A Guide to Different Types of Tow Trucks and When to Use Them

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flatbed tow truck

Are you trying to figure out the different types of tow trucks and when to use them? Read this article to get the help you need.

Do you own a towing service? Is there something you need to haul around? Trying to use a car or rental truck brings its own challenges.

A tow truck can solve your problems and make the work easier. Knowing the right types of tow trucks can save headaches.

Whether you’re in need of one or several trucks, use this guide to make the right choices. 

Hook and Chain

There was a time in America that everyone used a hook and chain tow truck to tow anything and everything. Their versatility makes them a prime option for people who have to haul a wide variety of cargo.

Hauling heavy objects long distances can do damage to hook and chain tow trucks. Use these trucks sparingly to preserve the vehicle.

If you’re hauling cars on flat roads, hook and chain tow trucks are the way to go.

Flatbed Tow Trucks

If you’ve ever had to call a tow truck for a broken-down vehicle, your insurance company probably dispatched a flatbed. These trucks have a long flatbed that you can lower and angle to load vehicles.

The benefit of a flatbed is that you can either drive a vehicle onto it or use a pulley system. After a vehicle is loaded onto a flatbed tow truck, the driver secures the vehicle to the truck to keep it from rolling. 

You don’t have to just tow automobiles with this truck. Many people use flatbeds to tow boats or large machinery.

Integrated Tow Trucks

Some circumstances need a tow truck that is specifically fitted for a heavy job. Have you ever wondered who semi-truck and construction drivers call for a tow?

Integrated tow trucks are designed to haul heavy motor vehicles.

The extra axels give the truck the hauling power to carry heavy equipment. The tow arm is integrated with the chassis to add additional stability.

Wheel-Lift Tow Trucks 

Lift wheel towing is ideal for small spaces like car garages or parallel-parked cars. The truck utilizes a hydraulic arm or boom and metal crossbars to tow a vehicle.

The towed automobile is raised by the crossbars and on two wheels. Wheel-lift tow trucks don’t have the same safety measures as flatbed tow trucks, but they are also more affordable.

Rotator Tow Truck

A rotator tow truck is used for different situations, but they’re commonly deployed to get heavy trucks out of ditches. The rotator or boom is essentially a big crane that can assist with traffic accidents.

Many rotator tow trucks have multiple towing functions. Some have the lift wheel towing crossbars and hook and chains in addition to the big rotator.

If a truck or car is missing its wheels, rotator tow trucks are often needed at the scene.

Knowing Different Types of Tow Trucks

Understanding when to use different types of tow trucks can help you decide what truck you need for your job. If you have a tow truck business, you’ll need different types to accomplish all the unknowns in the business.

Don’t use the wrong type of truck and run the risk of damaging your vehicle or the cargo. 

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