Tow Trucks and Their Types


Can you imagine the scenarios in which you might need a tow truck or a towing truck? If, on one late night your car broke down on a secluded highway what would you do? You can call your father, wife, or husband to give you a lift to your home but what about your poor car? You need someone to either fix it or carry it to your home or the nearest repair garage. Local towing services have an array of tow trucks or towing vehicles and manpower at their disposal to rescue your vehicle from any given location.

What kind of situations initiates the need for a tow truck?

Mostly, road accidents render vehicles inoperative. Heavy impacts like these damage vital components like engines or transmission parts. Apart from road accidents, a car can break down in the middle of the road due to other issues. Here is a list of unfortunate events due to which you might need a tow truck to rescue your vehicle:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Bumping into a structure
  • Empty gas tank
  • Overheated engine
  • Tire puncture
  • When your car gets stuck in snow or mud
  • Forgetting your keys inside the car

How many types of tow trucks exist?

As there are more than one viable situations in which you might be needing a tow truck, there is more than one kind of tow truck you can avail. The following list contains the 5 most common tow trucks used today:

1. Flatbed tow trucks

The flatbed tow truck does not look like the usual tow truck you are picturing in your mind. They have a large flatbed to completely carry a vehicle. The flatbed slides out and aligns with the ground to allow the car to be loaded on the flatbed. Next, the flatbed is loaded onto the truck. The back of the flatbed truck is operated by hydraulics and most likely there are weight limits.

Flatbed trucks are useful when two sets of tires are punctured and the vehicle is rendered immovable.

2. Hook and chain tow trucks

Hook and chain trucks are the most popular kind of towing truck on the loose. A short crane-like structure is fastened to a hook, this hook is secured to the axle of the vehicle-to-be-towed. After locking the hook, the crane is rolled up which partially lifts the car leaving two wheels on the ground.

3. Wheel lift tow trucks

The basic construction of a wheel lift tow truck is pretty similar to that of the hook and chain truck. Instead, no chains are involved in the rescuing operation by a wheel lift truck. These trucks use a ‘yoke’ that is attached to the axle of the rescued vehicle. When in rescuing mode, the truck looks exactly the same as hook and chain trucks. The advantage of these trucks is that the bumper or axle does not get damaged.

4. Integrated tow trucks

Integrated tow trucks are large heavy-duty tow trucks that are used to tow large vehicles. These trucks have enough capability to tow large trucks and buses. They have an extra axle which grants them the extra power. An integrated tow truck can easily rescue large, heavy vehicles out of troublesome situations. The ‘arm’ is located in the center of the integrated tow truck which allows it to pull greater loads. Four-wheelers and SUVs don’t need an integrated tow truck for rescue.

5. Boom trucks Boom trucks have a large heavy-duty hydraulic arm attached to them which allows them to completely lift a vehicle from the ground up and place it on the flat carriage. Boom trucks look like a miniature version of a crane. These trucks are also used for other purposes except for a towing vehicle. Boom trucks nowadays have an additional belt that grants more stability to the towed vehicle and counts for lesser damage. But anyway, it is not a good choice for pulling an all-wheel-drive vehicle as it can damage their wheels.

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