4 Types of Tow Trucks & What They’re Used For

Just as each person’s towing needs are not the same, tow trucks are not one-size-fits-all either. There are several types of tow trucks, each specializing in a different type of towing job.

Hook & Chain Tow Trucks

Because of how they work, hook and chain tow trucks are typically used to tow junk vehicles. They look exactly the way they sound; they’ve got a large hook and chain that attaches to the front of the vehicle in need of a tow. The downside to the hook and chain truck is that the back of the towed vehicle drags on the road. This is precisely why this truck is only used to tow broken, “retired” vehicles.

Integrated Tow Trucks

If you’ve ever seen a car being hauled off due to illegal parking or repossession, you’ve probably seen an integrated tow truck at work. These trucks are super practical because they contain a boom and wheel lift system combo that works together, and they can be controlled by the tow truck driver from his seat!

Types of Tow Trucks

Flatbed Tow Trucks

Again, the name speaks for itself: flatbed tow trucks have a flat bed that holds vehicles. Towers load them by rolling vehicles onto the flatbed’s large, ramped platform. Towers use flatbed trucks to transport:

  • Delicate/expensive vehicles
  • Large batches of vehicles
  • Vehicles that need to be transported long distances

If you’ve ever seen a flatbed tow truck, you may have cringed, fearing that at any moment, the cars being towed could fall off. Don’t worry, though, the cars are securely locked into place. They aren’t going anywhere!

Boom Tow Trucks

Last but not least, we have boom tow trucks, the “heroes of towing.” They’re kind of like “policemen” or “firefighter” tow trucks. When cars crash into ponds or ditches, whether due to an accident or vehicular homicide, they’re difficult to extract. This is where the boom tow truck comes to the rescue. A long boom extends out from the back of the tow truck with a rubber sling at the end. The sling cradles the vehicle. Then, the boom lifts the car up and out from wherever it’s stuck–all without damaging it further.

As you can see, tow trucks have come a long way over the years! Improvements in design allow them to function better than they ever have before. Now, no matter how tough the tow, there’s a tow truck that can handle it!