How Does a Split Beam Torque Wrench Work? (Explained!)

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If you’re having thought of buying a split beam torque wrench but aren’t sure about how this tool works, you’re in the right place. We’re going to have a thorough look at all the specs of split beam torque wrenches.

Torque wrenches were invented at the start of the 20th century. This tool is used to provide a rotational force to a fastener like nuts, bolts, or screws. Torque wrenches have customized internal mechanisms for tightening or loosening bolts and come in both analog and digital forms.

How Does a Split Beam Torque Wrench Work

There are several variations in torque wrenches. The beam-type torque wrench is the most common type in all of them. This type of torque wrench is widely accepted by all automobile admirers.

The split-beam torque wrench is a category of beam torque wrenches. They are always in high demand because of their efficient and durable performance. They also come at an affordable price.

What is a Split-Beam Torque Wrench? 

Among several torque wrenches, the beam type torque wrenches are one of the most popular. Beam torque wrenches consist of two beams – one steel beam deflects expectedly when you pull the handlebar and the other beam (pointer) gives a reading after the pulling is completed. You can push the handlebar until you get the preferred readings.

The split beam torque wrench is part of the beam torque wrenches family and also works similarly by using two beams. Some models of split-beam wrenches provide a ‘clicking manual’ to alert the user as soon as the desired reading is obtained.

The split beam torque wrench is popular for its accurate precision rate. If you’re working with a fastener that needs factory setting tightness and exact precision, then a split beam torque wrench is the way to go. The best ones can be up to 2% accurate.

These torque wrenches are simple to use, long-lasting, and cost as low as $100(some models might cost high, like $800).

A split beam torque wrench is used for maintaining precision torque of spark plugs, tightening bolts with nuts or sockets, etc.

How Does a Split Beam Torque Wrench Work?     

A split beam torque wrench has two beams of which the first lever is used as a handle to put pressure or force on the fastener. The handle will bounce consistently once the force is placed on it. The other beam shows the readings.

You can rotate the split beam torque wrench in both directions according to your need. Clockwise rotation works for tightening and anticlockwise for loosening the nuts.

The calibration depends on how regularly you use it. If you use it more often, then you need to calibrate it frequently. Calibration isn’t necessary if you use it just a few times in a year. Just check if the pointer is at zero while using it.

Click Type (Micrometer) Vs. Split Beam Torque Wrench

Traditional wrenches are referred to as click-type torque wrenches. This tool is very common in the majority of mechanical shops and comes in a wide range of styles. These wrenches can vary highly in their qualities. Cheap and low-end models can easily run out of calibration. Also be wary of dropping, because click-type wrenches don’t have high resistance.

Split beam torque wrenches provide very high accuracy and come as the first choice when ultimate precision is the main objective to achieve. It is simple, easy to use, durable, and cost-efficient.

Torque wrenches with a click-type sound have a spring that snaps when the torque reaches the correct level. They work with spring tension which can be adjusted by rotating the shaft. In a split beam torque wrench the spring remains constant (in same tension); instead a lever and latch mechanism is applied here.

That’s why you will constantly get accurate readings and any distortion is unlikely to happen. You can’t expect the same in click torque wrenches.

For safe storage of a click type wrench you have to lower the torque settings and release the spring’s tension. The split beam wrenches don’t have any restrictions like these and you can keep it in any torque setting that you want.

Click type torque wrenches need turning and twisting to make the right adjustment. Split beam torque wrenches provide a seamless experience in doing this and make it a quite comfortable tool to use. This is also a significant advantage.

However, click torque wrenches are comparatively cheaper than split-beam torque wrenches making them an affordable option for anyone.

But click torque wrenches are at a much lower side of accuracy (+/- 4% clockwise and +/- 6% anticlockwise) compared to the split-beam wrenches (-/+ 4% on both directions). To tackle any jobs where extreme precision is needed, split-beam torque wrench is the way to go.   

Pros and Cons of Split Beam Torque Wrench

With other features, split-beam torque wrenches are widely renowned for their extraordinary high accuracy. For factory setting tightness and extreme precision, the split-beam wrench is always a top recommendation.

Pros of Split Beam Torque Wrench –

  • They have high precision and accuracy. The best ones provide an accuracy of 2%.
  • This gauge device can measure the torque from zero to maximum.
  • It can calculate torque in both directions – clockwise and anticlockwise.
  • It has a simple and straightforward design to operate.
  • It has high resistance which makes it a long-lasting tool.  
  • The cost is affordable.
  • It doesn’t need frequent calibration.

Cons of Split Beam Torque Wrench –

  • Users must keep an eye on the readings while using if there’s no click function.
  • The price goes up for a higher torque range.

How to Use a Split Beam Torque Wrench

Split beam torque wrench has simple steps to operate and makes it a relatively easy tool to use. Follow these simple guidelines to become a pro at using split-beam wrench –

  • Make sure that you use the proper sized socket and that it is properly positioned on the wrench head.
  • Ensure the scale is set to zero. Now, flip open the safety lock and adjust the knob until the scale reaches the desired torque setting.
  • It is important to strictly follow the manufacturer’s guideline for the individual fastener. Otherwise, overtightening and damage are possible.
  • Connect the socket to the bolt to tighten or loosen a fastener. Clockwise rotation will tighten and anticlockwise rotation will loosen the fastener.
  • Remove the torque wrench as soon as the wrench makes a click sound, indicating that the torque has been appropriately applied. 

Best Split Beam Torque Wrench to Buy

Few things to consider before buying to get the best split torque wrench –

  • Check the accuracy of the tool. Split beam wrench comes with factory calibration but you should still check it with the expertise of shop technical.
  • The grip is important for comfort and precision. You should take a look at this carefully.
  • Finally, you should check the socket drive size and the desired torque ranges.
  • Be sure to put in some necessary research to make sure it’s the right specification for your needs.

Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2″ is a great pick considering all the specs a top-quality split beam torque wrench should have. It provides an ergonomic grip with a nickel/ chrome finish. The well-measured length provides a needed reach in those hard-to-get places. It’s convenient to use because it doesn’t need to be turned down after every use and has a torque locking system for repetitive use.  

Final Words 

The split beam torque wrench is an excellent choice because of its great features. It is an easy-to-use tool and performs both tightening and loosening at a high precision rate. Hopefully, you have got an overview of how this efficient tool works from the discussion above.

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