Ignition timing plays a critical role in the efficient operation of an engine. In order for the engine to properly burn fuel, the fuel must be ignited at the proper moment during the combustion cycle. If the ignition timing becomes out of synch, the fuel-and-air mixture will not be burned properly. This can result in several symptoms that vary in severity and can affect everything from drivability to fuel economy.
Pinging or knocking indicates that pre-ignition is taking place. Pre-ignition occurs when the fuel mixture in the engine’s cylinder is ignited too soon and the piston has not completed its compression stroke. This causes the fuel and air mixture to ignite and push back against a piston as it is still trying to compress the fuel and air mixture. Timing that is too far advanced will ignite the fuel and air mixture too soon and will cause pre-ignition.