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  • Writer's pictureElite Automotive Customer Service

Why is engine timing important, and what is timing?

Are you late everywhere? Well it's a good thing your engine's timing is not as off as yours! You may be wondering what timing even is, well that's why we are here.

For a combustion engine to run, it needs an air & fuel mixture (A/F Ratio) in each cylinder to, well.... COMBUST! The fuel and air are typically provided through valves during a sequence in which the piston rises and falls within the cylinder. However, they must be at the right time otherwise they will not interact properly and your combustion may turn into detonation!

The engine timing is simply when these valves open and close during that sequence. For example, when your piston is on the rise, these valves are timed to open for just long enough to allow the exact right amount of Air/Fuel to enter the cylinder. These valves must close before that piston approaches the top so that when the spark is ignited, and combustion occurs, it does not push it right back out instead. Next, as that piston is headed back down the cylinder, propelled by the combustion, another valve is getting ready to open. The next time the piston rises, still carrying momentum from the combustion, an exhaust valve opens, allowing the cylinder to push every the leftover exhaust out while it rises back to the top. Finally, it is all repeated!

While the concept may seem simple, this is all happening within a fraction of a second, not to mention the accuracy of values to provide the chamber with a perfect A/F ratio during this sequence, under any given instance while driving.

If timing is not proper, it can cause: Low combustion, a misfire, or unfortunately detonation. So if you thought your vehicle's schedule isn't busy, think again!!!

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