Yes, you can use a reducer on a torque wrench as long as it is short enough. If it is anything more than six inches, you will start to see that it is affecting the torque values.
Well, in that case, you have to adjust the torque wrench setting if the distance of the pivot to the direction of application of force on the torque wrench is affected.
Can You Use a Reducer on a Torque Wrench?
Mechanics often face the dilemma of whether to use a reducer on a torque wrench or not. If you are working on your car wheel or trying to get the nut or bolt screwed into a piece of equipment, it is plausible to assume that you are worried about the right torque.
A torque wrench tightens down nuts and bolts to a specific torque value. You can easily overtighten nuts and bolts and as a result, damage the threads. Snapping the bolt head right off will not be a coincidence either. That is why you need a torque wrench. In the contrast, if you do not tighten the bolts and nuts enough, the wheels could come off and create dangerous situations.
However, sometimes mechanics might find it hard to access a bolt that needs to be torqued to a specific value on a piece of equipment. Also, other components could get in the way. As a result, mechanics will either have to disassemble the equipment or use a torque wrench adapter to get a better angle.
We know that all torque is a rotational force or a twisting force. While working on cars or a specific piece of equipment, you will be rotating a nut or a bolt. Therefore, you might need an extension or a reducer to help you reach the nut or bolt.
Reducer on a Torque Wrench
You can certainly put an extension or a reducer less than 6” in length on the torque wrench. Although normally, an extension does reduce the torque because it twists. However, the short extensions do not affect the torque enough to worry about it unless you are in small inch pounds and you need to be precise.
Therefore, for reducers, it will not affect the reading. That is because the pivot point is basically still in the same spot. However, if you change the pivot point or put a longer handle on the wrench to get more leverage, the torque reading will change.
If we look at it theoretically, the formula here is T=F x r. The reducer has no effect on the force applied (F) on the tool and the distance (r) away from the bolt where the force is applied. As a result, it has no effect on torque (T).
Therefore, you have to make sure your sockets and adapter are strong enough to handle the task at hand. For instance, You probably do not want to put all your weight on a ¼-in adapter or socket with a 2 feet handle. That will undoubtedly change the torque reading and affect the accuracy.
Is it OK to Use an Extension on a Torque Wrench?
It is okay to use an extension on a torque wrench as long as its length is anything less than 6 inches. That is because the torque variations in those cases are so minimal that they can be overlooked.
However, for longer extensions, you have to find a way to keep the line of action in the same spot which is fairly difficult. Otherwise, torque values will be much lesser and inaccurate.
To be more precise, an extension will affect the accuracy of the torque wrench. If you double the length of the handle, keep in mind that will have to double the torque reading from the wrench or halve the setting. You cannot use extensions such as a universal joint either because it will reduce torque value drastically.
Can You Use Any Socket with a Torque Wrench
You can use any socket with a torque wrench as long as you have the right-sized socket for the size of the drive that is on the end of the torque wrench. However, make sure you do not use them with a pneumatic system. Although, you can find heavier-duty sockets for use with pneumatic wrenches.
Among the various types of sockets, impact sockets are the most durable and popular. They are made to withstand the load delivered by torque wrenches. They are robust and can be used with industrial torque wrenches. Therefore, these sockets can be regarded as safe for any kind of torque wrench.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do you lose torque with an extension?
An extension increases the distance from the fastener to the torque wrench pivot point. As result, you will lose torque because you will have to apply less force as the distance increases. The general rule of thumb is to use high-quality tools and the shortest extension you can find.
- How do you adjust a torque wrench with an extension?
If you keep the head of the extension at the same rested angle with the fastener, you can get a more accurate torque value. In other words, use support to keep the extension straight and use the torque wrench to screw the fastener.
From twisting a bolt to checking leaking engine oil, a torque wrench is used for almost every part of a car. Using a reducer as a torque adapter makes the life of a mechanic a lot easier. It makes proper inspection and maintenance effortless and saves time.
Make sure you adjust the torque value accordingly if you are using a long reducer. Also, do a periodic check on the torque values to see where using a reducer on a torque wrench is actually changing the torque value by a noticeable degree.