A tow truck is used to move disabled, improperly parked, impounded, or otherwise indisposed motor vehicles. This may involve recovering a vehicle damaged in an accident, returning one to a drivable surface in a mishap or inclement weather, or towing or transporting one via flatbed to a repair shop or other location.
In this article you will learn about all the different types of truck towing and understand when they will be used for different vehicles.
Towing can be done due to improper parking of vehicles, car accidents and breakdowns, heavy-duty jobs, transportation, and industrial uses in big companies. There are different types of truck towing services which usually depend on the size of the vehicle being towed; they include;
This is a type of commercial towing in which a truck tows one or more vehicles using either a fixed, telescopic, or articulating, with the assistance of a boom. It uses an adjustable boom with a winch to recover vehicles from a ditch, over a barrier, or any place the vehicle cannot be safely reached by backing up.
Some booms are fixed; some use heavy pivoting A-frames; others are equipped with hydraulic-powered telescoping tubes. The heaviest booms can rotate, effectively turning the tow truck into a sort of mobile crane, called a rotator, and are usually reserved for incidents involving heavy vehicles.
In the past, boom trucks used a hook and chain system where chains were looped around the vehicle frame or axle, then lifted by a boom winch. A tow bar with heavy rubberized mats connects the truck and vehicle to be towed on its other axle.
Slings and belt lifts are a further development, with rubber straps replacing part of the chains. Slings are not used much today because they scratch the bumper. However, they are sometimes used for towing vehicles that have been in an accident or have one or two of the front or rear wheels missing or for pickup trucks and other vehicles with steel bumpers. Cars equipped with all-wheel drive cannot be towed with a sling, as it can cause problems with the car’s drive train.
Flatbed towing is a type of truck towing that uses a flatbed or pole dolly as the primary means of transporting a vehicle. The entire back of the truck is fitted with a bed that can be hydraulically inclined and slid back to ground level, allowing the vehicle to be placed on it under its power or pulled on by a winch since they rather carry than tow the vehicle. This gets used on completely immobile vehicles.
In most cases, they are used in carrying badly-damaged cars from crashes. Most flatbed-type vehicles are based on medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks to provide the chassis strength necessary to carry entire vehicles.
Wheel Lift Tow
A wheel lift tow truck is a commercial tow truck that extends the towing arm to one side and lifts the vehicle wheels off the ground. It was developed from the hook-and-chain technology to produce a large metal yoke that gets fitted under the front or rear wheels to cradle them, drawing the front or rear end of the vehicle clear of the ground by a hydraulic hoist so it can be towed.
This apparatus generally picks up the vehicle’s drive wheels, touching only the tires. Medium and heavy trucks use the under lift or chassis lift, which lifts the axle or frame instead of the wheels. Wheel-lift trucks can have adapters that can also lift the chassis.
It uses a wheel-lift frame to lift the vehicle vertically and load it on the bed. This type of truck can remove parallel-parked vehicles. An advantage of the flatbed is that it lessens the vehicle’s weight and the amount of damage caused by the tow truck; it also makes it possible to transport vehicles that would not normally fit in a flatbed. Towing can be done without ever getting in the car.
Integrated Tow Truck
Integrated tow trucks are a new breed of tow trucks that are re-engineered from the ground up. These trucks have a proprietary design that includes everything required to make them as safe, reliable, and efficient as possible. They are used in light-duty trucks to repossess vehicles or move illegally parked vehicles. Most have controls for the apparatus inside the tow truck’s cab to make quick pickup possible without the inconvenience of exiting the truck to hook up the vehicle.
Though similar to a wheel-lift truck, an integrated truck differs in that the end of its boom features movable arms that can move easily and quickly clamp onto the wheels of a vehicle, often controlled from the truck’s cabin. Heavy-duty trucks are also manufactured with integrated lifts used for vehicles with more weight.
In conclusion, all drivers should have a general understanding of the different types of tow trucks because you never know if you may end up in a situation where you need one. Chances are, you will pay for a specific type of truck, so you may as well get the one that will protect your car and deliver it to the next location safely.