Take a moment to learn about the different types of tow trucks with a brief description and image of each. As well as some of their uses and videos of tow trucks in action.

Types of Tow Trucks

Vehicles tend to break down and when they do, you’re going to need a specific type of truck to help out. That’s where these types of trucks come into play. Here are the 4 different kinds of tow trucks and what they are used for.

Flatbed Tow Trucks

flatbed tow truck

These tow truck types are also known as “slide” or a “rollback” trucks. Flatbed tow trucks are the most common kind of tow truck used to tow vehicles.

They are so-called because flatbed trucks have a long empty bed with a flat top. The flatbed moves up and down through the use of hydraulics.

Types of Tow Trucks - Explanation + Visual Guide 1

You simply need to drive your vehicle onto the flatbed or have it pulled on if it cannot be driven. It’s one of the safest and most convenient ways to tow a vehicle.

Flatbed tow trucks in action.

Wheel-lift Tow Trucks

types of tow trucks
Wheel lift tow truck in action.

These types of towing equipment have a metal yoke that attaches to a vehicle in order to tow it. They work like hook and chain tow trucks but cause less damage to the vehicle.

The yoke on a wheel-lift tow truck attaches to the underneath of the vehicle’s drive wheels. It can be the front or back depending on the vehicle. For example, front-wheel drive vehicles are pulled by their entrance wheels.

After, a hydraulic or pneumatic hoist hoists the vehicle into the air to be towed. These types of tow trucks, though they do not offer the safety or convenience of a flatbed, are relatively inexpensive compared to the others.

Hook and Chain Tow Trucks

Hook and Chain Tow Truck

Hook and chain tow trucks are not widely used anymore because they are known to cause damage to the vehicle that is being towed.

These types of tow trucks use a hook and a chain to tow a vehicle. Normally, the hook attaches to the bumper or axle of the vehicle which is then pulled using the chain.

The chains can scratch your vehicle in transit and the hook can damage the bumper or axle due to increased pressure.

Integrated Tow Trucks

integrated tow truck

These types of tow trucks are specialized types. This is because we use integrated tow trucks for heavy-duty operations. For example, they are used to transport buses and other rigs. Integrated tow trucks have extra axles and the arm is much more stabilized for added strength.

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