Cool Facts About Towing & Tow Trucks

Centuries ago, horses and elephants were used to pull out carriages from ditches or ravines. The introduction of the gasoline engine in the mid-1880’s paved the way for highway systems and roadside attractions to emerge. The introduction of the first truck by Henry Ford was also a revolutionizing move that gave way to all kinds of vehicles making their way to the market. These were the early stages of the commercial trucking and towing industry as we know it today.

Towing companies today, maintain a fleet of tow trucks, which are fully integrated and equipped with necessary vehicle recovery and repair tools. A tow truck is a Class 8 vehicle under the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). It is engineered to pull vehicles that have broken down on the road and transport them to the designated location. Given their importance, it won’t be wrong to say that the towing industry plays a crucial role in the US economy.

1920s Era Tow Truck

Some interesting facts

The tow trucks we see today have come a long way to become a full-fledged component of the American economy. Here are a few interesting facts about tow trucks that may surprise you:


  • Tow trucks are over a century old

Ernest Holmes invented the tow truck in 1916. After struggling to pull out a car manually from a creek for eight hours, he started looking for an easier solution after heading back home. After a few failed attempts, Ernest developed a crane system that was able to lift automobiles. This invention formed the foundation of the modern-day hook and chain tow trucks that we see today.


  • The hook and chain became a signature aspect in tow trucks

Although tow trucks have undergone numerous innovations and transformations over the years, the traditional hook and chain design of Holmes’s hoisting system is still a signature aspect of modern-day tow trucks. Owing to its effectiveness and simplicity, this mechanism passed the test of time. Operational changes, however, were seen in the belt lift and wheel lift tow trucks.


  • A Cadillac was used to make the first tow truck

Ernest Holmes didn’t build a completely new vehicle from scratch. He simply developed a hoisting system and mounted this system on the back of his 1913 Cadillac. This broke the stereotypical association between grime and tow trucks, thereby giving way for a luxury brand to emerge.


Types of tow trucks

With the evolution of the automobile and the towing industries, different types of tow trucks entered the market. Today, the towing industry uses four common types of tow trucks. They are:


  1. Hook and chain tow trucks

These tow trucks are a rendition of the hoisting system that was developed by Ernest Holmes. Today, these trucks are used for towing all kinds of cargo. There is, however, one disadvantage that has led to them being used less often- the wrapped chain mechanism. This mechanism tends to scratch or damage a vehicle. As such, the hook and chain tow trucks cannot be used to tow away vehicles that have not been damaged much. They are suitable only for hauling wrecked vehicles to the salvage yard.

Also, these tow trucks cannot be used on 4x4 and all-wheel drive cars as they tend to cause damage to the drivetrain of the vehicle. This is the reason why hook and chain tow trucks are primarily used to tow away wrecked automobiles, because additional damage caused to these vehicles does not really matter much.


  1. Flatbed tow trucks

The flatbed tow trucks are perhaps one of the most common tow trucks used across the world. These trucks have an empty bed with a flat top. A hydraulic system allows the flatbed to be moved upwards or downwards, making it easy to ramp up the vehicle on to the truck.


Flatbed tow trucks prove to be extremely user-friendly because the vehicle can also be pulled up the ramp in case the damage is major, and you are unable to start the engine. Any vehicle that is damaged in a roadside collision or breaks down due to technical defects can be hauled using a flatbed tow truck. Right from light-duty cars to heavy boats, you can tow any vehicle with these trucks.


  1. Wheel-Lift Tow Truck

The wheel-lift tow truck is not very different from a hook and chain tow truck, except the chains are replaced with a metal yoke in these trucks. This type of tow truck has all the benefits of the hook and chain tow truck, without any of the disadvantages. The risk of damage to the vehicle is lowered considerably thanks to the metal yoke.


These trucks use a hydraulic lift or pneumatic hoist to suspend the front or rear part of the vehicle and lift it up. While towing a front-wheel drive vehicle, this truck hooks on to the entrance wheel and lifts the vehicle up. Although wheel-lift tow trucks are not as safe as flatbed tow trucks, they prove to be relatively less costly.


  1. Integrated tow truck

Towing heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and buses requires specialized equipment. The tow trucks used to lift such heavy loads must be extremely durable and sturdy. This is exactly what integrated tow trucks offer.

Given their specialized mechanism and design, integrated tow trucks are commonly used to recover and haul heavy vehicles. The integrated tow truck is equipped with extra axles for more strength and stability. The arm of this truck is embedded deeply in the truck’s core body so as to provide a more stable grip while transporting a vehicle.

So, whenever you find yourself in a sticky roadside situation, make sure you call for a professional towing service. We, at Vegas Car Towing, are a preferred choice in Las Vegas because of our technologically-advanced fleet of tow trucks and swift service.

You can call us at 702-660-5353 and our experts will get to you as soon as possible. Our emergency towing services are available 24×7, so no matter the time of the day, you can always count on us.

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