Clarity Back-up sensors

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Tiralc, Dec 27, 2017.

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  1. Tiralc

    Tiralc Active Member

    Well, with an un-curable gadget affliction, I ordered the Clarity back up sensors a week or so ago. Since ordering, I found the installation instructions online and almost canceled. Here are the installation instructions (click on the underlined text, the Honda PDF is under the Installation tab). There is a significant amount of disassembly, which strikes me as slightly nuts for a Honda "standard" option.

    Had them installed this morning (about 2 to 4 hours). Just a few marks for the wear, and some slight marks past the sensor circles which the dealer offered to patch / paint in warmer weather (extremely minor).

    I only tried it briefly backing towards a slow plow attachment in a parking lot. The sound had been turned down possibly a bit too much, so I need to explore how to pull a side panel and turn it back up a bit. (There is a volume trimmer on the control module which is bolted to the inside the left side trunk wall, under the left side trunk trim panel!).

    The biggest bummer is that even though it all "plugs in", there is no integration with the back up camera like the Volt and the 2018 Accord have.

    So, if it ever helps me to avoid a person or dog or car, I suppose it will have paid for itself. Otherwise for the cost (about $830 installed), but especially for the amount of removal of seats, panels, and drilling into the bumper, I'd say definitely skip it. Bummer.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    4sallypat, Ceetee and GTO 409 like this.
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  3. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    That is a bummer. After reading that you were going to order the sensors I began to consider it too. Now I'll let the subject drop. Thanks for posting.
  4. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Tiralc, my wife had wanted me to look into this right after we picked up the car. But after downloading the installation guide and seeing the nearly 100 steps for the installation, I decided against it. What scared me the most were all the panels that had to be removed and reinstalled. Since I'm nuts when it comes to noises and rattles (and we have none now), I was nervous about things never going back together again quite as they did at the factory.

    Hopefully you'll have no issues, but it's disappointing to hear that it's really not fully integrated.
    GTO 409 likes this.
  5. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    What is NUTS is that these are not a part of the standard Honda Sensing package - backup (cross-traffic) warnings have saved us from several parking lot fender benders in my wife's 2018 Odyssey - likewise for the side traffic warning lights in the front pillars next to the mirrors - come on Honda, this is just like the Infotainment system - be consistent, don't just swipe stuff from the leftover parts bin from last year's model lineup...:rolleyes:
    barnesgj likes this.
  6. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Couldn't agree more. Cheapo cars now have these cross-traffic backup sensors and there's no excuse for them not being standard on the Clarity...even if they only put it in the Touring model. This is the missing feature that upsets my wife the most. Like you, the Hyundai Sonata's rear cross-traffic saved us a few times while backing up. You really need to be a lot more attentive with the Clarity while backing.
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  8. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    I agree. These are extremely important!! I note that they are a $514 option on the Honda list, but none of the Clarity Tourings seem to be coming through with them around here. That is a shame!

    I looked on YouTube and there are lots of (low cost) do-it yourself versions of these. (They come with drills for the bumper holes.)
    While I'm capable of doing that myself, I'm not interested. In the next few months I may decide to look at after-market car electronics shops to see what they would charge for an install.
  9. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Unfortunately this seems to be only an aftermarket, dealer-installed option. I doubt you’ll ever find a 2018 Clarity with them factory installed. That may (and should) change in 2019.
  10. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    There is probably some obscure engineering or design reason they were omitted. I really miss them and told myself I would never buy a car without them. Never say never.
  11. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    I'm going to give myself 3 months to come up with a $150 solution. The situation I'm concerned about is not straight back (which the backup camera covers plus a small angle), but backing up in a supermarket and having impatient people (walking or driving) coming from either side. There are low cost cameras that I could point in each direction from the rear bumper edge, that might make sense. Stay tuned. Some new cars I note now have 360 degree cameras. Infiniti had this years ago on its big SUV. I think Toyota also now also has it as an option. Perhaps the Clarity backup sensors were omitted because they are looking ahead to that.

    Happy New Year.
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  13. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    That us not a "significant amount of disassembly" - it is totally insane. What's more, with it on sale at $381 for the parts, it is beyond belief on a $38,000 vehicle it was not included in the Touring Model.

    On top of all that - with such a great fit and finish on my Clarity, I'd never want it disassembled and risk the "shake, rattle, and roll."
  14. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    John, I’ll be following your efforts closely, since my concerns are precisely yours. As dstrauss mentioned, the amount of disassembly is just nuts for a relatively simple system like this. It dissuaded my wife and me from pursuing it. There’s got to be a better way.
  15. PHClarity2018

    PHClarity2018 New Member

    The amount of assembly for a part like this doesn't seem so extreme to me. This is typical for more modern cars. On my old 2007 Camry I had to remove more than 30 bolts and disassemble the rear bumper and rear skirt to replace a simple tail light assembly. This seems proportionately more difficult for what it is.

    I suspect this is done to dissuade people from doing it themselves.
  16. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Anyone have an idea of what the dealership charges for the intallation.
  17. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    The problem as I see it, and has already been experienced by the only member here I know to have done it, is things often don’t go back together the way the factory installed it.

    The possibilities of damage to paint or interior panels in reassembly, is not, IMO, slight. Even if there is no damage, the possibility of introducing rattles that weren’t there prior to installation, is certainly a concern for me.

    I’m very sensitive to rattles and I’ve been very pleased with how rattle-free the Clarity has been. I’d hate to mess with that.

    Beyond that there’s the issue that this system is really not fully integrated with the car’s other systems as you see in vehicles where this is factory installed.

    Maybe I’m being overly critical or paranoid, but these things have certainly dissuaded me from having it installed.
    GTO 409 and dstrauss like this.
  18. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    I did a bit more research on this and discovered that I may have been asking for the wrong thing. What I want is called a Rear Cross Traffic Alert System (RTCA). That is designed for the case I worry about: Being parked next to a large SUV or pickup truck at a walmart, backing up slowly, and having a near miss with a car or pedestrian. (In fact, there is exactly such a case described near the end of the Tesla reference below.)

    Unlike the ultrasonic system, RTCA uses a side-looking radar in the rear of the car. I had already feared that the ultrasonic method (used in the missing Honda backup alarm) would not see far enough. Radar-based RTCA modules are quite expensive and look to be difficult to install. My current thinking is to look at side view cameras instead. There is a very good discussion of this on the Tesla Forums at
  19. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    John, it’s one thing for the Clarity not to have rear cross-traffic alert, but I’m still amazed my Model S doesn’t have it. We had it on our Sonata PHEV and it worked amazingly well. I will say the back up camera on the Tesla is like no other. Very high resolution. It’s view is wide enough to see ‘some’ rear approaching traffic, but it’s still no substitute for a system designed for this.

    I can only hope Tesla will one day utilize the numerous cameras on the car to release a rear cross-traffic alert system via a software upgrade.
  20. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  21. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    I guess Honda thinks that it's only SUVs that need it and not regular passenger cars. Ironically I would suspect that drivers of the Odyssey have a better view around them than Clarity drivers.
  22. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Your irony is correct - although not SUV tall, you do sit higher and have a lot more open glass around the Odyssey than the Clarity, but in that Walmart parking lot, stuck between a crew-cab F-150 and an Expedition, both are low and short of rear visibility - and backing into parking spaces is NOT the answer.
  23. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    I have done some more research on an RCTA as would be useful in the Walmart example:

    A - I note that ultrasonic based systems only work to around 6'. That would be good for obstacle avoidance, but not really useful as an RCTA.

    B - Microwave based systems seem the best, but most are over $700 just for the parts.

    C - My current thinking is to use an optical system with 2 small side-looking cameras (one facing each way) located either below the bumper edges or on the license plate frame. They would feed a split screen monitor in the car. That method has the advantage of low cost and the ability to see far up and down the aisles of a parking lot. The driver then has good early warning, including the ability to easily notice animals, kids, people, cars. Disadvantages include increased information load on the driver, and clutter in the cabin. I'm currently looking at parts to build a small prototype.


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