What Size Torque Wrench Do You Need? [Explained!]

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If you’re looking at getting a new torque wrench in your tool collection, you might have some of the same questions that we did – particularly, what is the right size of wrench for your needs? This question can make or break your day based upon whether or not you choose the right tool for the job because there are different options out there!

Using a socket with a 1/2″ drive will allow you to gain enough torque up to about 250 foot-pounds. If your nuts and bolts are classed as “medium duty”, using a 3/8 ” socket drive should do the trick for you. Continue reading because we’ve more information to share with you below.

What Size Torque Wrench Do You Need

What Size Torque Wrench Do You Need?

When it comes to choosing a torque wrench, the size of its socket drive and the length of its handle will mainly dictate what kind of fastener tasks you’ll be able to work on effectively. The bigger the drive size and the longer the handle the more torque you should be able to apply on your fasteners.

It’s also important to know the thread size of your nuts and use the right amount of foot-pounds. Larger fasteners need higher torques while smaller ones may require low-torque yet high precision settings.

There are mainly four torque wrench sizes to choose from: ½ inch, ⅜ inch, ¼ inch and ¾ or 1 inch.

½ inch

For most people, starting out with a ½ inch torque wrench is the ideal option. They are best for tightening large size fasteners like lug nuts as well as for fixing general mechanical issues like changing tires. The capacity these torque ranges offer usually falls between 30 to 250 foot-pounds, which is an ideal range for tightening cylinder head bolts, suspension bushings, and other similar type jobs.

⅜ inch

Torque wrenches with 3/8 inch drives are the smallest and most versatile. The size is somewhat common, and it is widely used in vehicle engine maintenance. They’re ideally suited for tightening spark plugs in vehicles and light trucks. A conventional 3/8-inch torque wrench should be able to exert torque ranging from 10 to 100 ft-lbs.

¼ inch

¼ drive torque wrench works best on anything with a small gas motor such as mopeds, and motorcycles. This size is an excellent option for lightweight fasteners like those in interior trims, valve covers or other with smaller heads that demand anywhere from 4 to 21 foot pounds of torque.

1 and ¾ inch

Lastly, 1 and ¾ inch drive torque wrenches are ideal for heavier vehicles, such as cargo aircraft, tractor-trailers or industrial machinery. 1″ drive is often paired with breaker bars in order to exert a strong force on the lug nuts of trucks.

What Size Torque Wrench Do You Need for a Motorcycle?

Heavy torque loads are common in motorcycle assembly, particularly with large-diameter fasteners such as flywheel, primary-drive and axle nuts. For these, a 1/2-inch torque wrench will be required. It’s also great to have a 3/8-inch torque wrench for use on general applications such as triple-clamp bolts and cylinder head bolts and nuts.

What Size Torque Wrench for Brakes and Rotors?

What Size Torque Wrench for Brakes

To tell you the truth, the one that you get depends on what vehicle you have. Depending on your socket size you can go for either a ½ inch or a ⅜ inch size torque wrench for brakes. Make sure it can handle at least 150 ft lbs of torque. As for lengths, make sure that if you’re going to get a 1/2″ wrench, don’t exceed 12 inches in length! Otherwise, it might take up too much room and you won’t be able to move around while working.

Learn about the Ideal Torque Wrench Size for brakes in Our In-Depth Article.

What Size Torque Wrench Should You Buy?

As we’ve said earlier, a ½ inch drive torque wrench is generally used for changing tires, fastening lug nuts, cylinder heads, suspension bushings etc. For any task related to small gas motors and bicycles, a 1/4 – inch torque wrench will be ideal. For tightening spark plugs, and engine repairs you need a 3/8 -inch drive torque wrench. And for axle nuts and oversized vehicles, 3/4 to 1-inch drive torque wrenches are mandatory.

You also need to decide how much torque you need for your specific application. If you require more torque you’ll need a torque wrench with a lengthier handle.

Final Words

After reading the above information do you still think we can help you with more information on torque wrench sizes? Just contact with us. We will get back to you soon with the best answer possible. Have a great day!

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