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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know at what ambient temperature the Clarity must be plugged in? Mine recently failed to start and gave numerous error messages on the dash...none of which were true. I plugged in the car and the next day...all good. The battery was nearly fully charged before I plugged it in. My worry is not being able to plug in anywhere and having to leave it outside in the cold. By the way, this happened in my garage. The temperature was still above freezing. Any thoughts or facts??
 

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Does anyone know at what ambient temperature the Clarity must be plugged in? Mine recently failed to start and gave numerous error messages on the dash...none of which were true. I plugged in the car and the next day...all good. The battery was nearly fully charged before I plugged it in. My worry is not being able to plug in anywhere and having to leave it outside in the cold. By the way, this happened in my garage. The temperature was still above freezing. Any thoughts or facts??
The Canadian Clarity has a battery warmer, which according to the owners manual only works when plugged in. But if it was above freezing that is unlikely to have been the problem. Another possibility is the 12V battery, which in the Clarity is known to cause various strange symptoms when they are nearing the end of their life. The 12V battery is charged by the HV battery, but only when in READY mode or when charging. You said the car was nearly fully charged, but if when you plugged in it charged even briefly then it would have been charging the 12V also and maybe that's what got it working again. Or maybe not and it was just a coincidence that it started working after you plugged in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. My 12 volt battery is new. The battery it came with barely lasted 2 years or so. I am due for maintenance according to the maintenance minder, which is also a concern because I doubt it really requires what is being called for. The first and second time it prompted me resulted in rather expensive service for a new car. It even called for a cabin air filter....totally unnecessary. I will see what the dealer says about this as I love this car, but it has let me down by not starting several times now. The first few times were due to the 12 volt battery which I believe was faulty despite the fact that the dealer said it tested good. This time I assumed it was the temperature. I often see the message saying "cold ambient temperature..plug it in". I thought it could handle a temperature around the freezing point.

Thanks again.
 

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Be sure to take photos of any error messages so that you can show them to the mechanic. Make sure that the outdoor temperature is also in the shot. I would take a photo each time it happens even if the message is the same, that will show the frequency that it occurs.

As for the maintenance minder messages, the "A" code for oil change seems to come on when the tire rotation (code 1) comes up every 6,000 miles or so. Many people ignore it especially if most of their driving is EV, as there would be very few miles on the engine at that point. You can clear individual codes by going into the "wrench" screen on the display which is controlled by the button on the steering wheel. What many people have found (including myself) is that when you clear the tire rotation code only, the A and 0 codes also go away. The owners manual says to not go more than a year without an oil change so many people (including myself) just change the oil once a year and ignore the "A" code whenever it appears.

The "0" inspection can be pretty expensive and there is a question about whether it's really needed so soon on a new car but that's an individual decision.

Cabin filter is easy to check and change yourself, there are Youtube videos that show you how. I haven't changed mine yet but I have pulled it out and inspected it. When it's time to change you can find cabin filters online for a low price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again for the quick reply. You seem to be a wealth of information on the topic. When the error messages were coming up on the dash they were changing rapidly. If it happens again I will try to get a picture...or a video better yet. As for the maintenance minder codes...I have lost faith in them. It gave me an A9 code shortly after I bought the car.....barely 6000 KM (not miles). It now shows an A 7 9 code and the mileage is still low and the car is still under 36 months old....which is when the manual says the brake fluid should be replaced if the minder does not tell you so (that is the "7" code. I believe I will follow your advice and simply do the maintenance that I feel needs doing. My concern is if that might affect the warranty. I purchased a 7 year extended warranty and want to be sure I keep it valid. Do you have any information on the warranty validity issue? Thanks.
 

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The warranty question is one that is hard to be definitive about because in the end it will depend on who you wind up dealing with. But it's hard to imagine that if for example you were able to prove that the oil was changed once a year, but then they still deny warranty on an engine issue and they pull out some sort of printout from their computer showing what dates you received maintenance minder messages about oil changes. In theory they could do that assuming that historical data like that is kept in the Honda computers. But whether that would actually happen is impossible to say, just seems unlikely.

Brake fluid is a bit different situation as the minder timing apparently corresponds with the owners manual which says that it should be changed every three years. But most people aren't going to do that. But having a brake failure during warranty even extended warranty is unlikely, so the odds that you would have a brake problem and then they deny warranty because you didn't change the brake fluid every three years is theoretically possible but just seems unlikely. But some people don't want any risk and thus they shell out big dollars to the dealer for everything that pops up on the minder. I'm not saying that's wrong, in the end any decision related to risk is an individual choice.
 

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I have owned a number of cars over the course of my life and have never flushed brake fluid intentionally. That is not to say that I don’t believe it is prudent to do it now and then. It certainly can’t hurt. But I doubt that you could convince me to have it done for $200-250. I’m a DIYer and would just do it myself if it were that expensive. Another thing to keep in mind is that the brake system is essentially a closed system. The only place contaminants can get in is at the wheel cylinders and through the cap on the master cylinder. The most likely place, I believe, for contaminants to enter would be at the brake cylinders as they are exercised in and out. Water could make it past the boots and the seals on the pistons. But given that the brakes don’t operate near as much on a hybrid because of regenerative braking, I would be even less inclined to be worried about contamination.

I had a 2002 Odyssey that I just retired last year with over 300,000 miles on it. Never once had a brake fluid flush and I never had to do more than put new brake pads on it.
 

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Thanks for the quick reply. My 12 volt battery is new. The battery it came with barely lasted 2 years or so. I am due for maintenance according to the maintenance minder, which is also a concern because I doubt it really requires what is being called for. The first and second time it prompted me resulted in rather expensive service for a new car. It even called for a cabin air filter....totally unnecessary. I will see what the dealer says about this as I love this car, but it has let me down by not starting several times now. The first few times were due to the 12 volt battery which I believe was faulty despite the fact that the dealer said it tested good. This time I assumed it was the temperature. I often see the message saying "cold ambient temperature..plug it in". I thought it could handle a temperature around the freezing point.

Thanks again.
No factual suggestions to offer, but I don't think what you're experiencing is normal. We wrapping up our 3rd winter with our 2018 Clarity here in northern Iowa, and it gets pretty chilly. -18 expected this weekend. We've never had a problem with starting, and I've never seen the "cold ambient temperature" warning you mentioned. Our garage is about 20 degrees warmer inside than outside air, so there've been numerous times the car has been below 0 and started with no problem. I think I remember reading prior to purchasing the car that all systems should function properly down to -20 or -22 degrees F. This got my attention then because I was concerned the car might not start at my wife's workplace after sitting outside all day, but that hasn't been a problem because it's always above -20 during the day. 2 years for your 12 volt battery also seems awfully short -- does make me wonder...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the help. A lot of it validates my feelings. I am not sure how I will proceed, other than reporting it all to the dealer so there is a record of what has gone on. I certainly have the feeling that a lot of maintenance the minder calls for is not truly required, and the fact that in most cases there is no written maintenance schedule to follow and compare the minder to seems fishy.
 

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I have had two situations when my 2 year old 2018 Clarity would not start. Since COVID I drive VERY little - less than 100 miles a month! The dealer convinced me to add a battery minder on the 12V battery. Is there a way to check the status of the 12V battery without waiting for it to fail?
 

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I have had two situations when my 2 year old 2018 Clarity would not start. Since COVID I drive VERY little - less than 100 miles a month! The dealer convinced me to add a battery minder on the 12V battery. Is there a way to check the status of the 12V battery without waiting for it to fail?
There are not any good DIY methods to check a 12V battery condition. Some people connect a multimeter to check the voltage but that is not a guaranteed indicator. If the car is not driven for several days at a time the best bet is to use a battery minder as your dealer suggested. Battery Tender is a popular brand, typically sells for around $50. There are others but just don't get a cheap battery charger as they can do more harm than good.

I have a second car that only gets driven about every two weeks. I use a Battery Tender, however I don't keep it on the tender all the time, I connect it about once a week just long enough to charge to full. Two reasons - the length of time to charge gives me an idea how much capacity the battery lost (and which helps me know how often to charge it), and also with any battery minder there is a slight risk of corrosion damage to the car if it is left connected all the time, which can occur if the battery minder is defective. People will tell you they leave theirs connected all the time with no problem, again it's a small risk but it is not a zero risk especially as a battery minder ages.
 

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Another good investment is a portable jump starter, the newer lithium ones are small enough to fit in the glovebox. They are also much safer than jumper cables. You can go with a less expensive low powered one because it usually doesn't take much power to jump start the Clarity (or any hybrid) because all that is needed is enough juice to power up the 12V electrical system. The 12V battery doesn't crank the engine, that is done by the HV battery. And once you get it into READY mode the HV battery will start recharging the 12V battery, which it will do whether you are driving or just sitting parked.

Note that if you live in a very cold climate you may want to get a slightly more powerful portable jump start battery, because assuming you keep the jump start battery in the car it will get cold and become less effective.
 

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There are not any good DIY methods to check a 12V battery condition. Some people connect a multimeter to check the voltage but that is not a guaranteed indicator. If the car is not driven for several days at a time the best bet is to use a battery minder as your dealer suggested. Battery Tender is a popular brand, typically sells for around $50. There are others but just don't get a cheap battery charger as they can do more harm than good.

I have a second car that only gets driven about every two weeks. I use a Battery Tender, however I don't keep it on the tender all the time, I connect it about once a week just long enough to charge to full. Two reasons - the length of time to charge gives me an idea how much capacity the battery lost (and which helps me know how often to charge it), and also with any battery minder there is a slight risk of corrosion damage to the car if it is left connected all the time, which can occur if the battery minder is defective. People will tell you they leave theirs connected all the time with no problem, again it's a small risk but it is not a zero risk especially as a battery minder ages.
 

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Than you for your information.I hope Honda monitors these posts and adds some way to keep better tabs of important systems In the car.
 

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Than you for your information.I hope Honda monitors these posts and adds some way to keep better tabs of important systems In the car.
Unlikely. Idiot lights replaced gauges decades ago (except on some enthusiast/performance models) and I don't see that trend reversing

The MM with no published schedule means that Honda is continuing to push for less information to the owner.
 
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