No one wants to be in the terrifying situation where the brakes on their tow truck fail. You have a lot of truck to think about, and it’s scary to think what would happen if all that power ran away with you – or ran away from you. Tow trucks and wreckers are big and heavy, which means that it takes a lot of brakes bring them to a halt. If your brakes are broken there’s nothing to get your truck to stop. So that’s why it’s generally a good idea to take care of the brakes on your tow trucks. We’ll give you some tips to keep your brakes in peak condition so that you can avoid accidents (and save money on your tow truck insurance.)
1. Understand the two types of brake failure.
There is more than one way for your brakes to go kaput. They can either fail while the tow truck is parked (static failure) or fail while the truck is being driven (dynamic failure.) Either way, the tow truck is going to run away. Your truck may not have a mind of its own, but it’ll do a pretty good job of acting like it if the brakes decide not to work.
2. Don’t go over the maximum weight (or GVWR) for your vehicle.
The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of your tow truck or wrecker is the maximum weight (including the weight of the truck itself) that you can haul. If you go over this weight and overload your truck, that’s not good for the brakes and could cause them to fail – they weren’t designed to stop a truck that’s heavier than its GVWR.
3. Have a preventive maintenance program for your tow trucks.
It’s important that you have your trucks checked over regularly to make sure that everything is as it should be. Your brakes should definitely be a part of these preventive maintenance checks, as proper maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent a brake failure. Basically, preventive maintenance is when a mechanic looks over your tow truck to see if there are any problems before your truck breaks down on you. Don’t underestimate the importance of preventive maintenance.
When you take your tow truck in for servicing, make sure that the mechanic will take a good look at the brakes and check the brake chamber springs and the brake stroke. Also, replace all parts of the brakes that are worn – don’t go driving around on worn brakes.
4. Accommodate for bad weather.
If it’s really rainy, dark, snowy, or foggy, you need to make adjustments in your driving. You’ll need to slow down and increase your following distance. Keeping a safe following distance is important because having plenty of room between you and the car in front of you can help you avoid a rear-end collision.
5. Use the right gear for the incline you’re on.
Make sure that you’re in the proper gear for the incline that you’re traveling.
6. Use the parking brake.
When you park the truck, use your parking brake. This will help you avoid static brake failure, where the wrecker is stopped and the brakes break. That emergency brake can be a big help.
7. Approach long hills with caution.
If you’re going down a long, sloping hill, apply pressure to the brake and then release in a rhythm. You can’t just press on the brakes with a constant pressure because your truck could end up turning into a missile as you zoom down the hill.
8. Park on hills carefully.
If you have to park on a hill, make sure to angle your brakes to the curb properly so that if your brakes do fail, the curb will catch your tow truck if it starts to roll away.
The “stop” part of things is a crucial aspect of driving a tow truck. You need to be able to slow down and come to a halt safely, and that means making sure that your brakes are in tip-top condition. Don’t take any chances with your brakes and make sure to include them in your preventive maintenance checks and in your pre-trip vehicle inspections.
If you want to save money on your tow truck insurance, we can help! We know tow truck insurance rates have been going up lately, but our mission is to help tow truck and wrecker businesses like yours save money. All you have to do to get tow truck insurance quotes is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.