How do you use a timing light?

I’ve been noticing a knock in my engine lately while I’m driving and think my engine’s timing could be off a bit. I just ordered a timing light to check, but have never used one before. How do timing lights work?

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Answer provided by
Abbey Orzech
Answered on May 02, 2022
Hopefully the knocking in your engine is due to an engine mistiming and not something more serious! When your timing light comes in, follow these steps to test it out:
  • Attach the red wire of the timing light to the positive terminal of your car’s battery.
  • Attach the black wire of the timing light to the negative terminal of your car’s battery.
  • Attach to signal wire of the timing light to spark plug wire number 1 (check your vehicle’s service manual for the location, or you can look it up online).
  • Pull the trigger of the timing light while the engine is running and it will light up each time the number 1 spark plug fires, allowing you to time your engine.
Properly maintaining your engine’s timing will ensure that your engine runs with more efficiency and will keep you safer on the road. Of course, a good car insurance policy will help you stay safe while driving too!
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