Park Tool Ratcheting Torque Wrench - Tool Time

Keeping those little nuts and bolts happy.

Park Tool Ratcheting Torque Wrench - Tool Time

Park Tool Ratcheting Torque Wrench - Tool Time

Most mechanics, even the backyard variety, generally know that it's important to torque the big fasteners—head bolts, engine-mount hardware, axle nuts, etc.—but we shouldn't forget the little guys, either. When a smaller component falls off or one of its fasteners disappears, it quite often is the result of insufficient torque. At the opposite end of the failure scale is the small nut or bolt that either broke or caused component damage because it was subjected to too much torque.

One way to avoid such over-/under-tightening problems is to use the Ratcheting Torque Wrench (part #TW-5; $109.95) from Park Tool (www.parktool.com). This nice little 1/4-inch-drive, click-style torque wrench can be set anywhere between 26.5 to 133 inch-pounds in 3.5-in.-lb. increments. Torque settings are adjusted by turning the locking ring at the end of the handle, which moves a graduated scale past a red line in the mid-handle window. The graduations are in Newton-meters, but an easy-to-read chart on the underside of the handle allows easy conversion to inch-pounds.

The TW-5 functions just like any other click-type torque wrench. After selecting the desired torque, you tighten the fastener in question until the pivoting ratchet head snaps over center with a distinct "click" that occurs at the preset torque value.

Included with the TW-5 are a 1/4- to 3/8-inch drive converter, a plastic protective storage case and a one-year warranty. Park also sells a slightly larger but otherwise very similar model, the TW-6, which ranges from 88 to 530 in.-lb., for $124.95.