Types of Tow Trucks – Applications and Benefits

Tow trucks are an important part of the traffic. If your car breaks down, you immediately call a tow truck to bring your car to the service. And also if you are stuck in a very serious situation with your car, you immediately call for a tow truck. Here we will give information about the types of tow trucks that are the most common in traffic.

Different Types of Tow Trucks

There are different types of tow trucks that are available. They are very useful for different kinds of towing applications. If you want to tow a car or another vehicle, we need one of them. Among the different types of tow trucks;

  • Hook and chain systems
  • Flatbed tow trucks
  • Wheel-lift types
  • Boom trucks
  • Integrated tow trucks
  • Oversized towing

Hook and Chain Tow Trucks

Hook and chain types of tow trucks.
Image Source: Wikimedia.

This one is the oldest type of tow truck application. Because the construction is straightforward for them. The application is very simple. There is a heavy-duty hook system that you can attach to the car. And you can lift this hook system with a hydraulic system.

The car is lying on the two rear wheels while towing it. This can be a problematic issue because lots of cars are all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. And driving these cars on these two wheels can harm their drivetrains of them.

And a lot of drivers are worrying about the situation that the hook can harm the trims and bodywork of the car.

So as you understand, in terms of security, the use of the chain hook system types of tow trucks is not common.

In the United States, they are generally replaced by newer systems.

They will take up much more space while they are taking the cars behind them. In terms of traffic security, it can be a problem.


  • Towing middle sizes and 2-wheel drive cars are very common.
  • Towing scraped cars that are no worth.
  • Wheeled agriculture systems that require no gentle towing.

Flatbed Tow Truck

Flatbed Tow Truck
Image Source: Wikimedia.

This one is one of the most common two truck applications that is available. This type has a flatbed that we are placing the vehicle on it. But the advantage here is, the flatbed has a hydraulic system that can be lowered to the ground level. This provides a very easy placement of the car on the bed.

The operator attaches the attachments to the car and takes the car on the lowered flatbed. After that, the operator binds the car to the tow truck.

The disadvantage of the flatbed tow truck application is, we can not place cars that are immobile on the platform. Because the car must be able to run on its wheels to get to the platform. And in most situations, cars can run on their wheels.


  • The most common application that we are using them, taking broken cars to the services.
  • And also transferring regular cars between different places, we use the flatbed tow truck because it provides a very secure connection and towing of the car if we compare it with other applications.
  • The use of them is also very common to towing inappropriately parked cars. It will not harm the vehicle and it will not hurt the operator.

Wheel-Lift Types of Tow Trucks

Wheel-Lift Types of Tow Trucks

These types of tow trucks are also very common applications. They resemble the hook-and-chain system but the caring system is much more different.

There is a hydraulic lifter system at the back of the tow truck. With this hydraulic lifter system, you can easily lift the car without any problem.

And instead of the hook, there are metal yoke applications that we attach the yoke to the wheels of the cars. In terms of security, it may be a much more reliable solution if we compare it with the hook-and-chain system. But, we need to know that there must be an extra effort to attach the car.

Also, we are towing the car on the rear two wheels which can be harmful to the SUVs and other types that rub ıon their 2 wheels.

Also harming the bumpers and scratching the surface of the car can be a problem with this one.


  • The general applications of these systems with the hook and chain tow trucks are generally the same.
  • The difference is that we can tow the wheeled agricultural systems with these tow trucks. Because it is impossible to attach the front wheels of the car.s

Boom Trucks

Boom Trucks

You parked your car in a very narrow area and you think that nobody can tow your car. But, there are boom trucks… They have a very strong hydraulic system that can easily lift a standard passenger car without any problem.

The operator attaches the chains on the wheels of the car and creates a very good lifting system. Ane the hydraulic book systems easily lift all the weight of the car and place that car on the bed of the truck.

Maybe it seems like an uncivilized way of towing a car from a place. But they are very useful for taking cars from narrow places.


  • Taking the uneven parked cars.
  • Taking the broken cars that are not able to move on their wheels.
  • Towing small vehicles.

Integrated Tow Trucks

Integrated Tow Trucks

Alright, what about towing very big loads such as trucks and buses? Yes in this case we use big and mighty integrated tow trucks. If we take a look at the general structure of these tow truck applicaitons, there is an integrated system that we can easily two the truck.

There is both boom and a wheel lift system. For low loads such as normal passenger cars, we can use one of these systems. But for trucks and buses, we attach the wheel system and the boom system to fix the very heavy load that we need to tow.

So, they are widespread for lifting and towing the different kinds of unable-to-move trucks and buses from the hardest situations.


  • As you understand, using these two trucks is widespread for lifting heavy loads such as buses and trucks.
  • Also, we can use these integrated systems to tow regular passenger cars.
  • They are generally massive and for towing big loads they are ubiquitous.

Oversized Towing Applications

Oversized Towing Applications

Also towing the oversized applicaitons are very common with tow truck systems. They provide very good applications that we can easily apply for pulling very big structures and systems.

For example, think about very big industrial and construction machines such as palleted excavators. Moving these excavators with their hard pallets on asphalt can be very harmful to the asphalt. And they are very heavy to move in general. Because the roads are generally designed for normal rubber wheels and tires.

In this case, towing these very big systems are very important with heavy towers. These heavy towers have generally truck tractors that take all the load. And there is a heavy-duty bed that we place this heavy load on. And this bed has lots of rubber high-strength tires that dissipate the load on a broader area to prevent harming the asphalt. Also, in terms of fuel consumption, towing these huge systems with smaller applications is much more profitable.


  • I am moving heavy-duty and colossal construction equipment.
  • Towing military equipment such as tanks and rockets.
  • It was towing huge industrial parts that did not have any wheels or pallets.

Why Do We Use Different Kinds of Tow Trucks?

As you see above, the use of different kinds of tow trucks is very common in general. They are very useful for different kinds of applications. There can be different serious situations in that we need to use them.

  • As you see above the most common use of the different types of tow trucks is the saving cars in traffic. there are lots of car accidents that convert vehicles into unusable. So, we need to tow trucks to take these cars from the incident place to the service or mechanic. According to the vehicle size, we use different types of tow trucks.
  • Also, their use them are widespread in improperly parked cars. There are some severe places that need to stay empty for a specific purpose. And in general, there are warning signs that state that “Your car will be moved.” Despite this sign, if you place y our car in that place, outcomes will be very different 🙂
  • And there can be truck and bus problems such as accidents and breakdowns. We need to move them in this car with a huge type of tow truck. And if you call the tow truck company they will probably bring the proper one to you.
  • Also, the two trucks are common in transporting huge vehicles and applications. Such as in construction and other military vehicles, we generally use tow truck applications.

Last Words on Types of Tow Trucks

As you see above, there are different kinds of tow trucks are available. Probably see all of them while we are driving through the roads and streets. But we do not recognize and classify them in our heads. But now you know the differences and uses of them and their general purposes of them.

If you have any experience with tow trucks, please leave your experiences below. Your precious feedbacks are very important to us!

FAQs About Tow Trucks

Is owning a tow truck profitable?

Probably it is not. Tow trucks are heavy-duty and hydraulic systems. And you need to apply lots of maintenance and you will have lots of maintenance expenses. Also, the taxes for them can be different than the normal cars. So, if you will not use the tow truck applicaitons on a commercial basis, you do not need to buy one. Wherever you want, finding a tow truck application that will come to your place is very simple.

What is the difference between a wrecker and a tow truck?

As you can understand from the name, we can take the “wrecks” with the wrecker systems. If cars are not mobile on their wheels, we use the complex tools and systems of the wreckers. But tow trucks are able to take improperly parked cars, broken cars that can run on wheels, etc.

Uğur Uygun

Hello everyone, I am Uğur. I am a mechanical engineer who has experience in different R&D departments of HVAC companies. With my best friend, I decided to build this website to share out knowledge and experience. And also, I am interested in automotive. So, I am writing about automotive and automotive-related articles here. Sharing my knowledge and experiences on these topics is a very big pleasure for me. I am willing to answer all of the questions people have about these topics.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button