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Torque wrench necessary?

Old 09-22-2018, 01:03 PM
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gaustins11
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Default Torque wrench necessary?

So I see the torque specification is to tighten lug nuts to 100 lbs. How exact should that be? Do I need to buy a torque wrench to replace my good 'ol 4-way lug wrench?
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:12 PM
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So the book says torque them but I have owned over 100 vehicles during the last 40 years, lots of them with alloy wheels and never torqued a lug nut. Lately I've been using a ratchet but I used to use air tools in the past.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:32 PM
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lrobe22
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Yes, you need to use a torque wrench.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by lrobe22 View Post
Yes, you need to use a torque wrench.
You can find decent 1/2" drive torque wrenches for under $100. Look at the Kobalt torque wrench at Lowe's or a Craftsman torque wrench. Amazon has a variety of brands too. The OEM lug nuts are 19mm so get a 19mm socket (a 3/4" socket works too) and a 6" 1/2" drive extension. A "deep" 19mm or 3/4" socket works too. This socket helps if you have longer aftermarket lugnuts.

I torque the lug nuts on my Corvettes in two stages; first to 70 ft-lbs then to 100.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:55 PM
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I always torque mine because I don't want to use an impact and damage the lug nuts I bought
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:07 PM
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Toys4Life C5
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My rules of thumb.
1. If something bad could happen if it comes loose - then torque it for sure.
2. If not, torque it or roll the dice- your choice.

Bolts stretch when you tighten them, Not enough torque, they come loose. Just enough, they strech and hold. Too tight you fatigue or snap the bolt.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:08 PM
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Perhaps if you think of it as an "addition" to your tool chest, instead of as a "replacement", the perspective will change

A torque wrench can be a very important tool to have. With aluminum components, it is especially important to just not go tightening everything "by feel". They are a must when something is required to be torqued to the correct pre-load value.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:29 PM
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I consider a torque wrench a necessity. Last winter my 45 year old 1/2” Drive one finally gave up the ghost. I googled best torque wrench. Found a review article of top 8 or 10. The article used price, performance, etc. to rate. Top was Snap On at about $150. #2 was a brand I was not familiar with. Googled that wrench and read reviews...all positive. Found the wrench on Amazon for $50 and free shipping. Ordered one and have been using it for 6 months...works great so far. I use a short extension and deep well socket with the protective sleeve to tighten lugs on chrome, aluminum, etc. wheels to not mar them.

I also have a 3/8“ drive torque wrench to use on smaller sized nuts, especially in tighter confines where the longer 1/2” Drive doesn’t work as well.

These are are small investments in the scope of things and a wise investment IMO.

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Old 09-22-2018, 02:41 PM
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Yes, get a torque wrench and use it when working on the car.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:50 PM
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As GCG suggested, consider this a nice (and necessary) addition to your tool chest. And as c4cruiser and Hardscrable said, you can find some relatively affordable.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Toys4Life C5 View Post
My rules of thumb.
1. If something bad could happen if it comes loose - then torque it for sure.
2. If not, torque it or roll the dice- your choice.

Bolts stretch when you tighten them, Not enough torque, they come loose. Just enough, they strech and hold. Too tight you fatigue or snap the bolt.
Now I never thought about the bolt stretching. Makes sense though. I'm not good with dice. I'll get a torque wrench. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:25 PM
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Another reason to use a torque wrench is to keep the bolt loads on the hubs and brake rotors relatively equal.

True story. About a dozen years ago, when I was working at a dealership, doing inspection/reconditioning on their used cars, we got a shipment of 9 nearly identical (except for color and options) luxury cars. They were all "off lease" two year old cars with between 30,000 and 40,000 miles. Out of the nine cars, four of them needed tires. They still had the original factory installed rubber on them, and no signs that they'd ever been touched (never even rotated the tires as far as I could tell). All of those wheels were easily removed (with a battery powered "impact wrench" of the time) for dismounting the worn tires and installing new tires. The lugs were tightened to factory spec, but no tighter.

The other five cars all had fresh tires on them, lots of tread, different brands of tires. Every last one of those cars had warped brake rotors and shook like hell when you pressed the brake pedal. Removing the wheels from those took a while, even with a strong air powered impact wrench. For a couple of them, I had to put the car back on the ground and use a breaker bar and cheater pipe to break the lugs loose. The lugs had obviously been installed by a tire place with an impact wrench and an operator who wailed on them with the impact wrench until he was bored, then moved on to the next nut.

Last edited by C6_Racer_X; 09-22-2018 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:46 PM
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I have a digital snap on torque wrench at work. Beeps and vibrates and makes you coffee when the bolt is tight. Also does torque angle for stuff like cylinder heads. At $640 dollars it better LOL.

On the flip side, before I moved up in the auto business I just used a 40 dollar off the wall torque wrench from advanced auto parts. I bought it 10 years ago and still have it at home for use when I need it. Its never broken anything and nothings ever come loose, so i call it a win.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:08 PM
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You can get a torque wrench for about $10 when they are on sale at Harbor Freight.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by acuevo View Post
I have a digital snap on torque wrench at work. Beeps and vibrates and makes you coffee when the bolt is tight. Also does torque angle for stuff like cylinder heads. At $640 dollars it better LOL.

On the flip side, before I moved up in the auto business I just used a 40 dollar off the wall torque wrench from advanced auto parts. I bought it 10 years ago and still have it at home for use when I need it. Its never broken anything and nothings ever come loose, so i call it a win.
Well, I don't think I like coffee that much, but I am convinced I need to use a torque wrench. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:44 PM
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Harbor freight torque wrenches can be a little iffy. As a matter of fact, I'm skeptical of any mechanical (click type) Torque Wrench made from Chineseum. They tend to be "sticky" and you can significantly overtorque a fastener with them if they get stuck and don't click. Don't ask me how I (and several of my friends) know this.

The old fashioned beam type torque wrenches are OK, although reading them can be difficult. I'm referring to a beam type torque driver like this 1/2" drive Craftsman version http://amzn.com/B007KHFFVA There are less expensive versions made from genuine Chineseum for under $20.

A good, relatively inexpensive option is the electronic "digital torque adapter." I have one like this from Amazon. http://amzn.com/B009GLISI0/ Use it as your extension when installing the lugs and you'll be golden.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by C6_Racer_X View Post
Harbor freight torque wrenches can be a little iffy. As a matter of fact, I'm skeptical of any mechanical (click type) Torque Wrench made from Chineseum. They tend to be "sticky" and you can significantly overtorque a fastener with them if they get stuck and don't click. Don't ask me how I (and several of my friends) know this.

The old fashioned beam type torque wrenches are OK, although reading them can be difficult. I'm referring to a beam type torque driver like this 1/2" drive Craftsman version http://amzn.com/B007KHFFVA There are less expensive versions made from genuine Chineseum for under $20.

A good, relatively inexpensive option is the electronic "digital torque adapter." I have one like this from Amazon. http://amzn.com/B009GLISI0/ Use it as your extension when installing the lugs and you'll be golden.
Never a problem with clicker types. If I haven't used it in a while I put it on half the torque I'm looking for to make sure it clicks. I've checked the Harbor Freight clickers against my Craftsman and Snapon clicker. No problemo. Wheel torque ain't rocket science. Prolly more important that the torque be consistant.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:08 PM
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Beware those beam type torque wrenches. They will out live you.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:13 PM
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A good torque wrench is a critical part of any good toolbox. I have 25, 100 and 250lb torque wrenches and I use them all the time. I feel much better knowing that whatever Iím driving, things are done properly. Taking that corner full speed? Yeah my lugs are done right.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:59 PM
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IMO yes. If you're doing work that calls for a torque rating, on a critical component particularly, do it. Wheels apply.
A decent torque wrench is one of the most important tools in a tool cabinet. I also have 2; one standard, one inch pound.

Last edited by grantv; 09-22-2018 at 06:59 PM.
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