Tow Truck Trivia: Three Key Towing Styles To Consider When You Need A Lift

There are many reasons why you might find yourself in need of a tow, but did you know that there are several different types of tow trucks that could respond to your distress call? It's in your best interest as a motorist to understand the different types of tow trucks used in the industry so that you'll know if you should request a specific one the next time you call the auto club. Here's a look at the three primary towing methods for you to consider when you need a tow.

Dolly Towing

If you've ever seen the tow trucks that connect the tow bars, or steel yokes, to either the front or back axle of a car and lift it, you've seen a dolly tow truck. These trucks use hydraulic power to raise one set of wheels off the ground, leaving the other two wheels on the ground to roll as the tow truck travels.

These tow trucks are smaller, and they don't have the same amount of power that some other tow trucks do, but they're ideal for light duty towing and local transportation. This is also a viable option for towing vehicles that are too wide or cumbersome to fit other towing methods.

Hook and Chain

Hook and chain towing is less common than it used to be because the style of towing can actually cause more damage to the car. As a result, it's usually reserved for cars that have been totaled in an accident. Hook and chain towing involves using heavy-duty chains that are fitted with a hook on the end. The hook attaches to the car and then the chains are attached to an anchor point on the tow truck. Then, the car is towed with all four wheels still on the ground.

Flat Bed

Perhaps the most common type of tow truck on the market now is the flat bed truck. It has gained in popularity across the towing industry because of its versatility. These trucks have a large flat surface on the back of the truck where the towed car sits during transportation.

In most cases, cars are hoisted up to the flat bed using a hydraulic system or winch motor. Once the car is in place on the bed, it's locked down with chains on anchor points across the bed. This prevents the car from rolling during transport.

This is typically considered the safest option for towing, but it should always be done by a professional. The winch and anchor systems need to be handled properly to protect the car. Also, once the car is safely on the flat bed, it's easier to maneuver through traffic than it would be with other towing methods.

While most of your roadside emergency situations will call for a flat bed tow truck, it's in your best interest to understand what your other options are, just in case. Talk with a towing company, like Darrah's Towing & Recovery, about your choices if you think that you need something other than the standard flat bed tow truck for your situation.