When it comes to working on cars, ensuring that fasteners are tightened to the proper specification is of critical safety concern. Failure to accurately tighten critical fasteners to the correct torque can easily result in damage to your vehicle, in addition to creating a safety hazard for its occupants.
In order to tighten fasteners to the appropriate manufacturer’s specification, one of the most effective tools for the job is the torque wrench. There are many different kinds of torque wrenches, but perhaps one of the most convenient is the electronic torque wrench.
When GearWrench offered to send their 85076 3/8” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench for us to test out, we excitedly accepted their offer! In the past, we have been impressed by the value that GearWrench tools represent, and we are pleased to report that their 3/8” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench is no exception!
When it comes to features, this torque wrench has all of the basics covered without going over the top (if you are looking for all the bells and whistles, check out our review of the 85078 GearWrench 3/8” Drive Flex Head Electronic Torque Wrench with Angle). First and foremost, the torque range is 10-135 Nm (7-100 ft-lb), which is an ideal range for most automotive work and should cover the majority of fasteners on your car. The torque accuracy is 2% clockwise and 3% counter clockwise from 20% to 100% of the torque range, which is pretty standard.
As the torque wrench is electronic, you get several options that are not available to you on the more common click type torque wrenches. The first is a nice, easily visible digital readout that tells you exactly how much torque you are applying. The second is that you can select between five different units of measurement: Nm, ft-lb, in-lb, Kgf-m, and Kgf-cm. This saves you the hassle of having to convert units with a calculator when switching between different vehicles (this is handy as most vehicles from American manufacturers use American Standard units whereas cars from Europe or Asia more typically use the metric system). The third is a feature that alerts you when you achieve your preset torque value via handle vibration, an audible buzzer, and an LED indicator light.
The wrench body is polished stainless, which is of good quality and resistant to corrosion. The handle is constructed with heavy plastic which is resistant to both oil and solvents. The handle is red, which means that you will have to ensure that you wipe your tool down before storing it after use otherwise grease spots will show (you should always wipe down calibrated tools after use so this isn’t a big deal to us). The swing arc clocks in at five degrees, which means that you don’t have to move the wrench very far for the ratchet to catch, which Is extremely convenient when working underneath your car or in a tight space under the hood. The wrench operates on a pair of AA batteries that are sold separately, which you will have to occasionally replace.
When it comes to build quality, the GearWrench 85076 3/8” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench is excellent! The materials are sturdy, as evidenced by the weight and feel of the tool. The fit and finish are also very nice, and it is obvious that GearWrench pays close attention to their quality control, which is critical for a calibrated tool such as a torque wrench. When using and handling this torque wrench, it’s easy to get the impression that it was built for the long haul. If you’re looking for even more confirmation, the limited one year warranty and the 90 day warranty for calibration accuracy are indicative that GearWrench trusts their own product enough to stand behind.
GearWrench always seems to represent a high value proposition for any tool they produce, and we are pleased to report that this is also true of the 85076 3/8” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench. You get a lot of bang for your buck, in that you get a reliable tool with a ton of great features for a reasonable cost. Because this torque wrench covers all the basics without going overboard on the extras, the things you pay for are the most useful and you don’t have to spend extra on features you use less often.
Overall, we think the GearWrench 85076 3/8” Electronic Torque Wrench represents a fantastic value and we think you will be very happy should you decide to invest in one for automotive work. As far as where to find the best price, Amazon tends to be pretty competitive so we suggest starting there. If you are looking to do a little further reading before taking the plunge, we recommend reading our article on choosing the best torque wrenches by clicking here. Happy wrenching!