Travelstar tires are made by Unicorn Tire Corporation and have built a solid reputation for affordable and durable tires for a variety of vehicles.
After a tire shopping experience, you’ll be well acquainted with the brand Travelstar. Its products have become ubiquitous, and you may be wondering the reason for their popularity.
Who makes Travelstar tires? How well are they made? Who owns the brand? These questions have surrounded this brand for far too long, with no clear and concise answers. The purpose of this article is to provide accurate information on Travelstar tires and the company that makes them.
What Are Travelstar Tires?
For the uninitiated, Travelstar tires are a brand of tires that have recently become popular in the United States and neighboring countries.
The tires have had mixed reactions from people; some love the combination of affordability and price, while others prefer to pay a higher premium price for better durability.
The tires from Travelstar come in an array of sizes and types. These naturally correlate to the different sorts of vehicles the brand caters to, including passenger cars, SUVs, light truck tires, trailer tires and more.
Each product has a suitable tire ratio rim and will please most people. Performance in extreme weather varies, and if you want to use your vehicle in such conditions, then specialty tires are recommended.
Why Have Travelstar Tires Become So Popular?
To understand the popularity behind these tires, one must understand their intended target market. Anything vehicle related always comes at a cost—whether you’re servicing your car or replacing a broken part. Car insurance normally doesn’t cover replacement or repair costs unless you’ve been involved in an accident.
Premium tires, like those from Goodyear or Michelin, are great tires—these brands manufacture tires used in Formula One and Nascar—but come at a premium cost.
A brand new tire from these companies could easily cost over 200 dollars, that’s over 800 dollars for all four wheels. For some people, this price is simply too high, and they are looking for a cheaper alternative.
For less than 100 dollars, you can get a Travelstar tire. This means you can get four wheels and a spare for less than the cost of two tires from the previously mentioned premium brands.
With such a stark price difference, one must wonder if the tires are any good. And if they are, how are they so cheap in comparison to their more expensive and more reputable competitors?
From tire reviews across the country, Travelstar tires have garnered a decent reputation for being great value products. People who pay a non-premium price on products aren’t expecting an exceptional performance, but that doesn’t mean the tires shouldn’t offer a decent amount of durability.
These attributes of the tires will be discussed later on, but hopefully, you’ve now understood the frenzy behind this relatively new brand of tires.
Who Manufactures Travelstar Tires?
The tires are made by Unicorn Tire Corporation. This company was established in 2007 and has been responsible for making decent quality tires more accessible.
Despite the name “Travelstar” becoming a household name, nobody knows much about the parent company responsible for this brand. You don’t see many ads involving the company name and you’re unlikely to do so.
Unicorn Tire Corporation is based in Memphis, Tennessee. It considers itself more as a supplier of tires and not a manufacturer. You’re unlikely to find a tire factory with the name, “Unicorn Tire Corporation.”
Unicorn Tire Corporation specializes in the import, export and wholesale of tires by working with the best and most reputable manufacturing and testing facilities. This allows them to deliver a quality product at competitive pricing. Their business model ensures they make substantial profits while ensuring their customers don’t pay a premium price.
Many such corporations exist today. Their main goal is to efficiently use resources and take advantage of a more globalized world.
This may seem very easy at first glance—as the alternative is having a vertically integrated business with its own factory and stores—but the administrative skills needed to set up an efficient business model like this are hard to come by.
How Does Unicorn Tire Corporation Work?
Manufacturing is exported, but everything else is done in the United States. Customer service is available in the country, and the ability to order in bulk, especially for companies with a large fleet of vehicles, is a very compelling service this company offers.
Because of how this tire corp is organized, it can offer a variety of products. You can find wheels for virtually any vehicle. Light truck, SUV, UHP, CUV and passenger vehicle tires are all offered by Unicorn Tire Corporation. But more importantly, you’re spoiled for choice because of the range of branded tires offered by the company.
Not only is Travelstar Tire a successful brand of Unicorn Tire Corporation, but other less popular brands have enjoyed relative growth in the country. Hifley and Sunfull are two other brands of tires offered by Unicorn Tire Corporation. They are also competitively priced, and some models may offer better quality and performance than Travelstar.
How Does Such a Business Model Affect Me as a Potential Customer?
There are both disadvantages and advantages to the model from Unicorn Tire Corporation. Yes, having your own factories ensures better quality control. But commissioning the construction of large factories comes with huge financial risks and Unicorn Tire Corporation have found a way around it.
The only way such companies can recuperate from their initial investment is by charging a premium price on their tires. And with a premium price, these companies have to ensure their tires are better than the industry standard.
So they are made a little better, last a little longer and handle much better than most of the tires you can find from Unicorn Tire Corporation. But despite this added quality, a markup price of two times or more isn’t very convincing to non-car enthusiasts on the value offered.
In addition to getting a return-on-investment from manufacturing and product development, premium tire brands also need to recuperate marketing costs. Marketing is a huge part of premium tire brands’ annual budgets.
Think of all the races sponsored by Goodyear or Michelin. Or the Michelin stars awarded to the best restaurants. You’ll hardly notice a Unicorn tire brand anywhere, and this has helped Unicorn Tire Corporation reduce the cost of the retail price.
Most drivers aren’t going to notice the difference between good or bad tire handling and grip. Others are simply offended by the upfront cost of paying over 200 dollars for one tire.
This group of people, short on cash but looking for acceptable quality and high performance, are most of us: regular people who drive ordinary cars. It is for this particular target market that Unicorn Tire Corporation has achieved its outstanding reputation.
Since manufacturing is outsourced—so is testing and product development—it is able to deliver decent quality products at an extremely affordable price. Even used Michelin or Goodyear tires aren’t as cheap as a brand new tire from Unicorn Tire Corporation.
Where Are Unicorn Tires Made?
Tires by Travelstar are, unsurprisingly, made in China. Before you immediately assume that all products made in China are bad quality, look at the back of your iPhone or iPad. It states: “Designed in California. Assembled in China.”
The economic benefits of exporting a company’s manufacturing department are numerous, and anybody who fails to identify them hasn’t empathized with business owners.
Raw Materials and Labor
Raw materials are marginally cheaper in China than they are in the United States. The difference is simply the cost of labor. Labor is the highest cost in most production chains. Producing a Unicorn tire in western countries would not be a wise financial decision.
In America and Europe, where minimum wage laws are strict and reliable, paying a factory worker a relatively high salary for a low-skilled job that can be done elsewhere for a fraction of the salary is hard to justify.
China offers the cheapest labor you can find in the world. This doesn’t mean the products are poorly constructed or the materials used aren’t at an international standard. When compared to the premium tire brands in the world, it’s easy to see why Travelstar tires, and others by Unicorn Tire Corporation, are relatively cheap.
Michelin has some factories in countries like France, Italy and the United States. These countries don’t only contain reputable industries but have a relatively high cost of living. This means the salaries paid to the workers must be higher than third-world countries, and consequently, the cost production is much higher. This, ultimately, makes a Michelin tire more expensive than a Unicorn tire.
Testing and Technology
Labor costs aren’t the only thing covered by the enormous cost of premium tires. The reality is that first-world nations have better human capital and conditions to attract human capital. We talked earlier about the impressive handling in Goodyear or Michelin tires. This isn’t a result of luck or divine intervention, but genuine genius that comes when the world’s smartest minds collaborate.
The research and attention to detail that goes into such tires make such products enviable. These tires go through extensive testing and are made from novel materials that ensure they perform optimally in all conditions. The technology in these tires can be considered proprietary, and such companies have a long list of patents to protect this technology.
Unicorn Tire Corporation works with a variety of factories and testing centers to carry out their own tests and provide safe and decent quality tires. The tires aren’t going to have proprietary technology—Chinese companies rarely do—and are most likely using technology from other tire manufacturers whose intellectual property protection has expired.
What Tire Brands Are Made in China?
Almost all of the big tire brands have several production plants in China, including:
Unicorn Tire Corporation has introduced three brands whose products are manufactured in China since its establishment in 2007. These brands are Travelstar, Sunfull and Hifley. Each brand offers similar quality tires and also serves similar customer segments. They all feature trailer tires, terrain tires, light truck tires and so forth.
Is Travelstar a Good Tire?
This is the big question most people are trying to answer. The best response to this question doesn’t include a simple yes or no. The complexity of this question makes it impossible to simply give an objective answer. There are many considerations one must make first, related to budget, car type and how the vehicle is used.
To avoid ambiguity, the best response we can offer you is: A Unicorn tire will never be the best tire on the market, but could be the most suitable depending on who you are. This should introduce the idea of how quality has a different meaning from one person to another. And only you can decipher if a Travelstar tire is right for you.
In a perfect world, everybody would buy premium tires from Continental, Goodyear and the like. But the economic problem is too many wants and not enough resources to satisfy these desires. As such, the “ideal world” doesn’t exist, and we must make do with alternatives. The alternative to premium tires is a Unicorn tire, namely a Travel star tire—it’s safe, reliable and does the job you need it to do.
If you can’t afford the premium price, there’s so much value for money you can get from a Unicorn tire. Again, most people won’t notice the difference and paying an inflated price for unrecognizable quality isn’t a good idea for most. But there are people who have to choose a premium option where any brand of Unicorn tire isn’t suitable.
When Would I Need a Premium Tire?
The first type is the racers. If you use your car for drag racing weekends or similar, you need premium tires. Tire grip is essential to you, and the premium brands have this high performance as an attribute. If you attempt racing with Travelstar tires, you may not perform as well, or you’ll wear your tires quickly.
Genuine off-roaders need a premium tire too. Travelstar offers SUV tires, which are good but aren’t the best for off-road use. Harsh terrains are difficult drives, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to have high-performance gear—robust tires for example. These will ensure you survive the bumps in the road with little to no chance of a tire puncture.
If you aren’t in these customer segments and don’t have the budget for a premium tire, then any Unicorn tire, especially a Travelstar tire, is a suitable choice. But you must understand the compromises you’ll be making.
First is the durability. Premium tires are made with better materials that last longer and ensure you can last up to 10 years with the same set of tires. A Unicorn tire can’t offer you this high performance and robustness.
Second is the tendency for tire punctures. Premium rubber is stronger and is unlikely to be easily punctured. Travelstar, again, can’t offer this level of performance. This doesn’t mean you’ll get punctures all the time—especially if you live in areas with good roads. You’ll get decent performance from your tires, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you have to change them sooner than you thought.
How to Choose a Good Tire
There are three main considerations you should make when choosing a tire. These are:
- Weather conditions.
- Road type.
- Driving preference.
Simple thermodynamics—which you should’ve mastered in high school—tells us that materials behave differently at varied temperatures. There is a slight compression or expansion, depending on whether it’s hot or cold. This also applies to the rubber most tires are made from. Understand the climate of where you live and use the guide below to determine which tires are best.
Relatively Warm Climate
If you never experience snow and there’s sun all year round, then you live in a relatively warm climate. California and Texas are examples of areas with relatively warm climates. All-season tires are a good purchase option. Summer tires are a great choice too—these can handle the scorching heat of the tarmac.
These are climates where the seasons are easily distinguishable, like Ohio. You experience relatively warm summers and snow during the winter. Your conditions vary, and only getting one-season tires isn’t a great method of ensuring your safety and those of fellow drivers. Frozen roads in winter are remarkably more slippery, and better grip is needed.
The best solution is to get two sets of tires. One summer set and another for the winter. An alternative is to get one set of all-season tires. These offer the best of both worlds but are more expensive, considering their high performance.
Seasonal Climates With Harsh Winters
All-season tires don’t offer enough protection in harsh winters. They contain insufficient grip for extreme weather. This is why you should get a set of all-season tires and a set of winter tires. Areas like Minnesota and Wisconsin have relatively harsh winters compared to other states.
If you’re in the city, you’ll need a different set of tires compared to frequently driving on highways. These conditions should alter your decision on the type of tires to get.
You aren’t going to be exceeding 60 miles per hour in the city. Normally, you’ll be in traffic surrounded by pedestrians and cyclists—most of your driving will involve a great deal of short-distance driving and then stopping. There are tires made for this sort of driving and you should consider them when purchasing a new set of tires.
You want tires that have a short braking distance in all weather conditions. It must have considerable durability, because driving and immediately braking strains the rubber on the tires and increases the chances of damage. And you’ll most likely start seeing tire tread wear on the edges if your set isn’t robust to handle such use.
Low rolling resistance is important in ensuring your vehicle maintains a low fuel economy. It’s simple physics: the more resistance, the more energy needed to overcome that resistance. This causes an increase in fuel demand and will have your car consuming more fuel than you expected. Low rolling resistance tires equal lower carbon emissions.
These are the road conditions car enthusiasts love. If you have a scenic highway and are lucky enough to own a fast car, you’ll probably be captivated by the thoughts of long quiet drives. In such cases, the tires you choose should provide comfort, stability and safety to your drive.
In terms of safety, you want tires that can brake well at high speeds. Imagine traveling at 70 miles per hour, and an animal randomly walks into the road. Such cases require emergency brakes, and if your tires can’t brake well at high speeds, then you’re at risk of getting into an accident.
Because of the extensive research done on premium tire models, they are better suited to stopping at higher speeds than any Unicorn tire, even the reputable ones from Travelstar.
Road noise can become irritating, and the tires that constantly emit road noise should never be considered on long trips. Choose a tire that limits this and any additional vibrations for better comfort.
Off-road traction and a decent standard of robustness are must-haves for off-road driving. Large SUV tires usually have these features but ensure your choice has been tested and approved before purchasing them.
There are two types of drivers: the ones that prefer a silent and smooth drive and those that enjoy the invigorating feeling of each curve. Depending on your type, some tires are better suited to your preferences than others.
Comfortable drivers should search for tires that emphasize smooth, vibrationless driving. These usually have a very low speed rating, and you’ll be advised not to exceed a certain speed limit. The other type should look for tires that have great handling and precision.
What Are the Best Travelstar Tires To Get?
Despite the wide range of Unicorn Tire Corporation products on offer, we’ll only be taking a look at those offered by the Travelstar brand. As you have probably discovered by now, different drivers have different needs. So we’ve chosen different driver categories, and we’ll recommend the best tire in that category.
UN99 — Best All-Season Tires for Passenger Vehicles
- Top M+S rated Unicorn Tire for outstanding all-season performance.
- Very quiet. Uses a novel pitch design to eliminate excess noise.
- Has remarkable handling compared to similarly priced tires.
HF188 — Best Trailer Tires
- Robust and durable under incredibly heavy loads.
- Includes an innovative bruise resistance feature from Unicorn Tire Corporation.
- Intentionally designed to ensure better comfort when driving with a trailer.
- High performance in both wet and dry conditions.
UN106 — Best Whitewall Tires
- M+S rated for outstanding all-season performance.
- Four grooves that help with evacuating water in wet conditions.
- Quiet and smooth ride.
- Includes a narrow white stripe that is available in two sizes.
- The most popular whitewall tire from Unicorn Tire Corporation.
Ecopath AT — Best Off-Road Tires
- Less chance of tread wear. Good durability for a Unicorn tire.
- Remarkable braking in both wet and dry conditions.
- Impressive off-road traction. Compares well to premium-priced tire models.
- Solid grip in wet and slippery conditions.
Where Can I Buy Travelstar Tires?
A Travelstar tire, or any Unicorn tire, can be bought from the Unicorn Tire Corporation website. It isn’t the most user friendly website on the market, but if you don’t mind the poor graphics you’ll get used to the website quite quickly. There are also tire retailers online and in stores that sell a variety of tires, including Travelstar tires.
The best tip for buying tires, especially if you’re new to the task of purchasing your own tires, is to physically do it at a shop. The store employees will always have handy tips and tricks for you and will (in most cases) ensure you get the best deal you can.
How Much Should I Expect to Pay for Travelstar Tires?
As with most tires from Unicorn Tire Corporation, Travelstar tires range from 70 dollars to 250 dollars, depending on the type and quality. A passenger vehicle tire will be much cheaper than an all-terrain tire. The latter naturally contains more features and is usually much bigger, so the price difference isn’t much of a surprise.
Never buy a second-hand Unicorn tire. Second-hand tires are, in general, not recommended, but they could be acceptable depending on the brand. It’s rare to find a good quality second-hand Unicorn Tire on the market and these sort of products must be avoided.
The combination of words travel, star, tires and unicorn has become very popular, without many people knowing why. From this extensive, informative article on Travelstar, we hope you’re more educated on the topic of tires and how intriguing the business involving it is.
You’ve surely had enough information to make an objective decision on whether a Unicorn tire, especially the Travelstar one, is a good choice for you or not.