What Are the Different Types of Tow Trucks?

There will be a time when you need a tow truck. There are dozens of different reasons why, from moving heavy equipment to a car not starting.

Whatever your reason may be, you’re going to need the right tow truck for the job. Believe it or not, there are many different types of tow trucks. They have specific purposes and are great for certain jobs.

Do you want to know what the different types of tow trucks are and how you can make sure you get the right tow truck for the job?

Read on to find out!

A Brief History of Tow Trucks

When Henry Ford first produced the Model T in 1908, it caused a sensation. By 1916, there were over 3 million cars on the road.

It was inevitable that something would happen to these cars. They would break down or get driven off the road. To get a car to safety required a lot of physical manpower, ropes, blocks, and more equipment.

That is exhausting after a while!

Ernest Holmes, Sr. was a mechanic in Tennessee in 1916. He got a call to help someone get a Model T out of a creek. It took at least 6 men about 8 hours to get the car out. He wanted to avoid the same situation, so he did something about it.

He drew up plans to build the first tow-truck. He went on to build more types of tow trucks through his Homes Wrecker tow truck business.

Different Types of Tow Trucks

Tow trucks have evolved over the years, but the concept that was designed in 1916 remains the same. They’re great machines that allow you to transport vehicles and heavy equipment easily.

Let’s take a look at the many different types of tow trucks.

Flatbed Tow Trucks

Flatbed tow trucks have a large flatbed that slides back and tilts towards the ground, powered by a hydraulic system. The car is loaded and secured to the flatbed by a winch and the flatbed returns to its natural position.

This is a popular truck that’s used to keep cars off the ground and secured. This truck might be used to provide roadside assistance or to get a totaled car off the road.

Hook and Chain Tow Truck

This is the most popular tow truck. It’s similar to Ernest Holmes’ design in 1916. This is what you’re likely to think about when you’re looking for a towing company.

The hook and chain tow truck has a hook that is secured to the car’s axle or bumper. The chains go around the frame of the car. A boom lifts the tow truck off the ground into an area to keep the front wheels secure. The rear wheels are able to move, which makes the whole operation work.

These types of tow trucks aren’t used as often anymore. They can cause some damage to vehicles, especially to 4×4 vehicles. You’re more likely to see these trucks tow junk cars.  

Tow trucks might be in a situation where they need to pull a car out of a ditch or is stuck in the mud. A winch is a necessary part of a tow truck, as it allows tow truck operators to provide winch-out services.

These powerful winches provide the pull necessary to get the weight of the vehicle out of the situation.

Wheel Lift Tow Trucks

A wheel lift tow truck uses the same concept as the hook and chain truck. The difference here is that there isn’t a hook that attaches to the car.

Instead, a yoke is used. A yoke is a piece that’s attached to the back of the tow truck. It can be moved under the front wheels, where they rest and are secured in a similar way as on a hook and chain.

This type of operation works with the front or rear wheels, depending on the position of the vehicle and the best way to remove it from the spot.

Integrated Tow Trucks

These are the tow trucks that you want for big jobs. The difference here is that these trucks are designed a little differently to handle large loads. For example, they have more axels to handle more weight.

The arm of the truck is located in a more centralized position. That allows it to have a much more stable center of gravity to handle larger loads.

Oversized Towing

There are some tow trucks that can handle just about anything. Oversized tow trucks can handle larger items like construction equipment.

Types of Towing Services

The great thing about tow trucks is their versatility. They were put into action by the military in the 1940s during World War II.

Tow trucks are used in a variety of situations today. They help us out of a bad situation like getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. They also help us transport heavy-duty items.

They’re used to help us with a flat tire or to get a car to safety.

Need a Tow Truck? You Have a Choice

Are you in need of a tow truck? You have plenty of options available to you, no matter what your needs are. The different types of tow trucks have come a long way since 1916.

Remember, back in 1916, there were a few types of cars on the road. Today, we have construction vehicles, vans, buses, passenger vehicles and more. Tow trucks had to be designed and adapt to the changes in transportation.

When you’re in need of towing services, you want to make sure that you work with a company that can work with just about any situation.

At Tow Jam, we have a whole fleet of trucks ready to serve. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your towing needs.


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