How Engine Timing Works

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Your car engine consists of a number of rapidly moving parts, including a crankshaft, camshaft, pistons, engine valves, rods and pulleys. As the piston moves up and down, the valves move correspondingly, in and out. The crankshaft spins, and the connecting rods pull and push. All of this has to work in perfect harmony.

Different types of timing

There are two kinds of timing, cam timing and ignition timing. The cam timing regulates the valves and pistons, and the whole process is controlled by the timing chain or belt. If the timing is off, damage can occur. In some engines, called “interference engines,” the consequences can be especially bad. With this type of engine, the engine valves and pistons actually occupy the same space in the cylinder, but at different times. Since the intervals between the time when the piston owns the space, and the time when the valve owns the space is far less than a second, you can probably imagine the consequences if the timing is off. You could end up having to have your engine rebuilt, or even replaced.

If your cam timing is off, chances are you’ll know because your car will not be running well, if it’s running at all. Your ignition timing, on the other hand, can be harder to identify, but it’s easy to adjust. Ignition timing has to do with the four cycles of your car’s engine. The four cycles are:

  • Air gets sucked in by means of the intake valve, while the injectors deliver fuel.
  • The fuel mixture is compressed.
  • The spark plug combusts the fuel mixture, pushing the piston down.
  • The exhaust valve opens to let out the burnt fuel gases (the exhaust).

The most important thing is that the spark happens on time. If it doesn’t, you can end up with choppy idle, no power, or an engine that just won’t work.

You should never ignore engine timing problems, since if the timing is off, serious engine problems can be the result. If your car displays any of the symptoms of bad motor timing, consult a professional mechanic.


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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

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