One thing you'll quickly learn when you begin to work on your car is that the correct torque reading for every fastening is important.
Not the end of the world if you're fiddling around with interior trim but if you're changing a wheel or fiddling with your engine it's incredibly important to listen to a manufacturer's instructions.
A torque wrench allows you to see how much torque has been applied as you do up the fastening. It's a real garage essential for car work and we've selected our favourites below, suitable for a whole range of tasks and budgets.
The best torque wrenches
Silverline 633567 Torque Wrench 1/2 inch Drive 28-210 Nm
Best simple torque wrench
The simplest a tool wrench can be, this option from Silverline is ideal for any car-related maintenance. It features an impressive range of 28 to 210Nm and also features a reversible ratchet head. It also ships with a 125mm extension bar, 1/2in to 3/8in socket adapter and a handy plastic storage case.
|• Hefty limit of 210Nm||• Overkill for smaller fasteners|
|• 465mm long handle|
Amazon Basics 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench - 3.95-22.5 Nm
Good budget model
Another basic torque wrench that's perfect for basic car duties, the Amazon Basics torque wrench is a good budget option. It can be set from 27.1 to 203.5Nm and like the Silverline option, offers a reversible ratchet head and a plastic storage case.
|• Great value||• Too large for smaller fasteners|
|• Good limit of 203.5Nm|
The compact choice
A very small option that's not really suited to cars. the IceToolz T-Handle is great for bicycles and other smaller fixtures. It only goes up to 10Nm but it does feature an inbuilt torque meter as well as a selection of head attachments. Be warned, however, there is no pre-set torque limit and if you're not careful you can overtighten the fixture.
|• Great for smaller jobs||• No way to pre-set limit|
|• Changeable drive bits|
Sealey STW308 Digital Torque Wrench
The best digital torque wrench
Digital torque wrenches may cost the most money but are often the easiest to use. This example from Sealey uses a 3/8in drive socket and features an alarmed pre-set torque limit so you don't accidentally over-torque a fastening. It also features a digital read-out to show how much you've torqued something. And it goes up to 85Nm, enough for most car tasks.
|• Actual torque read-out||• High cost for amateur or occasional mechanic|
|• Audible and visible limit|
Draper Gauge Wrench
Old school wrenching
You're grandad probably owned a torque wrench like this, and while they may look old and outdated, they're still an excellent option for working on your car. Itu2019s a 1/2in drive handle with a separate bar that indicates on the built-in scale the actual torque being applied. There's no pre-set warning or limit which means you'll need to keep your eyes on the scale as you're using it.
|• Good value||• No pre-set limit to indicate correct torque|
|• Simple to operate|
Torque Angle Gauge
A handy accessory for your torque wrench
Sometimes regular torquing isn't enough, sometimes a fastening needs to be set to a specific angle as well as torque. This attachment makes working out angles a lot easier by slotting underneath the ratchet handle of a torque wrench to give you precise adjustabilites.
|• Make torque angle application easy||• Doesn’t indicate actual torque value|
|• Adjustable stop bar|
Why you need a torque wrench in your garage
Everything in your car that's fastened will have a set torque setting set by the manufacturer that needs to be torqued to the correct setting. From something as simple as a piece of trim on the interior to important bolts that hold the wheels on and keep the engine held together they all need to be torqued. If you're planning on doing any task like this you must use a torque wrench so you don't do some serious damage to your car as you rebuild it.