Types of Tow Trucks

And What They’re Good For

Vehicles break down. Tow trucks are there to get us to safety when that happens. But did you know that there are four kinds of tow trucks? Not all of them may be suitable to transport your vehicle! Be sure to familiarize yourself so you understand which kind you might need in the event of a breakdown.

Flatbed Tow Trucks

One of the most common types of tow trucks is a flatbed. You’ve likely seen one of these driving around town, transporting vehicles that have broken down or been in an accident. They have a long flat bed in the back for a vehicle to sit on, that lowers like a ramp to pull or drive the vehicle on. Because flatbeds hold and transport vehicles entirely on the bed, they are the safest towing option.

Integrated Tow Trucks

If you’ve ever watched shows about heavy rescue in icy areas, you’ve seen an integrated tow truck. These vehicles are designed for heavy-duty purposes, like pulling big rigs out of snow banks or transporting broken down buses. With added axles for strength and stability, integrated tow trucks are able to tow larger loads. They might also be equipped with longer arms to reach off the road without losing stability from the center of the truck. This can be useful in removing cars that have crashed off road.

Hook and Chain Tow Trucks

Hook and chain tow trucks were once widely used, but now are not as common due to their weaknesses. These tow trucks can cause damage to the vehicles they transport, which is a concern for anything that hasn’t been totalled in an accident and is on its way to the junkyard. They can’t be used on all-wheel drive vehicles since they would damage the drivetrain.

Wheel-Lift Tow Trucks

In place of hook and chain tow trucks, you’ll likely seen wheel-lift trucks transporting cars around town. While the mechanism of these trucks is similar to the hook and chain, it’s much safer for the vehicle being towed. A metal yoke is hooked under the rear or front wheels. Hydraulics lift the wheels so it can be safely pulled away. While they aren’t as great as flatbed trucks because the car is still pulled on its own wheels, they are a good option for easy tows around town, like removing illegally parked vehicles.

Need a tow in Brookfield, Wisconsin? Call Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers!

Written by Megan Rademan

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