If your car is shuddering or you experience something called knocking, the ignition system may not be running as smoothly as it should. Rather than take your vehicle to a professional mechanic and end up spending lots of money just to tell you that you have a timing issue, a timing light is a handy tool that you can try yourself first. Cars with older engines are more likely to have timing issues with the ignition system and spark plugs not firing correctly.
Timing lights may require a little technical know-how beforehand when attempting to use one, however, a quick watch of a Youtube video will show you how to use one correctly. Have a browse through our 5 top timing gun lights below to ensure your older engine doesn't fall victim to a bad firing sequence.
Best Timing Lights in the UK Reviews
Most 12V ignition systems
Conventional, electronic, computer-controlled
All 12V ignition systems
All 12V ignition systems
Any petrol engine with a 12V ignition system
#1. Draper 52616 Xenon Timing Light
The Draper rand has a long-standing history, over 90 years, of producing quality tools for professionals and hobbyists alike. The tools manufactured by this company are high-quality and pass strictly-controlled quality standards, and this 52616 Xenon Timing Light is no different.
This pistol grip timing light is perfect for checking any 12-volt DC ignition timing, including those on automotive, agricultural, and marine engines. It should not be relied upon for motorcycles or low-power, positive-earth vehicles.
This timing light is backed by Draper’s guarantee and warranty, so you can purchase and use this product with confidence.
- Suitable for use to check ignition timing on automotive, agricultural, and marine engines
- Backed by the manufacturer’s guarantee and warranty
- Uses a Xenon bulb and inductive pick-up
- Impact-resistant housing with an on and off trigger
- 1.3m leads
- The light can be a little dim
- Could be more robust
#2. Innova 3568 Digital Timing Light
Innova has several impressive timing guns that have fantastic reviews and a plethora of uses. But the 3568 model is one of the top-rated timing lights available and had to make our review list. It’s perfect for professional mechanics as well as in-depth DIYers, so no matter your level of expertise or what use you might have for it, this timing light will perform beyond expectations.
It has a clear, easy-to-read digital readout with a split-screen LCD design. This allows it to display advanced functions and tachometer simultaneously. It also has an advanced dial, which allows for direct reading. Additionally, its rotating barrel and slim design make it easy to use from all angles, directions, and depths.
This timing light can be used with most ignition systems, including conventional, electronic, and computer-controlled systems on both domestic and imported vehicles. No matter what type of vehicle you have, this highly-compatible and versatile timing light can help you get the job done.
- Features a unique split-screen LCD display
- Allows you to check tachometer, Dwell, and other advanced functions
- Has a barrel with a slim, rotating design for improved aim
- Compatible with conventional, electronic, and computer-controlled ignition systems
- Has a patented skip circuitry test of up to 9,990 RPM
#3. Gunson 77008 Timing Light
Gunson has been historically renowned for producing innovative products that make life easier for all kinds of automotive enthusiasts and professionals. Their timing lights live up to this standard, and the 77008 model is particularly enjoyed by many.
This timing light is essential for engines with adjustable timing. The dial will set a calibrated delay in the flashing of the tue until you can see that the timing marks are aligned. This timing light will work on or with any 12V ignition system. It has a replaceable Xenon flash tube that can be ordered through the manufacturer or through Amazon.
It also features automotive reverse polarity and overload protection, so it’s as safe as it is easy to use.
- Has a timing advance of up to 60 crankshaft degrees
- Xenon bulb provides excellent blue and white light with 1,000,000 flash capacity
- Works with all 12V ignition systems
- Inductive pick-up replaces the necessity to disconnect spark plug wires
- Features superior performance at all speeds through to 8,000 RPM
- Quality control problems with the timing control knob being loose
- Some units arrive with faulty lights - The manufacturer is happy to replace the lights in reported products
#4. AB Tools Hi-Beam
The AB Tools Hi-Beam Timing Light by AccuSpark is a modern take on a useful, classic tool. It’s incredibly simple to hook up for use. It’s an inductive type timing gun which eliminates the need to disconnect the spark plug lead - you can simply connect the two crocodile clips to the vehicle’s battery.
It features a double-check light that will indicate an incorrect hook-up or faulty flash, so you’ll always know when you’re connected properly for work. It’s compatible with all 12-volt ignition systems and is perfect for setting the timing on any classic car.
- Replaceable Xenon flash tube
- Suitable for operation on and with any 12V ignition system
- Inductive pick-up eliminates the need to disconnect the spark plug lead
- Helps to prevent power loss and increased fuel consumption through precise ignition control
- Suitable for speeds of up to 8,000 RPM
- Some quality control issues with the timing light not working correctly
- Leads could be longer
#5. Gunson G4133
Gunson makes such a great product that we had to add another to our list. The G4133 is great for any kind of petrol engine vehicle so long as it has a 12-volt ignition system. This timing light is inductive, so you don’t have to worry about disconnecting anything to use it. Just follow the included instructions, hook it up, and do what you need to do.
It’s made of a sturdy, durable die-cast alloy that will keep it from breaking in even the toughest environments. It also features high-speed overload protection, a dial advance feature, and will facilitate the advance curve of the ignition system.
- Inductive-style timing light
- Perfect for any petrol engine vehicle with a 12V ignition system
- Constructed with a sturdy, die-cast alloy body
- Works well on positive-earth vehicles
- The dial could be a bit larger
- Leads could be longer
Car Engine Timing Light Buying Considerations
What You Would Like to Use It For
If you want a basic timing light where its only purpose is to tell you if your engine’s timing is off or not, making your choice is as simple as reading reviews, manufacturer descriptions, and choosing a light that’s within your budget. But the cheaper options are truly basic, and won’t give you a range of versatility that you would otherwise enjoy if you’re a mechanic or a DIY enthusiast.
The additional features should not be scoffed at. They can help you to learn much more about your vehicle and will allow you to catch and fix minor issues. It will also make fine-tuning your vehicle a breeze, allowing it to operate with much better efficiency for longer periods since it will be fully and properly maintained.
Type of Timing Light
You’ll come across two primary types of timing lights in your search. These are inductive and inline. The most notable difference between the two is the type of connection they feature.
These have a built-in sensor that you will clip around your vehicle’s spark plug. They are a bit more expensive than the inline timing lights but tend to have a better design with more inclusive features.
They will require you to unplug the spark plug from your vehicle first before connecting the timing light. They are cheaper but usually have fewer features and a less-than-favorable design. But they’re great for DIYers that want to avoid electrocution.
Ease of Use and Complexity
A majority of the timing lights that you’ll come across have a pistol shape and a trigger. These are the easiest timing lights to use. Some of them come with a microprocessor that helps to control the timing light, and some may even allow you to easily check your vehicle’s RPM, battery voltage, dwell, and more.
You should also keep in mind what kind of material the timing light is made of, as some are metal. Since metal conducts electricity, it’s best not to buy these types unless you are particularly familiar with safety precautions regarding them.
Additionally, you want to think about what kind of timing light you need: simple or complex. This will affect what you can check in your vehicle, what functions are included, and what price you will ultimately pay for the equipment.
The Final Word
Timing lights aren’t the most essential pieces of equipment for the casual car owner, however, if you’re a professional mechanic or have an older classic car, they are something worth having in the toolbox. Most modern cars probably won't need their engine timed with one of these flashing guns and can have most problems diagnosed with a standard OBD2 diagnostic tool. If you are in the market for one of these guns, then check out the Draper 52616 Xenon as we have chosen it as our best timing light choice overall.
Last Updated On: February 26, 2021.