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If you are looking to equip yourself with the tools you’ll need to start tinkering on cars, you’re going to want to include a torque wrench on that list. Actually, though, the term “torque wrench” is something of a misnomer because they are actually a category of wrench, not a single entity. There are actually several different kinds of torque wrenches.

If you are reading this, you probably already have a basic understanding of what a torque wrench does. Basically, a torque wrench is designed to apply torque (which is defined as force moving around a central axis) such as to a bolt or a nut. Torque wrenches are different from traditional types of wrenches because they are designed to specifically measure and control the amount of torque that is applied, ensuring that the right amount of torque is applied to make sure that the nut or bolt is left neither too loose or too tight.

Simple torque wrench

A simple torque wrench is essentially just a long wrench with the added addition of an analog needle. When the wrench is used to tighten a bolt, the needle moves in accordance with the amount of torque being applied by the wrench. It’s important to note that torque wrenches may sometimes need to be calibrated to ensure the needle continues to point to the correct value.

Electronic torque wrenches

Electronic torque wrenches work in much the same way as a traditional torque wrenches, except that they feature a digital display instead of an analog display. This version has an advantage over traditional models because the display is clear and easy to read, even in low-light conditions.

Some of these torque wrenches can be programmed/set to a certain level of force so that they will stop applying force once that designated level has been achieved. This has the benefit of prevent over- or under-tightening of bolts and/or nuts.

Hydraulic torque wrenches

Hydraulic torque wrenches are another variety. This type of wrench uses hydraulics to loosen or tighten a nut or bolt.  They are much quieter than other types of wrenches and because they are very precise in their application of torque, they are the preferred choice of many mechanics.

When shopping for torque wrenches (or tools of any kind, for that matter) there are no right or wrong answers. What you should purchase depends largely upon personal preference, your level of expertise, and your budget. If you are looking to purchase torque wrenches in the near future, start by going to a reputable source. From there, you can talk to the experts about your particular needs and budget and find something that beautifully meets your needs without breaking the bank.

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