From mountain bike handlebars to cranksets, making precise adjustments will be easier when you have a torque wrench. It will make bolts and nuts tight as they need to be while making sure that they are not tighter than what is necessary. The right torque wrench will ensure the correct tension level.
Clueless about how to use a torque wrench? Keep on reading and we’ll let you know!
What is a Torque Wrench?
A bike torque wrench is a tool designed for precise tightening of bolts and nuts. It tightens at the desired tension, which is measured as Newton meters and expressed as Nm. In most bikes, near the bolt, you will find the torque level recommended by the manufacturer.
Many of today’s high-end and modern bikes have bolts that are designed to be tightened only at a specific level. If they are too tight, you will end up compromising the performance and safety of your mountain bike or road bike. This is why a torque wrench, which used to be a luxury item, is now considered by many as a necessity.
In understanding what is a torque wrench, we should first define what is torque. Torque is a rotational force. It is crucial to understand rotational forces to make sure that the lightweight materials and small hardware will remain tight for your safety. This is when a torque wrench enters the picture.
To add, you should also know the specific parts of a bike where you can use a torque wrench. You will be using it on the torque-sensitive areas of your bike, which will include the handlebar, stem, suspension linkage, derailleur, and crankset.
Is a torque wrench necessary?
Yes, a torque wrench is necessary. Especially if you are into DIY tasks, such as bike repair, having a torque wrench is crucial for repairing and maintaining your bike. It makes sure that the bolts and nuts are tight to the right level. This will help in keeping you safe.
Can I use a torque wrench to loosen bolts?
Yes, you can use a torque wrench to loosen bolts. However, you should be extra-cautious. You should not apply more force than the maximum torque that the tool can handle. It moves only a single direction, so you need to be careful. It is best to use a bike multi-tool or an Allen wrench instead.
How to Use a Torque Wrench Like a Pro
It is not enough that you know what is a torque wrench. To optimize its benefits, this section will talk about how you can use it. We are breaking it down into two parts. Before starting any work, you first need to set the torque wrench. After making the necessary adjustments, this is only when you can start tightening nuts and bolts.
How Do You Set a Torque Wrench?
Now, let’s have a closer look at the detailed steps on how you can adjust your torque wrench before using it.
Loosen the Tightener
To set the torque wrench, the first thing that you need to do is to loosen the tightener, which you will find at the end of the wrench. The tightener will lock the programmed settings. It is a metal or plastic cap that protrudes at the end. There is no need to remove it out of the wrench. You just need to loosen it a bit until a point when there is no more resistance.
Look for the Torque Measurements of the Wrench
Next, find the part of the wrench where the tool measurements are. This will be near the handle. In most models, you will see a set of large numbers and another set of small numbers. There are numbers around the dial and numbers that are arranged vertically.
Turn the Dial
Now, you have to set the desired torque wrench depending on what is needed by the bolt or nut that you will be adjusting. If you want to raise the number, then turn the handle clockwise. Meanwhile, if you want to lower the number, turn it counterclockwise.
On the other hand, for making minor adjustments, rotate the dial on the handle. The number will go higher as you turn the handle clockwise.
Once you are done adjusting the top and bottom parts of the torque wrench, you need to return the tightener in its original position. See to it that it is as tight as it should be. Otherwise, the handle will keep on moving and you will have to set it again.
How do you read a torque wrench?
To read a torque wrench, add the two numbers that you will see. For instance, if the hash mark at the end of the handle reads 70 and the smaller number that you will find in the handle itself is 5, then the torque setting of your wrench is 75 foot-pounds.
How Do You Tighten Nuts and Bolts with a Torque Wrench?
After adjusting the torque wrench, you are now ready for the most important part of the job. Follow the steps briefly mentioned below.
Slide a Socket in the Wrench
Start by finding the socket that matches the bolt or nut that you will be tightening. Because torque wrenches are expensive, the best way to make it versatile is by having different attachments depending on what you will need for a specific job.
Tighten by Hand
Before you start using the torque wrench, manually tighten the nut or bolt. Turn it clockwise with your fingers until the threading reaches the screw. Do not get it too tight. This will ensure proper alignment before using a torque wrench.
Place the Socket on the Nut or Bolt
You are now ready for tightening. Carefully align the socket that you have initially connected to the head of the torque wrench.
Turn the Torque Wrench
Once the socket is in place, turn the torque wrench clockwise. This will start the process of tightening the nut. Wait until you hear and feel a click. This is an indication that the nut is as tight as it should be.
Why Torque Wrenches Fail
Now that we talked about the specifics of what is a torque wrench and how to use it properly, let’s have a quick look at some of the reasons why it fails.
Among others, the failure of the tool can be attributed to not following the torque specified by the manufacturer. The bolts will end up being too tight or too loose, and this can harm the performance of your bike.
Failure of the torque wrench can also happen when you do not follow the instructions from the manufacturer. While the things mentioned above about how to use a torque wrench can help, different manufacturers might have varying instructions, so make sure to consult the manual.
Another reason for failure is that you may be using the torque wrench for things that they are not intended to do. For instance, using it to loosen bolts can be a futile exercise and might do more harm than good.
Torque Wrench Care and Maintenance
In this guide on how to use a torque wrench, we would also like to give you some tips on how to maximize the benefits of such a tool. Among others, emphasis should be on proper care and maintenance. Below are some things to do:
- Do not drop the torque wrench. It has sensitive components that can be easily damaged when you drop it.
- Keep the torque wrench in a safe place away from heat. Also, avoid wet and humid places. It is best to keep it in a protective case, which will protect the torque wrench from dust and dirt, among other external elements that can affect its performance.
- When cleaning a torque wrench, wipe it using a clean cloth. Do not use chemical cleaners as it can cause corrosion and other damages.
- Avoid disassembling the torque wrench. If there is any problem, it would be best to consult with a pro so that you will know the best thing to do.
- Do not paint the torque wrench. The paint can have chemicals and can damage the internal components of the torque wrench.
- Regular maintenance also requires torque wrench calibration. This will ensure precision. This is recommended after up to 50,000 clicks or at least once a year. If you do not work on your bike daily, it is impossible to reach 50,000 clicks in a year. While this is one thing that you can do by yourself, calibrating the torque wrench is one thing that you better let the pros handle.
Globo Surf Overview
A torque wrench is a must-have in your bike tool kit. It is designed to tighten bolts at just the right level, eliminating guesswork. Knowing how to use a torque wrench the right way is key to unlocking your bike’s performance! Start by setting the desired torque setting depending on the number written of the bolt or nut that you would like to adjust then tighten.