The 4 Different Types of Tow Trucks

There are various kinds of tow trucks, and each uses a different method for hauling and hooking up vehicles. Tow trucks can transport everything from broken-down cars to repair shops to totaled vehicles to the junkyard. Tow truck operators, despite the wide variety, utilize specific tow trucks to carry out their daily operations.

That is why understanding the major differences between types of tow trucks is vital. With this information, you can select the tow truck that’s right for you and your business.

The following are brief descriptions of the most popular tow trucks used in the industry. We’ll also discuss the various features and weight capacities of each. Let’s get started!

The 4 Different Types of Tow Trucks


Flatbed trucks are the most commonly used tow truck in the industry due to their reliability, versatility, and ease of use. Hence the name, these trucks have a flat bed that’s lowered to the ground so that the vehicle can be winched or driven onto the platform making the loading process much easier.

These trucks can also have a carrying capacity of 15 to 20 tons making them very versatile. Regardless of whether you drive a motorcycle or a big F-150, a flatbed can get the job done!

Flatbeds are also much safer since the towed vehicle’s four wheels are off the ground completely. Hook and chain tow trucks frequently damage a car’s bumper, especially if the driver goes over a speed bump too quickly.

So, if safety is the primary focus at your towing operation then a flatbed may be your best option. Overall, it’s suitable for expensive cars, long distances, heavy vehicles, and low vehicles.

Hook and Chain

Tow trucks with hooks and chains are among the oldest types of tow trucks. Despite this, they are still widely used in the industry. With a hook and chain, these trucks essentially attach the towed vehicle to the truck.

Unfortunately, this practice frequently results in scratches, dents, and other damage to towed vehicles. As a result, this method is frequently reserved for only transporting totaled cars to the junkyard.


Integrated tow trucks are heavy-duty and capable of hauling heavyweight vehicles, such as big rigs and buses. Essentially, an integrated tow truck combines a wheel lift and a boom into a single structure. They have an additional axle since they’re designed to haul extremely massive and heavy vehicles.

This tow truck is especially useful when repossessing a car as the operator doesn’t have to get out of the truck to do so.

Wheel Lift

Wheel lift tow trucks are the modern version of a hook and chain tow truck. To lift the car, a tow truck driver will place a yolk beneath the front or rear tires. After the vehicle has been secured, it can be hauled away to the preferred location.

This is a safer alternative since there are no hooks or chains used to secure the vehicle. As stated above, these can cause substantial damage.

Bottom Line

Tow trucks are an efficient and convenient way to transport vehicles from one place to another. There is, however, a significant difference between a flatbed, wheel lift, hook and chain, and integrated tow truck. Please refer to our article if you’re asking yourself, how much does a tow truck cost anyways?

Tow trucks are vital to carry broken-down and damaged vehicles to repair shops. These four truck types are designed to drag and pull the vehicles safely to their destinations.




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