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Published Aug. 9, 2019

DIYing is scary enough as it is. Damaging your wheel by overtightening the lug nuts could lead to hundreds of dollars in repairs and a multitude of problems such as sheared stud bolts and warped rotors, and there’s really no wiggle room to muck up. If you’re not willing to pay extortionate amounts at a garage, it can be tricky to know who to turn to.

Thankfully, torque sticks are a handy solution to cure your repair anxiety for good. A huge step up from torque wrenches, these wonderful tools have been created to make a mechanic’s daily work a lot more enjoyable. Although mechanics from earlier generations swear by the hand-tightened lug nut, we’ve compiled together the best torque sticks and torque stick kits in the automotive market to change their minds. Suitable for amateur and professional mechanics alike, it’s a tool that you’ll not know what you did without!

The Best Torque Sticks

First up, Capri Tools’ Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set is the kit to beat. Including ten rainbow-colored torque sticks of all different sizes that are accurate to within 4%, these sticks are housed in a red plastic blow molded case that can be hauled around without a problem. And the torque sticks themselves range from 65 ft-lbs to 140-lbs to cover the grand majority of wheel mounting procedures.

If the color-coded design to tell the sticks apart isn’t enough peace of mind for you, these sticks are also conveniently stamped for clear size identification. Likewise, the handy guide that includes specifications for all makes and models of cars is irreplaceable. With their accuracy and attention to detail, you certainly won’t be disappointed when opting for Capri Tools’ creation.

Key Features
  • Color coded to maximize speed on the job
  • Carrying case keeps all torque extension bars in the same place
  • Backed with a lifetime warranty
  • Made of chrome-molybdenum steel to maintain durability
  • Torque extension bars range from 65 ft-lbs to 140 ft-lbs to cover the majority of wheel mounting procedures
Specification
  • Brand Capri Tools
  • Model 30083
  • Weight 3.59 pounds

Customers claim that Astro’s Torque Limiting Extension Set has changed the wheel mounting way of life forever. Made of durable chrome molybdenum steel with a gorgeous black-matte finish, this set can handle any job put in front of them. Plus, this ten-piece torque stick kit is minimal hassle: there’s no bothersome maintenance or prior calibration required.

The ten-piece torque set contains various sizes of extensions in order to accurately and safely torque wheel nuts. They’re strong, just the right weight, and the insert end will barely wear your impact wrench down. What’s more, they’re compatible with every air pneumatic impact wrenches out there. What’s not to love?

Key Features
  • Made of chrome molybdenum steel with a matte-finish
  • Color-coded set identify easily what torque you're looking for
  • Zero calibration required
  • Ten-piece collection decreases risk of damage caused by impact wrenches
  • Compatible with all air pneumatic impact wrenches
Specification
  • Brand Astro Pneumatic Tool
  • Model 78810
  • Weight 4.8 ounces

Neiko’s beautiful looking torques almost look too shiny and pretty to use. Constructed with high-quality chrome molybdenum steel to enhance durability, don’t expect this reliable set to be breaking anytime soon. Yet their central worth lies in their versatility. The different sockets’ ability to reach tricky spaces thanks to their thin-wall construction is our favorite feature.

What’s more, the set isn’t just color-coded but arrives with a helpful chart of lug nut sizes and torques to fit your particular vehicle. And if you’re afraid of mixing up the colors and ruining your accuracy or – if worse comes to worst –your wheel, the torque sticks are also letter coded for instantaneous identification. Invest in these today and we promise Neiko won’t let you down!

Key Features
  • Premium chrome molybdenum increases overall strength and durability
  • Easily identifiable thanks to color coded sockets
  • Sockets made with thin wall construction to accommodate smaller, hard-to-reach spots
  • Comes with handy chart of lug nut sizes and torques for different vehicles
  • Set includes four deep sockets and 80, 90, 100, and 110 ft-lb torque extension bars
Specification
  • Brand Neiko
  • Model 02453A
  • Weight 1.11 pounds

ABN’s intimidating jet-black set of torques is built to last. A dynamic mix of indestructible chromium-molybdenum steel and manganese phosphate, these torques contain the strength needed to get the job done and the corrosion-resistance to keep grinding away for years to come.

What we love the most about this model is the ball on the male end to assist holding a socket in place. Plus, the spring-loaded ball detent locks will prevent parts from slipping into the machinery, causing unthinkable damage. Whatever annoys you the most about fitting wheel lugs – whether it is the time sacrifice or the hard-to-obtain accuracy – ABN’s set will solve your problems.

Key Features
  • Heavy-duty torque application made with chromium-molybdenum steel and manganese phosphate for maximum strength
  • Carrying case is convenient for easily transporting torques
  • Ball on male end helps hold and secure sockets
  • Spring-loaded ball detent locks stop parts from falling into machinery
  • Ten color coded extension bars possess 1/2-inch drive and 8-inch length
Specification
  • Brand ABN
  • Model 5252
  • Weight 2.91 pounds

Although customers may be gob smacked over the price for Sunex’s simplistic-looking 3/4-inch drive, we promise that this model is worth its weight in gold. Able to torque both inner and outer cap nuts as well as flange nuts on large-scale trucks, this model will extend the life of thin wall impact sockets substantially.

This 3/4-inch drive torque truck extension bar is perfect for torqueing semi lugs and AG wheels. Heads up; do not use this with a battery powered impact on the highest setting, as the stick needs time to rebound to prevent overtorquing. Other than that, you’ll mind will be at ease using a reliable stick true to torque speculations.

Key Features
  • Able to torque inner and outer cap nuts
  • Tackles flange nuts on heavy-duty trucks
  • Extends life of thin wall impact sockets
  • Robust stick torqued within its 457lb value
  • Bright yellow torque sticks renders is easily identifiable within a tool kit
Specification
  • Brand Sunex Tools
  • Model 4330TE
  • Weight 0.48 ounces

Neiko’s 10-piece sets of torque limiting extension bars have been specifically created to cut the time it used to take to mount wheels in half. First off, they’re easily identifiable thanks to the engraved torque limit specifications and color-coding – so say goodbye to any time-consuming searches for the right size! And the 65 to 130 foot-pounds of limiting extension bars is a pretty impressive range to possess.

Sockets will be securely locked in thanks to the spring-loaded ball feature on the main end. And if you’re a worker who is constantly on the go, carrying around the individual kit just for the bars is so much better than having to rake around your main toolbox. Created for the busy worker, owning this set is the key to having an organized life.

Key Features
  • Sticks have engraved torque limit specifications as well as being color coded
  • Half-inch drive size works well with impact drivers to curb torque consistency
  • Spring-loaded ball feature on male end secures sockets
  • Ten 1/2-inch drive impact torques in one set
  • Five different torque sticks are 65, 80, 100, 120, and 130 ft-lb
Specification
  • Brand Neiko
  • Model 02459A
  • Weight 6.75 pounds

Many customers profess that Genius Tools’ brand name puts them off buying products due to the ‘smugness’ in professing their tools are ‘genius’. Yet we have to disagree with them – it’s refreshing finding a company who know their tools’ worth. Their tools are indeed innovative, the company themselves claim that they’re accurate to within 4%. And their satisfied buyers agree!

Each color-coded tool out of this ten-piece kit is stamped with the accurate specifications and a serial part to deliver first-class results and minimize the time spent searching for the perfect fit. And if you’re still unsure, the helpful guide for every make and model of car under the sun will set you on the right path. If you’re requiring more torque flexing rather than wheel breaking, this is the product for you.

Key Features
  • Ten-piece set provides user with accuracy to within 4%
  • Torque extension shaft designed to flex with impact wrench blows once specified torque is obtained
  • Numerous sizes and torque limits compatible with various makes and models of wheels
  • Plastic blow molded case with labeled design helps overall organization of tool kit
  • Size identification stamp won't rub off easily
Specification
  • Brand Genius Tools
  • Model TO-410EXT
  • Weight 5 pounds

If opening up Astro Tools’ Piece Torque Limiting Extension and Protective Impact Socket Combo Set to see the aesthetic-blue lining of the case is enough to send you into overdrive, the array of features it has to offer will make you lose your mind. This 8pc set – containing all required torque limits and socket sizes for wheel mounting – is a metric kit. Therefore, be sure you can use metric on your lugs before you invest.

These torque limiting extensions are incredibly accurate for tightening lug nuts – just check it out with your torque wrench afterwards if you’re still unsure. What’s more, the manufacturers place safety at the heart of their design and include white protective plastic sleeves and inserts to prevent potential wheel damage. And if all these perks aren’t tempting enough, Astro Tools’ creation is backed with a lifetime warranty. We can’t praise this kit enough!

Key Features
  • Metric size sockets are ideal for wheel mounting
  • Protective sleeves and inserts avoid wheel damage
  • Includes four Torque Limiting Extensions and four Protective Lug Nut Impact Sockets
  • Color coded for quick reference
  • Case is well built to keep all torque sticks in place
Specification
  • Brand Astro Pneumatic Tool
  • Model 78818
  • Weight 5.07 pounds

Ares’ eight-inch torque stikcs are high-impact, trustworthy tools ready to tackle the places most hard-to-reach. Made of heavy-duty chrome molybdenum steel with rust and corrosion resistant manganese phosphate coating, we reckon these torques could be chucked into Mount Doom and still come out looking brand-new.

With a spring-loaded detent ball design to stop parts from falling into machinery, color coded rings to quickly identify the tool to use next, and the required flex to successfully counter excess torque, ARES’ five-bar set is as resilient and high-quality as you can get. Plus, if you’re not feeling like putting in real elbow-grease, the torque sticks are compatible with electric and pneumatic impact tools alike. Backed with decades of experience, opting for ARES is the smartest choice.

Key Features
  • Eight-inch torques limit overtightening that could cause sheared and damaged fasteners
  • Able to resist corrosive properties due to manganese phosphate coating
  • Spring-loaded detent ball design maintains security
  • Made of durable chrome molybdenum steel to maintain durability
  • Ideal length of torque sticks are fantastic to use in cramped and narrow places
Specification
  • Brand ARES
  • Model 70367
  • Weight 4.42 pounds

Haven’t found the torque stick for you yet? Don’t worry, we’ve saved one of the best items for last. Steelman’s blue 1/2-Inch Drive Torque Extension is available at a bargain price. Its eight-inch extension provides easy clearance and consequently avoids any damage to wheel by not operating too close. Plus, it prevents detrimental overtightening from occurring that can lead to the premature failure of wheels.

Made of durable chrome molybdenum steel with a blue powder coating for additional corrosion resistance, Steelman’s creation is easily identifiable within a cluttered tool box. And you’ll know when to stop the torquing process, as when 80 ft-lb of torque is reached, all later impact after this point will be consumed. Just hurry up and purchase it fast before Steelman become aware of their product’s worth and up the price!

Key Features
  • Easy clearance facilitated by eight-inch extension torque to reach cramped places
  • Extension flexes limit torque and absorb any further impacts at 80 ft-lb
  • Zero prior calibration and maintenance required for torque stick
  • Blue power coated construction maintains durability and renders it easy to find within a busy tool box
  • Minimizes risk of overtightening lug nuts which lead to sheared stud bolts and warped rotors
Specification
  • Brand Steelman
  • Model 50091A
  • Weight 8 ounces

Best Torque Sticks Buying Guide & FAQ

What to Consider When Buying Torque Sticks

So, you’ve finally caved and are ready to start looking for the torque stick kit right for you. This is an investment you won’t regret! Yet whilst embarking on this search is the first step to an easier and safer wheel mounting experience, there’s plenty to consider along the way. We’ve identified the fundamental three questions to ask yourself below before making your final decision.

  • Are my chosen torque sticks color coded?

Choosing torque sticks that are color coded makes life incredibly simple: without the hassle of looking up different torque requirements, you’ll have the right stick for the job within seconds. However, it’s always best to have a back-up option: consider opting for torques that are also clearly marked in writing and come with a booklet containing the different specs.

  • Is any calibration required before use?

Making adjustments while in the middle or even before working is always a massive pain and detracts from the task at hand. Possessing a torque stick that’s previously calibrated is handy and ensures that you’ll be incredibly accurate every single time.

  • What are the torque settings?

Funnily enough, several mechanics attest that owning the best quality torque stick depends entirely on foot pounds rather than cost. Ensure that the set you go for covers between 60 to 140-foot pounds (ft-lbs). With this knowledge, you’ll be safe rather than sorry!

  • Should I go for a single torque stick or a full kit?

Your choice between opting for a full-blown kit or just a single torque stick shouldn’t be taken lightly. A torque stick with universal fittings is invaluable as they should work with any impact gun you own. However, owning a full set of torque sticks ensures that the set won’t be lost easily. You must assess your own personal situation to decide what’s best.

Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set

Benefits of Torque Sticks

There are so many important benefits to owning reliable torque sticks. Here’s a few of our personal favorites below:

  • They’re durable and made to last

The most dependable torque sticks are made of chrome-molybdenum steel that is used when more strength is needed than mild carbon steel. The chromium element helps prevent corrosion and the steels hardenability whilst the added molybdenum helps boost the overall toughness of the design. In simple terminology, they’re pretty damn hard to break!

  • Torque sticks are cost-effective

You know what’s more expensive than buying a set of torque sticks? Breaking your wheel! Torque sticks certainly aren’t resistant to improper application and can cause broken wheel studs and damaged brake rotors if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, if you play by the rules, then your wheels should be safe from damage long-term.

  • You’ll save a load of time

Speed is by far the greatest advantage of torque sticks. Most kits are color coded for quick reference and have the specs written in clear writing if you’re still unsure. Likewise, keeping torques in the cases they come in will also cut down time substantially, as you’ll spend a lot less time searching in between screwdrivers for the right stick and more time actually getting the job done at hand.

How to Use a Torque Stick

Although they look fairly easy to get the hang of, using a torque stick correctly is no small feat. Just follow the steps below to ensure you don’t muck up!
  • Setting up properly-Firstly, hand-tighten the fasteners to make sure they’re secure. Then, identify the correct torque stick for use with a proper impact gun – this should be simple if you’ve chosen one of the color-coded sets reviewed above!
  • It’s time to concentrate! – With your selected torque stick, begin to tighten the wheel until you feel tension on the fasteners and the wheel is pulled up tight. Keep tightening them to ensure that they’re a snug fit on the wheel. When the fastener stops moving, this is your queue to stop.
  • Winding down safely – Drop the vehicle to prevent the wheel from moving. Now, it’s time for the torque wrench to take over on this job! When tackling the other wheels, remember that consistency is key: all of the wheels must be done exactly the same to maintain stability.
Related Posts: Best Oil Filter Wrenches, Lug Wrenches and Cordless Impact Wrench Torque Limiting Extension

The Best Torque Sticks FAQ:

Q: What is a torque stick?

Torque sticks are, in simple terms, a handy extension for your impact wrench. Also referred to as a ‘torque limiting extension bar’, these handy tools act as shock absorbers by flexing when a limit is reached. This is to avoid over-tightening fasteners when you’re right in the middle of a wheel installation that could cause several expensive wheel problems to arise. Most torque sticks come in a set and are color coded with different specifications to twist at a certain torque point.

Q: How do torque sticks work?

There are two kinds of people: those who dutifully abide by the torque stick life and those who have no idea what they are. Many people become confused with the duties of a torque stick in comparison to a torque wrench and muck up their DIY job entirely. Thankfully, we’ve compiled together a list of not how you want them to work, but how they should work. They work between a limited range of torque output – These tools must be used alongside an impact wrench with just the right setting. If the wrong setting is used, you run the risk of damaging your entire wheel. They work right up until the final torque – Torque sticks work by flexing when the torque limit is reached. However, even car enthusiasts mistakenly attempt to finish off the job completely with these tools. As convenient as these nifty devices are, torque sticks should not be used for final torqueing and, likewise, shouldn’t be used to get anywhere near this level. We recommend using a torque stick rated for about 2/3 of the final torque.

Our Top Pick

So, out of all the colorful, practical, and time-saving torque sticks reviewed within this buying guide, which brand would we ourselves trust to take our wheel mounting to the next level? It would just have to be Capri Tools’ Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set. It’s impossible not to love this baby-blue case and the torque sticks inside it that undergo custom heat treatment to make them the most durable on the market. Ensuring a consistent and accurate torque is also facilitated through being manufactured from heavy-duty chrome-molybdenum steel. And if the warranted praise above isn’t enough to send you rushing out to the store, then the lifetime warranty that Capri Tools place on their product is a reflection of the company’s trust in their creation. Get your tool set today before they all sell out!

Source:

  1. Do Torque Sticks Work? – Mechanics Hub

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