The best torque wrenches for your car

Avoid damaged threads or loose components with a proper torque wrench.

A torque wheel being used on a car's wheel nut

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

Torque isn't just the figure you struggled to understand as a child but knew more was better in a car, it's also something that every nut and bolt in your car will have a predetermined figure for to keep it correctly in place.

Torque is a force applied at a radial distance and is a measure of how tightly you do up a bolt or fixing, and while screws may not need an accurate measure of torque application, most nuts and bolts do. The only way to make sure you have it correct is by using a torque wrench.

We've found several of the best examples currently for sale that suit a whole range of budgets. We recommend however splashing out for the best one you can afford just for peace of mind.

The best torque wrenches

A simple torque wrench
Silverline 633567 Torque Wrench 1/2 inch Drive 28-210 Nm
Price: $53.92

This great tool from Silverline is capable of some hefty wrenching with its 210Nm rating. It has a reversible ratchet head and comes in a plastic case with a 125mm extension bar and a 1/2in to 3/8in socket adapter. A great choice for a simple torque wrench.

Pros Cons
• Hefty limit of 210Nm • Overkill for smaller fasteners
• 465mm long handle

Good budget model
Amazon Basics 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench - 3.95-22.5 Nm
Price: $28.97
Alternative retailers
Walmart$50.45View offer

The Amazon Basics torque wrench is a very impressive budget option for most basic car jobs. It comes in a plastic storage case and is available in a range of sizes, including this one, with settings from 27.1 to 203.5Nm. It also has a reversible ratchet head which makes it even more versatile.

Pros Cons
• Great value • Too large for smaller fasteners
• Good limit of 203.5Nm

Compact choice
IceToolz T-Handle
Price: $22.99

This smaller torque wrench is more suited to bicycles than cars this little tool is perfect for smaller fixtures that need torquing. It only runs to 10Nm but features a selection of head attachments and a built-in torque meter which makes it a clever choice.

Pros Cons
• Great for smaller jobs • No way to pre-set limit
• Changeable drive bits

The fancy option
Sealey STW308 Digital Torque Wrench, 3/8" Sq Drive, 8NM-85NM
Price: $308.76
Alternative retailers
Walmart$292.20View offer

This serious bit of kit may cost a fairly hefty chunk of money, but if you're serious about wrenching it makes perfect sense. This digital offering from Sealey uses 3/8in drive sockets and has a digital read-out of the actual torque being applied. A pre-set limit alarm can be set that generates an audible signal as well as a flash when reached and this example goes up to 85Nm, more than enough for most cars.

Pros Cons
• Actual torque read-out • High cost for amateur or occasional mechanic
• Audible and visible limit

Old school wrenching
Draper 34487 Powerset Torque Wrench, 1/2" Square Drive, 0-21Kg/M Or 0-150Lb-Ft, 460mm
Price: $51.00

Sometimes the old ways are the best and this classic gauge wrench from Draper is as old school as torque wrenches come. Itu2019s a 1/2in drive handle with a separate bar that indicates on the built-in scale the actual torque being applied. There is no pre-set warning or limit which means you'll need to keep your eyes on the scale.

Pros Cons
• Good value • No pre-set limit to indicate correct torque
• Simple to operate

Get precise torque angles

To add yet another layer of complexity to torque wrenches, on occasion objects need to be fastened to a specific torque and then to a specific angle afterwards. This accessory will make gauging angles a lot easier by slotting underneath the ratchet handle to give you precise adjustments.

Pros Cons
• Make torque angle application easy • Doesn’t indicate actual torque value
• Adjustable stop bar


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