Why I love Arctic Claw snow tires and Big O Tires

On Christmas night our family left Vickey’s parent’s place in Holladay in a pretty heavy snow storm. I thought we could make the 20 minute drive back home in 30-40 minutes, depending on how heavy the snow was on the freeway.

The trip took almost 90 minutes because the freeway was a mess and there was plenty of traffic.

As we drove east up the mountains on 500 South in Bountiful Vickey voiced her concern that the Honda Odyssey van wouldn’t make it up the hill. After all, she had experienced that several times while picking Eliana up from school in afternoon snow storms. I hadn’t experienced it and thought she needed a lesson in winter driving.

Until Christmas night.

We only made it three-quarters of the way up 500 South before the van would no longer go forward. It decided to just go sideways into the gutter and a foot of snow. I was annoyed, to say the least. I could not for the life of me, or all my winter driving experience, get the van to go forward.

Our family was in the van, the kids asleep, the dog in the back and we had our share of freshly unwrapped Christmas presents. And we couldn’t drive up the hill to get home!

After many efforts to just get up to the next street, I ended up turning around and parking in a dentist’s parking lot near the base of the hill on 500 South.

Luckily for us we have kind neighbors who sent a friend in a four-wheel drive Honda Pilot to pick me up. And we weren’t the only ones who were stuck. My friend’s friend ended up picking up two others from the same parking lot and driving them up the hill with me.

I got in our Toyota Tundra — a great four-wheel drive vehicle — and drove down the hill, picked up the family, put the dog in the back (yes it was still snowing; but there was no room in the cab with us and all our stuff), and headed up the hill.

We did fine until after passing Eliana’s elementary school we got behind a car that was having difficulty making it up the un-plowed road. We had to stop, which ended our momentum. I had to turn around again, do a u-turn in the school parking lot, then head up the hill.

Finally, we were home.

So why do I share this story?

Well, after this experience and then talking with my sister in Vermont on New Year’s Day, I decided we had to get snow tires on our van.

Angie, my sister, told me that most of her friends drove mini-vans and they did fine as long as they had snow tires on them.

The next day I was at Big O Tires in Bountiful getting Arctic Claw tires installed on the van. They recommended those tires for my vehicle and took care of me within an hour or so. They did a great job!

That very night we were out to dinner with my parents and brother and his family and came out of the restaurant to a snow storm just like the one we drove home in on Christmas night.

After testing the new snow tires in very similar circumstances to what we experienced on Christmas night, I have to say I’m very impressed. The Odyssey made it all the way to our home without the tires ever slipping on the road.

Thanks to Big O and Arctic Claw tires. And thanks to Angie who provided the personal witness to the value of snow tires.

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4 Responses to “Why I love Arctic Claw snow tires and Big O Tires”

  1. Kevin May 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    I have Arctic Claws on my Bronco (studded) and my wifes station wagon (undstudded). We had a tonne of snow here this year and they were great in everything we threw them at. I even feel they outperformed the Blizzaks we used previously. Great snow tire as far as we are concerned.

  2. Karen April 1, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    I put Arctic Claw tires on my van in Wyoming and found them to be the worst snow tires I have ever had. I could not stop at stop signs or stop lights when going only 10mph. When I finally slid to a stop in the middle of the intersections I could not get going again, just spun out.

    I had my tires put on at Big O. They offered a free alignment check with the purchase of 2 or more tires but..they did not have time to do the check that day. They did tell me I needed new shocks/struts and would be happy to put those on for me. I said I don't think so..I just had new ones put on 3 months ago. Oh, they said. Well, your mileage on your van shows you need new ones. So you never actually checked them? No, just going by mileage. They never asked how long it had been since I had new ones put on and they never actually checked the struts. So beware on that account. After leaving I noticed a shimmy in my front end. I returned to Big O on 3 different mornings but they never had the time to look at my van. My husband got a work contract in Texas and we had to leave town.

    Once in Texas the shimmy got worse and worse. I took it to a shop here and was told 2 of my new tires were "out of round" and unsafe to drive. Basically, they need to be replaced. I was told the other two tires have flat spots in them. We called back to Wyoming because our tires are under warranty. They told us to have the tires rotated and rebalanced ($50 at our expense)- that should fix the problem. It did not. They want me to drive the van back to Wyoming so they can see the tires for themselves. No, I am not driving this van with unsafe tires on a 4 day trip back to Wyoming. They then tell me to drive it to Houston, the closest dealer to me. No, that is an 8 hour drive from here and again not a safe distance to drive on these tires.

    They wanted us to buy 2 tires here at our expense to put on the van so we can drive safely to thier store in Wyoming or Houston. No, I don't think so. I am not going out of pocket for two more tires I don't need. What am I supposed to do with them after they replace the tires under warranty? And who is going to pay the gas and motel bills for me to drive to Houston and back?

    We have been going round and round on the phone. Finally, the owner of the store called and said he would send us two new tires but it will take at least a week. We will have to pay (at our own expense again) to have them mounted and balanced.

    I am not happy with Arctic Claw tires in any way. If I could afford it I would take all four of them off and replace with real tires.

  3. Dave January 30, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    I had a similar experience up here in Maine. I was driving for so long on regular tires in my '02 Hyundai Accent…just barely making it around in the snow and ice. I finally decided to take everyone's suggestion and get snow tires. I chose the Arctic Claw tires, and what a great investment it was. I couldn't believe the difference– I have never had that much control over that little car in bad weather. Thanks for sharing your story!

    -Dave

  4. Bruce McIntire January 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

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