The unavailability of a breaker bar can make you confused. To decide this, you must be aware of the primary purpose of both tools. To make this task easy for you, let’s closely see how these tools actually work and the differences between both so you would be able to know whether you can or not.
Torque Wrench vs. Breaker Bar: Differences
Look at these differences to get your answer.
Do you want to tighten the lug nuts of your car but don’t know how much force should be applied? Sometimes you overtighten the nut, which makes it difficult to lose when you have to repair it. But if you apply less pressure, then there is a danger of nut loose while driving, which can lead to an accident.
No need to worry! A torque wrench is a perfect solution for this. You can use it to tighten a nut or bolt at an adjustable amount of force required to avoid over-tightening by adjusting the value of torque. But if you have to break loose the nut more efficiently, then a breaker bar is the best solution. It is used even to open over tighten nuts more effectively without exerting little manual effort. Its long arm allows us to work more effectively. A torque wrench can exert less torque than a breaker bar.
Remember! Less force is required to tighten a fastener than losing it. For this purpose, a torque wrench is designed to handle a maximum of 150 ft/lb torque, which is suitable for efficiently screwing a fastener, while a breaker bar can exert up to 2000 ft/lb torque.
A torque wrench is available in different designs such as beam torque wrench, clicker style torque wrench, digital torque wrench, etc. Variety in design allows you to adjust the value of torque by using different calculating methods. Also, many options let you pick one according to job demand. In contrast, the breaker bar is not manufactured in different styles, removing chives. However, its design is perfect for its efficient working. If you really want customization, then the difference can be seen in the head or nozzle.
3. Efficiency (Adjustable Value of Torque)
A clicker style torque wrench provides accurate fastening measurement by producing a clicking sound after reaching the required torque level, which you adjust before tightening a nut. While, if you are using a beam torque wrench, you can get accuracy by focusing on a given scale right above the needle and stopping after achieving the required torque. There are many other styles of torque wrenches preferred by mechanics, which allow them to adjust the amount of torque according to the manufacturer’s torque level, enhancing the efficiency of work.
On the other hand, no definite scale is available to measure the amount of torque if you are using a breaker bar to break loose a nut. Completing the task itself indicates that the required amount of torque is achieved, which is consistently higher than the amount of torque achieved by using a torque wrench. Moreover, the long arm of the breaker bar provides enough leverage to work more efficiently without exerting more force.
Torque wrenches are really delicate due to built-in features to adjust torque and grab the nuts or screws. So, you have to be very careful about how you handle them. Even one fall can damage it to the point that it can’t be used again with the same efficiency. However, because of accuracy, you don’t have to put extra effort and pressure, resulting in durability. Nonetheless, it can last more than 30 years if you carefully handle it.
On the other hand, as the breaker bar does not have built-in calibration features are more compact. With no accurate and precise work, there are fewer chances of damage. But remember, maintenance is also required.
As it is evident from the above discussion, a torque wrench is an advanced fastener tightening tool. Due to additional features, the cost of a torque wrench is higher. Its price starts from $100 and can go to $400 in the case of dual-beam torque and digital torque wrenches. So, you need to be really picky while selecting the style of a torque wrench according to your requirement as well as your pocket.
On the other hand, the breaker bar has a compact size and simple manufacturing. So, you can get a breaker bar for $50. However, it does not have features and components to measure and adjust torque, but still, you can get the desired result at a low cost.
How Does a Torque Wrench Work?
As a torque wrench is used to tighten a fastener, firstly, you have to adjust the maximum torque required to tighten the nut or bolt. Then, grab the fastener with a torque wrench, and you are ready to tighten the fastener. After achieving the maximum torque, the torque wrench indicates the tightening of the fastener by producing a clicking sound (click style wrench). Also, you can monitor the given scale and stop inserting force after reaching the required torque level.
How Does a Breaker Bar Work?
A breaker bar is used to break loose frozen nuts and bolts. As its names predict, it provides power to any activity, whether you want to lose or tight the nut. You have to insert the socket of the breaker bar in the fastener and generate the required torque by inserting the force and weight of your body. It works like a socket wrench, but it is more efficient than that as while using a breaker bar, you have to apply less force, but because of the long arm, it produces more torque.
Can a Torque Wrench Be Used as a Breaker Bar?
Yes, for once, you can use a torque wrench as a breaker bar, but you should not make it a habit as you know torque wrenches are really delicate. You have to calibrate the wrench to switch between losing and tightening. Moreover, breaker bars are larger than impact wrench, providing more leverage to tighten a nut.
You must consider this reality, and a standard torque wrench can handle 150 ft/lb of torque, enough to tighten a fastener. In comparison, a breaker bar can handle up to 2000 ft/lb of torque which is usually required to loosen rusted nuts. So, if you produce 2000 ft/lb of torque by using a torque wrench, it can damage its torque mechanism and will not be able to work efficiently.
A side-to-side difference between these two tools helps you get the answer: Can you use a torque wrench as a breaker bar? It is clear that you should not use a torque wrench in place of a breaker bar because of its low capacity of bearing torque. However, if you urgently need a breaker bar and don’t have one, you can use a torque wrench with extra care. It is recommended not to use the torque wrench more than once; otherwise, it gets damaged.
Moreover, torque wrenches are pretty more expensive than breaker bars. So, improper use of torque wrench might disturb your budget due to irreversible damage. It will be wise to look at all these possibilities before making any choice.