The age old question: How often should I calibrate a torque wrench? Making sure a torque wrench is calibrated at the right time is important, without proper calibration the safety of workers is put at risk and the integrity of the equipment you are working on can be compromised. Combine these two issues and you have some costly problems, either due to unhappy customers or broken equipment. At the same time, you don’t want to calibrate too frequently simply for the wasted time the tool will be out and the amount it costs to calibrate. So, what’s the answer to “how often should I calibrate a torque wrench?”
If you’re looking for a straight answer, it is standard practice to calibrate your torque wrench every 5,000 cycles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. However, there is a lot more complications than a simple straight answer. First, if you are in a regulated industry, such as aviation, there is likely a set calibration date for you to follow. Second, there are factors that can affect how often you should get your torque wrench calibrated. Every 5,000 cycles only works if you are using your tool perfectly every time. Below are some factors that you should take into consideration when calculating when you need to recalibrate:
- How often are you using the torque wrench? Higher frequency= earlier calibration date
- How are you treating the torque wrench? If you have dropped it or are using it in a field where there is a high risk for damage, calibrate earlier
- What are the conditions you are using the torque wrench under? Are you in unusually hot, cold, humid or wet conditions?
- Is the torque wrench subjected to an overload equal to or more than 25 percent the maximum?
- Pay attention to the readings and notice when they begin to change. Do they have a tendency to jump at a certain repetition point? That’s a sign that you need to calibrate.
A key point to consider when you ask “how often should I calibrate a torque wrench?” is judgement. Use your best judgement to decide and stick with that routine. Don’t attempt to remember or decide only when you see a problem. Pick a date, such as every six months or every 2,000 cycles, and stick with it religiously. Not only will this help to keep your equipment safe and in top shape, but it will allow your torque wrench to see a longer lifespan.