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Understanding & Applying Proper Torque for Metric Fasteners

Torque Explained

Tightening a nut onto a bolt causes the bolt to stretch slightly. Much like a spring, the bolt resists this stretching, and its tendency to return to its natural state creates clamping action between, say a cylinder head and a manifold, or two pieces of sheet-metal housing.

It is critical to the component’s operation that the amount of tension created holds the parts together strongly enough to prevent their separation by outside forces such as the machine’s vibration, the load stress generated during operation, gasket creep, temperature fluctuations, and more. Too much torque, however, can stretch the fastener too much, to the point where it chips, breaks, or yields. Bolts and screws are rated by their “proof load” – how much tension they can withstand before they fail. As a rule of thumb, torque a “clamp load” (also known as “preload”) 75 percent to 90 percent of the proof load is optimal.

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Torque Relationship Chart

 

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