Friday, July 25, 2014

How many types of tow trucks are there?

A flatbed tow truck consists of a cab (the portion of the truck one drives) with a flatbed on the back of it, which can be inclined to ground level using hydraulics. The vehicle to be towed can then drive up onto the flatbed itself, or winched up.

An integrated truck, or self loader, consists of a boom and wheel-lift in the same unit. A boom is a piece of equipment, actually an adjustable boom winch, which enables the truck to winch up vehicles from a ditch, or anywhere where it is impracticable to back the truck all the way up to be adjacent to the vehicle.

A hook and chain, consists of chains which are looped around the frame of the vehicle or its axle. It is then lifted up using a boom winch. Typically these are used only to tow vehicles that have been involved in accidents, as the chains can cause damage to the car. In additional, these are bad for all-wheel drive vehicles, because towing it in such a way will harm the drive train.

The wheel lift is a more sophisticated version of the hook and chain. The driver of the truck need only fit a large metal yoke beneath the front tires (if it is a front wheel drive) or back tires (if it is a rear wheel drive) of a car, and the pneumatic (air) or hydraulic (liquid) hoist lifts the opposite end of the car or truck into the air.

This article is sponsored by Fife Towing, a Seattle towing company.

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