Do you know the different roles tow trucks play?

March 7, 2015

Tow trucks and recovery vehicles could be stars in a Hollywood film. They are multifaceted and play versatile roles. Have you heard of them?

Casting extras: emergency road service trucks

Extras perform jumpstarts, unlock doors, deliver fuel, come to the rescue when you need a tire change or a minor repair on the highway — the only limit to an emergency road service (ERS) truck’s range is that it’s not equipped to perform a tow.

Supporting actor category: trucks with a wheel lift system

This tow truck can perform all the duties of an ERS truck, but it can also tow front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles. It hooks and lifts either the front or rear wheels of the vehicle in order to tow it to safety.

Lead actor category: flatbed tow trucks

A flatbed trailer can do everything an ERS truck can do, but it also does a better job of hauling damaged cars, regardless of transmission. More powerful than a traditional wheel lift system, it can hoist and transport an entire vehicle on its platform. The versatility of a flatbed truck can transport any vehicle from point A to point B, including low-rider cars and all-wheel drive vehicles.

Flatbed tow trucks are strong and can seemingly adapt to anything. No truck can take its place or fill in for a flatbed trailer — especially because no equipment exists on the market that can transport a vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, as easily as a flatbed trailer.

"Tough guy" roles

These "tough guys" typically playthe role of hero as soon as you have car trouble on the highway.

On the other hand, when they tow you due to a parking infraction or car seizure, tow truck drivers are quickly cast in the role of the "bad guy".

Important tips about tow trucks

  • Always remember that if you park on private property, where you are neither customer nor tenant, tow trucks have every right to tow you.
  • If your car is taken to an impound lot and the towing company refuses to let you know where it is, they may be acting in bad faith. They may be trying to bully you.
  • If you think a municipal law has been violated, you may have recourse to file a complaint with Consumer Affairs or the police.
  • If you want a happy ending, always ask for an invoice from the tow truck operator. A little advice: try to pay the bill later, and not on site.
  • Towing and storage fees vary according to the weight of the car being towed.
Do you know the different roles tow trucks play?
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