How Does Your Towing Company Decide Which Truck To Send?

If you're not part of the towing industry, you might think that all tow trucks are the same. However, numerous trucks exist for many specialized purposes, ranging from off-road recovery to heavy-duty towing. The best truck for the job may not always be apparent, even when dealing with everyday passenger vehicles.

When you call for a tow, the dispatcher will ask you several questions on the phone. These questions help them determine the best truck to send to your location, but how do they choose? Keep reading to learn about a few factors that can influence your towing company's choice when you need a lift.

What Makes Tow Trucks Different?

Before you can understand which truck is best for your needs, you'll need to know a bit about the types of trucks you'll find at a typical towing company. For most passengers vehicles, the options are flatbeds or wheel lift trucks (sometimes referred to as "wreckers"). Wheel lift trucks raise two wheels off the ground, while flatbed trucks keep your entire vehicle off the road.

Flatbed trucks are generally a safer and more secure option. These trucks also offer more versatility since they can potentially haul unconventional vehicles or even equipment. On the other hand, wheel lift trucks require more skill to operate and provide less protection for towed cars. However, they also tend to be smaller than flatbeds and can fit into tighter areas.

Which Truck Is Right For You?

Two primary factors determine the best tow truck for your situation: your car's location and its number of drive wheels. Leaving your car's drive wheels on the ground can cause substantial damage. In other words, a front-wheel driver car should always have its front wheels elevated and the same for a rear-wheel-drive car. All-wheel drive vehicles need all four wheels off the ground during a tow.

Since wheel lift tow trucks leave two wheels on the ground, most towing companies will send a flatbed when dealing with an AWD or 4WD tow. However, many trucks also have dollies or trailers. This extra equipment allows a wheel lift truck to keep all four wheels off the road, making them suitable for transporting vehicles with four drive wheels.

In addition to drive configuration, location will also determine the best truck for your needs. Flatbeds tend to be larger and less maneuverable, making them harder to use in tight parking lots or narrow city streets. In these cases, a wheel lift truck may be a better option to provide the operator with more flexibility.

While tow trucks might look similar, remember that there are significant differences in capability and usage. Providing accurate information about your situation will ensure that your towing company's dispatcher can choose the right truck to get your vehicle to its destination safely.

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