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Lou, I drive a 2013 Honda Accord with the side-mirror-mounted right-hand turn camera. I have been noticing that some vehicle’s front lights seem to “strobe” when viewed with the camera, but when viewed normally, they appear to be just fine. It seems to only with LED-based running lights. Is there something fundamentally different with those lights, or is it a problem with my camera? – John Z, London

This is a little outside my usual area of expertise, but since I consider myself an amateur videographer, I will give this one a shot. LED headlights employ Pulse Width Modulation that effectively pulses the bulb on and off and to keep temperatures down, extend operational life and in some cases dim the bulb. The pulsing is so fast it is not visible to the human eye. When you are viewing the LED headlights in your right-hand mirror, you are seeing the headlight image at the mirror cameras much slower frame rate. For example, sometimes when we watch a film of a helicopter, the blades seem to be stationary and not rotating. This is because the frame rate of the movie camera is matching the rotational speed of the blades. When they match, the camera only takes a picture every time the blade is in the same place, therefore giving the illusion it is not rotating. Similarly, the frame rate of your right-hand mirror camera is effectively slowing down the pulsing of the LED headlight to the point where you can now see it.


I have a 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. A dealership recommended replacing the serpentine belt after 90,000 kilometres. They said it looks fine, but they routinely recommend replacement. Your thoughts? – Colin F.

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Even though most serpentine belts are made of ethylene propylene diene monomer, auto manufacturers seem to have differing belt replacement intervals. According to the Hyundai maintenance guideline for your Santa Fe, the belt should be inspected for cracking or showing signs of reduced tension at 96,000 kilometres and replaced if necessary. Generally, a cursory belt inspection is supposed to occur at every oil change service interval, with more attention being paid to it as its ages. I believe that once a belt has eclipsed the 100,000 km mark, it owes you nothing. That being said, we won’t recommend belt replacement just because it has reached that interval. Rather, we will take a close look at it, and only if it is showing signs of wear, will we recommend its replacement. Typically, a belt that has been in service for 150,000 km to 160,000 km will have reached the end of its useable life. Once it starts chirping and squeaking on vehicle start-up, especially when cold, you know its time. Since your dealer is suggesting it looks fine, I would leave it for now and have it inspected at each oil-change service interval until it starts showing its age.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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