How to Measure Foot-Pounds of Torque

by Michael Cantrell

Learning how to use a torque wrench tool is essential to making most auto repairs on your car, as well as other types of household repairs. The torque wrench measures how much torque is applied to nuts and bolts. A torque wrench shares many similar characteristics of a ratchet, with the main difference being the length of the handle. The measurements one takes from a torque wrench are gauged in foot-pounds. Learning to read the torque wrench is a simple process and will not take much time.

Step 1

Examine the top of the bolt you want to use the torque wrench on for a number. Use a standard wrench to help secure the nut in place while you use the torque wrench.

Step 2

Look through a reference book until you find the bolt's number. Reference books typically come with a torque wrench when it is purchased. Once you find the number in the reference book, it will tell you how many foot-pounds of torque to be applied to the bolt.

Step 3

Spin the handle of the torque wrench until you reach the specified number of foot-pounds needed. A list of foot-pound measurements is located on the bottom part of the torque wrench handle. You increase the foot-pounds by turning the handle to the right, and decrease by turning to the left to line up the indicator with the correct amount of foot-pounds.

Step 4

Place the top part of the torque wrench on the bolt. Turn the torque wrench in a back-and-forth or side-to-side manner to tighten or loosen the bolt.

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