Roof Cargo on a Clarity

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by JohnGrackle, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. JohnGrackle

    JohnGrackle New Member

    I wrote to Honda Customer Service to ask what the dynamic capacity rating of the roof is -- meaning, how much weight can the car carry on its roof, in motion? I received this reply:

    "The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid was not designed with the intention of carrying roof cargo; American Honda has not designed roof racks for this vehicle and using any third party accessory may not properly fit your vehicle and can result in vehicle damage or alteration and may void your warranty. We would be unable to provide ratings for the roof's cargo capacity due to this fact. We hope this information helps."

    I've seen many on this forum explain that "void your warranty" just means they wouldn't pay for damage specifically caused by this particular accessory. I'm not worried about the warranty. I just want to know how much weight I can put on the roof!

    I learned about the "dynamic capacity" term from this article:

    I am looking at SeaSucker Monkey Bars as a removable roof rack ($450), so I'd only sacrifice fuel efficiency on trips when I actually want a roof rack. Add to that two Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Racks ($36 each), and an Auperto Cargo Bag ($59), and I'd have a lot of flexibility at a relatively low price.

    But just that equipment is 50 pounds, before any bikes or cargo in the bag. The above article says the average vehicle can carry 165 pounds. If the Clarity is well below average, or has some other unusual structural design, then maybe this won't work well.

    Any experiences to share? Anyone know if the dynamic capacity has been rated (maybe to fulfill some government requirement), and how to get that info?
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  3. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    The roof is designed to survive an overturning incident, so it should be OK for a normal roof rack load.

    Yakima sells a roof rack for Clarity. The roof is steel (I checked myself using a magnet), so it should be like every other Honda.
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  4. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Rather than asking on a car forum, you might get a more informed response from a company that works with roof racks all the time, like Or go directly to rack manufacturers like Yakima or Thule to get their data/info. In any event, a call to Etrailer might help a lot.
    JohnGrackle and ClarityDoc like this.
  5. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Below the steel roof skin, there's high-strength steel supporting the perimeter with a high-strength steel support beam between the A-pillars at the top of the windshield and another between the B-pillars. Aluminum structures add more support between those beams. It appears the 2-ton Clarity is well-braced for a roll-over. I wonder if the companies who make roof racks for the Clarity specify recommended weight limits, and if so, how did they determine those weight limits? "Oops, bring in the next Clarity, please."

  6. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I am leery of a clamp on cross beam roof mount carrier because the Clarity doesn’t have a molded in more vertical area for the clamp like a Camry does. So unlike the Camry (and other cars I’m not aware of that have this feature), the Clarity’ Roof was not designed from the start to accept the loading and stress of a roof rack.
    Since I wanted to be able to take a bike to places too far from home to ride there (yes, I’m old, and suffering from a motorcycle injury), I opted for the TorqueLift receiver hitch that fits the bike rack I already have. Got it for free to be a beta tester and will have it on this month hopefully. I will not tow with it and only use it for the bicycle carrier. And I will accept that it too will void any warranty related to the back bumper/frame where it’s installed since the rear frame was not designed for this either. But I think the forces and stressed it applies, the direction of those forces, and the cross frame it bolts to give it a much better chance of not causing any damage vs. a roof mount carrier. Plus taking a receiver mount bike carrier on and off is much, much easier than a roof mount (as is getting the bike on and off without cosmetic damage).
    Just my 2 cents from a non-engineering (just country boy common sense) background. YMMV.
    JohnGrackle and insightman like this.
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  8. John Fritzen

    John Fritzen New Member

    See my post here.

    Added: I would probably not exceed 70lbs on the rack.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  9. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    According to Yakima website the BaseLine towers with two pairs of baseclip 117 will fit. I think the best way to find out is to go to a Yakima dealer and try it out.

    This roof is designed to support a 4000 lb car in a roll over, so it is stronger than an Accord/Camry roof.
  10. JohnGrackle

    JohnGrackle New Member

    insightman, That body-structure diagram is very interesting -- thank you. It makes me wonder if Yakima towers with clips are a better idea, because they will put the weight more on those steel support beams. The SeaSucker suction cups would probably end up more on the aluminum sections.

    KentuckyKen, I see what you mean -- functionally, a hitch does seem to be a better solution. But on a budget, it seems like the roof option can work well enough. With a hitch, I'd be buying separate bike and cargo racks, plus the hitch and I might need help with installation.

    John, thanks for pointing out the existing thread on this with your photos!

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