As you can probably imagine, we here at MountzPro would love to see people properly torquing everything they put together. In our perfect world, everything from head bolts to a bicycle fastener would be properly tightened to the recommended torque rating. But of course, we understand that meeting torque levels on certain tasks are not as important as with other assemblies.
The reasoning behind this is as logical as it is simple—some components are just more critical than others. A loose drawer pull doesn’t present much of a danger, and therefore using a torque wrench is probably overkill. Likewise, using a torque wrench when tightening lug bolts is a must as under tightening can lead to major financial and safety risks.
But what about all of those items in between? In the vast gray area between overkill and absolute necessity, how do you know when to grab your torque wrench and when “close enough” is good enough? Here are a few basic guidelines for deciding when and when not to torque.
1. Does Life or Safety Depend on It?
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are many items we interact with every day that can injure or become life threatening to us. As mentioned above cars and other automotives are a major concern. What about hand rails? If you slip and grab for the railing while on a set of stairs, you want to be assured that it is going to save you from a fall. Do you ride a bicycle? Manufacturers have specific torque ratings for everything from the axel bolts to the handle bars on a bike. Without using a torque wrench you could be parting ways with your wheel or handlebars while traveling at high speeds.
- If it Can Hurt You or Others, Torque It: This is a rule that should always be followed. Whether it’s scaffolding on a worksite or bolts on a swing set, if failure can cause injury, follow the recommended torque settings with a torque wrench.
2. If it Fails, Will it Cost You Money?
Fasteners don’t cost very much—until they break. If you’re assembling a piece of equipment for yourself or a customer, always ask yourself “how much will this inexpensive fastener cost if it comes loose or breaks from tension caused by overtightening?” This cost can be in terms of equipment damage, downtime, or repeat labor. Either way, if the answer is anything greater than the cost of the fastener, grab your torque wrench and ensure that you get the job done right the first time.
- If You’re Liable for Failures, Torque It: Saving a few seconds with an impact driver or cheater bar won’t save you anything if the fastener shears off or comes loose. Using a torque wrench will save you time and money in the long run.
3. Can it Affect Your Reputation?
How happy will your customers be if something you’ve put together doesn’t stay together? Your reputation affects your professional relationships and similarly, could cost you in the long run. If you’re assembling something that is valuable and needs to be reliable, take the time to torque it.
- If You Are Reliable for It, Torque It: Don’t sacrifice your reputation to save a few seconds. Whether it’s personal or professional, your reputation is why people depend on you to put things together for them, so make sure you are a reliable source.
From a Gray Area, to Black and White
Safety, costs and reputation are guidelines that can help you decide when a torque wrench is necessary and when it is optional. However, there is one more deciding factor that you should be using. No matter what you’re putting together, if it has a torque value assigned, torque it! Some engineer spent a lot of time and effort coming up with that torque value, and they did it for a reason. Trust their reasoning and grab your torque wrench. Also, why not be 100% sure and put one of your favorite tools to use?
Take a look at the different torque wrenches MountzPro has to offer to help you provide the correct torque. Each wrench comes fully calibrated with a certificate of calibration traceable to our National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Contact Us for more information on which torque wrench is right for your job.
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