Your car can break down when you least expect it. It doesn’t matter if it happens in a parking lot, on the road, or in your own garage. When this trying time comes, most of us have no other choice but to hire the nearest towing service so your vehicle can be transported to an auto repair shop. Now, not all types of tow trucks are created equal. There are 4 basic types of tow trucks, all designed differently and used for towing different types of vehicles and towing purposes.
They each offer a specific set of benefits, and when you find yourself in a bind you have no other choice but to call towing services, you must be able to determine which one best suits your needs.
Here we have 4 basic types of tow trucks and what they are each designed for:
Flatbed Tow Trucks
Perhaps the most common and widespread type of towing vehicles – a flatbed tow truck – has a long empty bed with a flat top, with hydraulics systems used for moving the flatbed upwards and downwards. These vehicles are quite easy to use since you can simply drive your vehicle up the ramp, or have it pulled up. They are also rather helpful when it comes to transporting vehicles which have had a roadside problem or have been involved in an accident.
Flatbed tow trucks are used to transport a wide variety of vehicles (even boats), and the best part is – these bad boys are among the safest in the business!
Integrated Tow Truck
Unlike flatbed towing vehicles, integrated tow trucks are much more specialized and are typically used for heavy-duty towing purposes. These trucks are usually used to transport other rigs or buses as they have extra axles for added stability and strength, with “arms” that are much more embedded in the core of the towing vehicle.
Hook and Chain Tow Trucks
Hook and chain tow trucks are very versatile and are used to transport various types of cargo that is difficult to handle. These trucks are less common today, though. A huge amount of pressure is being applied to the towed vehicles via this towing method, which is why most towing services avoid using these vehicles.
Also, if the chain gets wrapped, it can damage or scratch the towed vehicle, thus it is recommended that you use a hook and chain tow truck mostly for transporting wrecked and damaged cars. Another downside of this option is that it cannot be used on all-wheel and 4×4 drives as it can severely damage the drivetrain.
So, if you find yourself in need of towing services for a vehicle that is wrecked, the hook and chain tow trucks are perhaps the best choice for you. When your car is already totaled and wrecked, some additional damage to its bumper, for example, isn’t that big of a deal.
Wheel-Lift Tow Truck
Wheel-lift tow trucks have a mechanism similar to the hook and chain tow trucks, but the main difference is that they use a metal yoke instead of chains. This way they cause far less damage to the towed vehicle.
Here’s how wheel-lift tow truck work:
- The metal yoke is hooked under the rear or front wheels.
- A pneumatic hoist or hydraulic lift suspends the rear or front side of the vehicle in order to lift it from the ground and pull it away.
- Front wheel drive vehicles are pulled by their entrance wheels.
Although this option is not as safe or protected as flatbed tow trucks, these tow truck are less expensive.