How much do you trust the torque wrenches in your shop? You’ve probably never asked yourself that before. But think about it.
In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we’ll go over the things that might be tweaking your torque readings.
No matter the brand, a torque wrench is designed to measure the torque being applied to a fastener. Chances are you have a torque wrench or two in your toolbox. Most likely, it resides in a plastic case with the warranty certificate. But when was the last time you checked to be sure your torque wrenches were accurate?
There are a variety of ways a torque wrench could give you false readings. In a shop setting, your torque wrench could have been borrowed and returned to its case without being wound down to the lowest setting. Not winding down the wrench to the lowest scale before storing it leaves the main spring compressed. This can weaken the spring and cause false readings. In addition, going to zero or past zero can affect the calibration of the wrench.
Another frequent problem happens when the torque wrench is dropped on the ground. Impacts on the shop floor can damage the internal mechanisms of the wrench. Sure, one fall from a workbench may not damage its accuracy, but repeated blows can cause a calibration problem.
So, how do you determine if your torque wrench is accurate? Some tool trucks have a torque wrench tester that can help spot a torque wrench that is malfunctioning. To do this, several torque settings are tested including the highest and lowest settings.
Know that it is not uncommon to find a torque wrench that’s accurate at 50 foot-pounds, but significantly inaccurate at 25 or 150 foot-pounds. If the accuracy is off, you should send it out to be calibrated. Annual calibration service is recommended by most torque wrench manufacturers.
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