Timing tools are used to set or maintain the position of the camshaft and crankshaft in an engine while servicing timing gears. They are usually used when replacing a timing belt or a timing chain.
The camshaft and crankshaft need to be in sync to keep the engine running and prevent engine damage. When the engine is built, their positions are set relative to each other, and this setting is then maintained by connecting them together with a timing belt or chain. If the timing belt needs to be removed, for example to be replaced at the end of its service, or to access another component, the timing gears will be able to rotate relative to each other and lose their correct position.
Timing tools are used to lock the gears so that they cannot rotate when the belt or chain is removed. During a complete engine rebuild, timing tools cannot be used as the camshaft and crankshaft will be removed, so the timing needs to be set manually by setting the position of the shaft using the marks on the timing gear. It's a labor-intensive job, so garages prefer to avoid it if possible. Therefore, the timing tool saves labor by eliminating the need to manually readjust the timing gears.
Car timing tools are mostly available in sets or kits. The kit then typically contains tools for every movable part of the timing system. Engine timing tool kit contents vary by make and model. Universal timing tools are tools that you can use on a wide range of car types and models. So you don't need to buy different toolsets. Most universal timing tools can service common car makes and models without having to switch to a different kit.
Many auto repair shops use a generic type of engine timing tool. Their use means less storage space and less purchase cost. However, despite their universality, these tools are not suitable for all car types, and if you are a mechanic, you may still need an extra set or two.
Many timing tool suppliers also categorize timing tools by engine type. In this regard, there are gasoline timing tools and diesel timing tools. These are usually designed to fit each specific engine's components, which can vary. Other classification methods include by vehicle type, make, and model. This allows buyers to narrow down their options. Naming also helps ensure that the correct timing locking tools are provided for a particular engine. Bruide offers timing tool finder for your search.