and in the home. Despite their ubiquity however many people are unaware of many common mistakes that they should really to avoid making when using a torque wrench.
1 The improper storage of torque wrenches
You do not need to wind back a torque wrench that is actually being used on a regular basis. However if a torque wrench will be out of use for a long period of time then it needs to be wound down to the minimum scale setting, but not to zero.
If a torque wrench is fully loaded but then stored for an extended amount of time, this can result in a set in the spring that will weaken it over time. On the flipside completely off-loading the spring can cause other components in the wrench to move fractionally relative to one another. When spring compression is then reapplied, the orientation of the components can alter and have an effect on accuracy.
The best advice is to ensure some compression remains in the spring while the torque wrench is in storage and to protect the torque wrench in shadow foam whilst it is stored away.
2 You should only click once
Another common mistake that people who use a torque wrench make is allowing it to click several times. Many people are unaware that this means extra torque is being applied on to the bolts. The truth is that just one click is more than enough and in fact will better ensure the operation of a torque wrench in a steady and smooth manner.
3 Using a torque wrench on an anti-clockwise thread
A large majority of torque wrenches indicate only in the clockwise direction, which means that users should make sure to check the specifications of the wrench before making use of it to make sure it is suitable to do so. It is a bad idea to use a torque wrench on an anti-clockwise thread if it is not designed to do so as that will result in a loss of torque control.
Left-hand thread examples include the likes of the left pedal on bicycles and the left-hand wheel nuts on some motor vehicles.
4 Adjusting a torque wrench
Another common mistake made when using a torque wrench is adjusting it without making sure to meet the levels of required torque for that particular piece of equipment. These levels are always provided by the equipment manufacturers so there really is no excuse to make this mistake. The wrench should always be adjusted up the scale to get to the required torque figure in order to ensure the accuracy of the setting.
5 Not using the marked loading points
In most cases a torque wrench will be length dependant and come with a marked loading point that is located on the handle. However many people fail to make use of marked loading points despite the fact that they will receive much more accurate results if they do. This load point should also be observed when the torque wrench is being calibrated.
Avoiding common mistakes will help users to get more from their tool and ensure that a torque wrench will be more accurate and last longer.