Has anyone tried towing with their Clarity?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Casey Martin, May 1, 2019.

  1. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

    I have a jet ski that I would like to tow. I imagine the ski and trailer weigh ~1,000 lbs combined. I won't be towing it long distances.

    Do you think that would be safe or could it damage the Clarity?
  2. Tahuna

    Tahuna Member

    Page 93 in the owner's manual: "Your vehicle is not designed to tow a trailer. Attempting to do so can void your warranties."
    Interesting, Page 92 talks about calculating load limits including trailer tongue load.
    If So Equipped likes this.
  3. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

    I know the manual states that. I wouldn't tow while loaded with 5 adults. It would mainly just be me and maybe one more person in the car so I wouldn't be much over the maximum weight capacity. I think it would be fine if it was only for short distances and drove conservatively.
  4. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    Is there a good hitch for the Clarity?
  5. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    There's towing and then there's TOWING. I doubt you will hurt anything towing a jet ski, especially if you keep the speed down. I suspect page 92 is for such things as a hitch mounted bike rack/wheelchair carrier and not a trailer, but I'm guessing. I don't think just putting a receiver on the car could void a warranty, but I am not an expert in warranty law. I think I'd want to know this answer for sure before installing a hitch...
  6. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Unfortunately, none of us that frequent this site are certified Honda engineers that could answer definitively yes or no to your question.
  7. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

    Texas22Step and Robert_Alabama like this.
  8. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Check that weight. If it is a stand up ski and small trailer then it might be under 800 pounds. My three seater ski weighed 800 pounds empty, and the trailer was about 700 pounds. With 16 gallons of gas plus things in the storage compartment it was pushing 2 000 pounds.
  9. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

    Good point. According to the spec sheet my ski weighs 639 lbs dry. I can't seem to find the exact model of my Karavan trailer on their website but the single ski trailers are as light as 210 lbs and as heavy as 275 lbs. I believe mine is the lightest model because the model number is similar to mine. So total weight is probably ~850 lbs dry. Full of fuel and with everything else it should still be under 1,000 lbs give or take.
  10. If So Equipped

    If So Equipped New Member

    PHEV or BEV? Leases sometimes have clauses prohibiting towing. I found a Ford Escape that had come off lease and had a tow hitch cut off with a torch - guess it had been welded on. Result were two support struts under the car cut 2/3 of the way through. Dealer was selling as a CPO vehicle - so much for 114 point inspections! Anyway, I would think that towing with a car where the owner's manual specifically prohibits it would generate significant liability if you were in any kind of accident where you were unable to stop in time or had difficulty controlling the vehicle. Why not rent or borrow a vehicle designed for towing when you need it?
  11. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member


    I appreciate the responses. I will think about it and make a decision. I think it will be fine for what I am going to tow and the very short distances I will be towing. If I plan on towing it for a longer trip I will use my wife's MDX. The reason I want to be able to use the Clarity is there is a lake about 5 miles from my house. On my day off I want to be able to use the jet ski while she is at work. Obviously I could switch cars with her but that isn't always convenient.

    If someone here has towed something similar in weight with their Clarity please post a response. Thanks again everyone.
  12. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I can vouch for the quality of the Torklift Ecohitch. I put one on a Subaru and it was well made and fit great. It's a good solution for carrying bikes. I have no idea about towing with a Clarity, but keep in mind the combination of hitch weight and trailer tongue weight is as important to vehicle dynamics as the total trailer/boat weight.
    Casey Martin likes this.
  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    There is a rather long thread on this forum about light trailer hitches for the Clarity PHEV:

    "Clarity - Any ideas on a bike Rack?"

    But as is apparent from the title, the focus there is on a bike rack mounted on a light trailer hitch. The beginning of the discussion predates the TorkLift hitch, and includes the development and eventual marketing of that hitch.

    However, so far as I can recall from discussion there, nobody had reported actually towing a trailer with such a hitch. I think there were some questions from those thinking about using it to tow a light trailer, but not anyone reporting they had actually done so.

    My own experience with 3rd party hitches going back to the 1960s, is that just about any car can be used for towing. In fact, my father even used his classic VW Beetle for light towing -- altho I certainly wouldn't recommend it!

    Frankly, it puzzles me that there is such reluctance these days about mounting a trailer hitch on a car and using it to tow a small trailer. Yes, you should take care when doing so, and ideally you should have some experience with how to maneuver while pulling a trailer before setting out on a journey. And yes, if you use a hitch on a car that's not rated for towing, and the car is damaged in an accident due to towing, then your car's warranty may not cover the damage. But your car insurance should cover it, so I am rather puzzled at what appears to be extreme reluctance to do so.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, and obviously I'm not going to be the one to pay for any damage that you might have if you do have an accident. But Americans can and do use 3rd party hitches on just about any and every car made to tow trailers. Heck, even touring motorcycles sometimes pull small trailers!

    Anyway... I don't think anybody on this forum has experience using the TorkLift hitch for towing, but if I were you, I'd certainly check that out to see if TorkLift actually recommends towing with the larger of the two sizes -- I think that's the two-inch hitch? -- or if it's only intended for mounting a bike rack.

    Alternatively, as I recall from the same discussion thread, U-Haul said they would install a custom hitch on a Clarity... but I don't know how much they would charge for that.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  14. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    I was going to suggest you and your wife could swap cars on those days. Then I considered that plan might not be a good one if you're worried you won't get your Clarity back after the swap.
  15. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

    My wife hates the Clarity. :( She is spoiled from driving CR-Vs, a Pilot and now an MDX. She likes being high up. I actually love the newer MDXs and considered getting one but the MPG is a killer for the miles I drive. The newest MDXs average in the low to mid 20s which isn't bad but far from good for the miles I drive. She doesn't drive much so we can live with the MPG her 2007 gets. I drive 20k+ a year so the Clarity is a much better fit for me.

    I can swap with her and I will if I am going to be towing a long distance. For a quick ride to the local lake I think the Clarity will be able to handle it without any issues.
  16. Thomas Mitchell

    Thomas Mitchell Active Member

    5 miles? I wouldn’t sweat it, provided you find the appropriate hitch. Although I wonder which drive mode would be best for towing?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. I bought a 2007 Fit brand new back when. One of the first things I did was put a hitch on it.

    Previously, I had a 1989 CRX that I put a hitch on.

    Both of these vehicles were used to move significant distance towing a 4' x 8' trailer.

    We own a truck and large enclosed car-hauling trailer so there is no need to put a hitch on the Clarity; however, if the circumstances were like yours, I probably would.

    If it is ok to load the car with people and luggage and head off to the top of a mountain, would you be putting more street on it than that?

    Just my $0.02.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Inside EVs mobile app
    KentuckyKen likes this.
  18. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to take the time to say "Thanks" for this thread. I keep a full size spare in the trunk, so I may eventually be limited in cargo space. An obvious solution is to add the Torklift receiver and use an aluminum platform for extra luggage space on a trip. I've done this before with our Tahoe to get extra luggage space in the past. Just knowing I have the option for about $300 and having a reviewer saying the instructions are fair and that it is about a 2 hour job is very nice to know.
  19. Walt R

    Walt R Active Member

    Or, you could move the spare to the receiver. Mount it sideways, get a matching hard cover for it, order some "Concorde" badges to put on your Clarity, and you'd probably get a few comments.
    AlanSqB and Robert_Alabama like this.
  20. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    Oh, then add some curb feelers to not only complete the look but also to prevent those awkward Clarity rim rubs.
    Texas22Step likes this.

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