4 Types of Tow Trucks (and what they’re used for)

If you’re thinking about starting a tow truck business, you have chosen a great industry. As long as there are vehicles on the road, new tow trucks are needed, which means that the towing industry can be quite lucrative. However, in order to ensure your success, there are a number of factors that you are going to need to take into consideration before you open up shop.

Of all the things that you need to think about for your tow truck business, the type of equipment you are going to use is the most important. You want to make sure that you choose the right type of vehicle to get the job done as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.

It might seem like choosing a tow truck is a fairly simple process; after all, all tow trucks are designed to haul vehicles. However, in reality, trucks are actually designed to haul differently, so you want to choose a vehicle that will best suit the needs of you and your customers.

Here’s a look at four different types of tow trucks and their uses.

The Flatbed Tow Truck

Also known as the “rollback” or “slide” tow truck, new flatbed for sale are the most commonly used towing vehicles. They feature an empty, flat bed (hence the name) that is outfitted with hydraulics. The hydraulics allow the flatbed to move up and down, making them quite easy to use.

When it comes time for towing, the flatbed is lowered down to the ground and a vehicle is either driven or hauled onto it. Once the vehicle is on the bed and secured in place, the bed is lifted back up so that the truck can be driven.

Flatbeds are considered the safest used tow trucks for sale, as they cause minimal damage to the vehicles they haul and are so easy to use. Additionally, they can be used to transport all types of machinery, including cars, trucks, motorcycles and even boats.

The Hook and Chain Tow Truck

Hook and chain tow trucks are the oldest type of tow trucks. As the name suggests, they feature a hook and chain, which is used to lift and then drag the vehicle behind the truck. The hook is attached to the frame or axle of the vehicle that is being towed. The chains are lifted, raising the rear portion of the vehicle in tow so that it can be dragged behind the truck.

Though hook and chain tow trucks were once very popular, they aren’t as widely used as they used to be. That’s because they strain the vehicle that is being towed, which can cause significant damage. Nevertheless, these trucks are still useful in the towing industry, as they are inexpensive and can be used to haul junk cars away or rescue vehicles that are trapped in water, snow banks or thick mud.

The Wheel Lift Tow Truck

Wheel lift tow trucks are a lot like hook and chain trucks, as they essentially tow vehicles the same manner. However, instead of using chains, wheel lift tow trucks attach to disabled vehicles with a metal yoke. The yoke is hooked underneath either the front or rear wheels of the vehicle being rescued and hydraulic lift or a pneumatic hoist life the vehicle off the ground so that it can be hauled away.

Wheel lifts are more popular than hook and chain tow trucks because the cause less damage to the vehicle that is being towed and they can be used in similar applications. However, wheel lifts tend to be more expensive than their predecessors.

The Integrated Tow Truck

Also known as self-loading wreckers, integrated tow trucks are similar to hook and chain and wheel lift tow trucks, but they are more specialized. As the truck is backed up to a vehicle, a stinger – a long arm – extends out onto the ground behind the truck. The wheels of the vehicle that is going to be towed are secured to the flatbed with brackets, which only touch the tires of the other vehicle. Once secured in place, the arm is lifted and the vehicle is hauled away.

Integrated tow trucks cause far less damage to towed vehicles, as they only touch the tires. Also, they feature more axles, which provides better stability, and the arm is embedded deep in the truck, improving the strength and safety of the tow truck. These types of tow trucks are often used to haul other rigs or buses. They are also commonly used in the repossession business, as they operate quickly and cause minimal damage, if any.

If you want your tow truck business to be a success, you need to start out with the right type of vehicle. Which of these four tow trucks would work best for the type of towing you plan on doing? If you are going to be doing any heavy truck lifting, you need to look for a heavy duty tow truck for sale.