Do you own a vehicle? What do you do when you discover your engine running rough? To increase the lifespan of your engine and fuel efficiency, you must make sure that your engine operates at peak efficiency. And to achieve that, you have to make some general adjustments to your engine. The advantage of ignition tune-up is improved fuel mileage and general performance. Besides, it is a solution to electricity troubles and any other form of engine damage.
If you are familiar with a car engine, you are aware that it is not easy to have a clear look into your car engine. Besides, you cannot manage to set the timing of your engine without seeing properly. That brings the need to have a timing light which will offer more visibility so you can see what you are doing. That means you can identify any issues with your engines and maybe fuel problems. Therefore, as a professional mechanic or just a semi-skilled car owner, timing lights come in handy.
Factors To Consider When Selecting An Automotive Timing Light
Timing lights are of two types; inline and inductive. The difference between the two is in connecting where the first model requires unplugging the number 1 spark plug. The latter features an inbuilt sensor that you clip around the spark plug wire. Although cheaper, inline models are poorly designed and are best for DIYers to avoid the risk of electrocution.
Be sure to understand your needs before committing your efforts searching for timing lights. Know your engine first as not all timing lights work in 4, 6, 8-cylinder engines. Besides, not all every other design of timing lights works with 2-cycle engines.
Not all manufacturers have quality timing products, and you have to understand pretty well the dealer so as decide.
Ability to operate
Most standard timing lights are gun-shaped with a trigger. Those looking to spend an extra dime can buy the latest microprocessor controlled timing lights. The modern types allow you to check the battery voltage, dwell and RPMs.
Since metal conducts electricity, you would be risking your chances of being electrocuted if you buy one with a metal cover.
The market is awash with different brands of timing lights. That means you would go through hell trying to separate bogus timing lights from the quality ones.
As such, we decided to assume that trouble by reviewing the best timing lights currently on the market
Detailed reviews of the best automotive timing lights in 2017;
10. JEGS Performance Products Timing Light
Convenience is a crucial aspect at all times in anything you do and particularly when timing your car. With JEGS timing light, you are assured of a timing experience you will rarely find in other timing lights that tend to prove worthless.
It features a 48’ inductive wire pickup. That means anybody can use it regardless of the level of skills in mechanics. Just attach the cord to the 1st plug wire, and that’s all.
Being self-powered, it means you don’t need to have a 12V battery to have it working. It comes with high-quality and long-lasting 2, D-cell batteries. Besides, you can use it perfectly with 6V and 12V old car systems.
Also, it features a switch that allows you to either put on or put off the light. Of importance is that light is bright enough to see during the daylight or in the dark. The timing light features a rubber-coated light emitting end. That minimizes the possibility of it getting a scratch if you happen to bump it on a hard surface accidentally as you work.
- Ease to connect and use (inductive pickup)
- Light producing end reinforced with rubber-coat to reduce damage
- Light enough to get you working at any time
- Those who prefer longer cords may feel limited. However, another set of wires will work well
Not a single garage can afford to miss a timing light as part of their working tools. Also, if you are a DIY mechanic, JEGS timing light will come in handy when you want to diagnose your ignition system.
9. Flaming River FR1001 Single Wire Timing Light
This is a self-powered light powered by 2 ‘D’ cell batteries. That means it doesn’t require a 12V battery or any other external source of power for it to work. The feature makes it ideal for use in many areas including magnetos (electric generators), rear battery, marine, and all spark-free ignition systems for efficient timing. It allows for a speed accuracy of up to 14, 000 rpm.
Featured is a xenon bulb that produces bright strobe and a bright light for visibility even in the presence of sunlight.
What’s more, it is rubber made making it sturdy and durable. Encased in the durable rubber is a lens and a 48′ lead. For those seeking longer leads for industrial application, they also are available.
- Has numerous applications
- Speed accuracy very high
- Rubber material makes it durable
- Bright even during daytime
- A few complaints about visibility when there is too much sunlight
Being self-powered, you are guaranteed of a trouble-free timing experience. And the fact that it has rubber material construction renders it durable and applicable in many areas. Flaming River timing light is an ideal choice for every vehicle.
8. OTC 3367 Professional Digital Timing Light
OTC presents you a specially engineered timing light. OTC 3367 exhibits advanced and unique features. This timing light stands out from the pack for some reasons. With the ABS housing material, you can be sure that it durable enough to stand the ruggedness of the area of applications. Besides, this is not the fragile type that shatters upon slight accidental drop. It has a LED screen as well as mode indicator light.
Featuring is a circuitry controlled by use of a microprocessor. Also, it has a tachometer LED display that allows you to read speed between 0 and 9999 Rotations per Minute. The bright LED display will also enable you to read degrees advance. What’s more, this timing is designed to work with 2 and 4-cycle ignition systems. For convenience and ease of use, it features the up and down buttons you can use to adjust the way you want.
Besides, this timing light features a unique and ultra-bright xenon light that will allow you to view the finest details. That way, you can diagnose the problem even in broad daylight.
Moreover, you don’t have to be a mechanic to use this timing light. It features all inductive metal pickup that you only clamp on the battery terminals of your car. The molded grips render OTC 3367 heat resistance upon connecting the clips to the battery terminals. What’s more, for compact storage or even replacement, the leads are removable. Also, connecting them is a breeze as you only need to give it a positive twist you are fine.
- Ultra-bright xenon light even during the broad daylight
- Sturdy (ABS housing)
- Works with both 2 and 4-cycle engines
- High-speed measurement of up to 9999 RPM
- Features LED display and light
- The gun does not have settings for switching between 6 and 12 volts. Most systems use the 12V battery. However, a manual accompanies this timing light that explains how you can use on a 6V system
OTC 3367 is average at best. With all the cool features it exhibits, we believe it will offer you an excellent and professional timing experience.
7. ESI 125 Digital Tach Advance Timing Light
Electronic Specialties presents ESI 125 Digital Tach Timing Light. The timing light is designed with the goal of improving tuning accuracy and diagnostics. Use it to improve your engine performance and fuel mileage. It features a bright display allowing you to read in rotation per minute and also degrees advance. Also, it has textured non-slip grip for comfort and ease of use.
ESI works best with 2 and 4-cycle engines, and the tachometer can measure speed up to 9,999 RPM. Moreover, tachometer measures the rotation per minute with an accuracy of 9,000 RPM. It measures ignition spark advance from 0-90 degrees. Besides, featured in ESI 125 digital tach is brilliant xenon flash that works at any speed. The flashlight is brilliant enough to see clearly in broad daylight.
Also, the cable set is detachable to allow for compact storage. Also, the cables are replaceable giving you the freedom to use any other brand of cables or length for the best tuning up experience.
- Bright xenon light for visibility even in day time
- Speed accuracy of 9,000 rpm
- Cable set detachable and replaceable
- No complaints make much sense meaning it is a quality product
High timing accuracy, cord detachability, and non-slip grip make this ESI 125 Digital Tach timing light a product you may need to give a second look.
6. Timing Light Xenon Inductive Ignition Spark Checker
Although a new timing light from PMD, Xenon Inductive Ignition is simply a hit. It is trigger activated and has a dial advance that allows you to set the advance on the timing light. You don’t need to have a degree scale on your engine for this. Then, go to your engine and align the timing to the TDC indicator.
It allows 60 degrees advance dial that ensures that it is simple to adjust the timing in advance and that you can read with ease. Besides, it is easy to hook-up as it has a clamp-on inductive pickup. Moreover, it features 4-feet removable cables to increase the length and for compact storage.
To ensure that it is sturdy enough to withstand the ruggedness of the application environment, it features a high impact bright ABS housing. What’s more, to make sure that you see explicit details, it features a super-bright xenon bulb. It is designed to work with all 12-16V systems.
Finally, the rotation per minute (RPM) does not matter. It works at any speed. Accompanying the timing light is a user manual to guide on performance testing.
- Allows advance setting without needing a degree scale on engine
- Super-bright (xenon bulb)
- Sturdy (ABS housing)
- Clamp-on inductive pickup makes it easy to hookup
- Detachable and lengthy lead for use where extended length is needed
- This timing light is good for the price. No complaints worth causing alarm
Even if your engine does not have a degree scale, you are sorted. Timing Light Xenon allows you to set in advance and then align on the engine. With the xenon bulb, this light is a good bet for your timing.
5. ESI 130-Self-Powered Timing Light
With a customer rating of 4.4, there are no doubts about the quality of ESI self-powered timing light. It comes with two ‘D’ cell original batteries. That makes it produce super-bright light for a detailed view even in broad daylight. That eliminates the need to connect to a 12V battery so as to power as happens with other brands.
ESI was designed for use in 2 and 4-cycle engines. It works with all ignition systems including timing marine, snowmobile, racing industrial engines and more. Regarding rotation per minute (RPM), it offers an accuracy of up to 14,000RPM.
There is another feature that makes ESI 130 timing light stand out from the pack. That is the ability of the protective sleeves to withstand high temperatures even at the high of 100F.
What’s more, the cable stretches to a maximum length of 4 feet enabling you to view even the farthest end from your eyes. Besides, the light intensity is not affected by speed.
- No need to connect to the battery to work
- Has a high RPM accuracy (RPM)
- Sleeves make it resistance to extreme temperatures
- Bright light regardless of the speed
- It works fine. No sensible complaints worth noting down
Being a highly rated product, you can never go wrong. ESI 130 is also an excellent choice for you can use it in high temperatures. Because it is versatile, it means it works with all ignition systems eliminating the need to incur more in buying more than timing light.
4. Actron CP7529 Digital Timing Light
Has your spark plug failed to maximize your engine efficiency? Actron Timing Light will come in handy. It is a strobe light that will help you to check the ignition timing and fire. It features a unique flashlight that can work in both 2 and 4-cycle engines. Besides, it comes with RPM advance lights to show the speed at which the engine rotates.
The inductive pickup clamp is molded over the spark plug wire. Thus, you don’t need to take an eternity connecting. Also featuring is a digital timing light in the form of LED and indicator lights.
Xenon flash tube and Fresnel lenses ensure that it produces ultra-bright light that makes it possible to view in broad daylight.
For efficiency in use, included in the package is a user guide that will take you step by step in the automotive test procedure. And the thing you wanted to here; it comes with a 1- year warranty.
- Ultra-bright light enhance visibility in broad daylight
- 1-year warranty
- Simple to connect
- Flashlight to work in both 2 and 4 cycle engines
- It is not simple to find a replacement battery but can order on Amazon for fast delivery
Actron CP7529 is another great option for non-expert DIYers due the ease of hookup. Also, since it produces very bright, there is no longer straining when timing your engine. The manual guide further makes it one of the best choices in the market.
3. Performance Tool-W80578 Self-Powered Timing Light
It is a highly rated timing light on Amazon and has received several positive reviews. Performance self-powered timing light is designed to work in all gas engines, outdoor power equipment, vehicles, mowers, tractors and more. Being self-powered, it has two batteries that you can recharge when they go low on power.
Besides, it comes with a removable inductive pick-up that you can hook with ease on your ignition system. Also, the fact that it is detachable allows for compact storage and even storage. Even more, it is compatible with magnetos, an electric generator containing a permanent magnet.
The manufacturer designed the Performance timing light with the focus on its use in tuning up race cars, street rods, and power boats.
- Self-powered, 2 rechargeable batteries
- Works with all gas engines
- Detachable inductive pick ease to hook-up
- Compatible with magnetos
- It could be even better with a LED to indicate the battery voltage. However, we believe it is worth every penny.
Performance tool timing light is worth your attention. It works with all gas engines making it one of the best timing on the market.
2. INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light with Tool Case
If you are after a sturdy and professional timing light, Innova 5568 digital Pro-timing light is the choice. To ensure protection against the engine blades or even dropping by accident, it is made of heavy-duty ABS shock-proof housing.
What’s more, in order to even see in hard-to-view areas, it has a backlit screen. The readout includes a tachometer, advance dwell, and voltage. Innova 5568 tachometer can measure between 249-9900 RPM. Besides, it can comfortably work with 2 and 4-cycle engines. Also, the design of the timing light allows you to use it with engines with cylinders ranging from 2-12. Besides, it works with most ignition systems including electronic, computer controlled, DIS and conventional systems.
Innova 5568 is easy to use as it only requires plug and play to operate. Besides, you can adjust the slim, rotating barrel at will for better timing in tight spaces. Also, it has detachable and inductive pickups that make it a breeze to set up and also to store and transport. They have ASE certified technicians that offer unmatched support in both English and Spanish 6 days a week.
- Backlit screen for ease in viewing in hard-to-view areas
- Simple to operate
- Heavy-duty shock-proof material to reduce damage
- Adjustable to work in tight spaces
- Detachable to allow for ease of setup and compact storage
- Excellent supports
- The timing light is a snap. There is nothing significant worth mentioning
Accidents do happen and if they do, you ought to have a timing light handy enough to withstand the impact. With the ABS shock-proof material, it makes it a great choice for use in a rugged environment. The fact that it can work with almost all types of ignition systems would make give it a closer look.
1. INNOVA-3551 Inductive Timing Light
Innova inductive timing light is one of the equipment you can’t afford to miss in your tune-up kit. Being highly versatile, this entry-level timing light works with most ignition systems. As such, you can use it with DIS, conventional, and computer controlled systems.
It is simple to use featuring plug and play mechanism such that you don’t need to be an expert to check timing. Besides, it won’t take a lot of your time to do so. Asides from timing test, it allows you to diagnose a no-spark condition. One nice thing about the spark-plug is that it is metallic meaning that it does not melt right away if it accidentally touches the exhaust manifold. Also, you can check for electronic advance and more.
Also, it has a slim and adjustable barrel such that you can aim at the timing mark even when there is limited space without much trouble. Besides, it produces light two-times in broad daylight so you can locate the timing mark with ease. For compact storage and quick set-up, it features detachable leads. What’s more, in case you have any queries, the manufacturer offers excellent customers support.
Even more, Innova 3551 timing is lightweight weighing only 1 pound light enough to allow you to perform your operation with a single hand. Your safety is paramount. This timing light features a protective hand guard that protects you from electrocution.
Finally, it features a patented skip circuitry test that allows you to measure up to 9,990 revolutions per minutes.
- Works with most ignition systems
- Easy to use (plug and play)
- Lightweight to operate using a single hand
- Safe (protective hand guard)
- Measures up to 9,990RPM
- There complaints about it not coming with a fancy box which is not a big issue. We believe performance is what matters
It is not by accident that INNOVA-3551 timing light ranks position one. You want a timing light that is highly versatile meaning it works with almost every type of ignition systems. No expertise needed since it is plug and play. If you value your safety and are looking for a comfortable timing experience, you can’t go wrong with INNOVA-3551.
A timing light is a necessity both for DIYers and technicians. To make your engine last long and to improve the fuel efficiency, you must ensure your engine operates at peak efficiency. Tuning your engine requires being able to view the finer details of it. As such, a timing light is something you cannot miss. We believe that the reviews above will help you identify the timing light that best suits your needs.