top of page

How To Know What Kind of a Tow Truck to Use For My Car

There are a few simple aspects that you need to let the tow company know to understand what kind of a tow truck will fit for your needs. Location of the vehicle, make and model and condition are the main ones.
Minor aspects are the gear type, towing distance and much much more.

When flatbed towing is required

Flatbed tow truck: the whole car is located on top of the bed. On one hand, some professionals will say that this is the safest method of towing a vehicle. On the other side, the disadvantages of flatbed tow trucks are that they are not capable to fit in some locations like tight parking lots, or low garages (such as apartment building or malls parking lots), they are also can't pull a car that is stuck on a "P" gear.
Flatbed is an ideal tow for long distance transportation. A flatbed usually tows Sport, luxury and classic cars. Low profile bumpers (front or rear) are to be towed with a flatbed otherwise can be slightly damaged.
Heavier vehicles such as Suv's, pick up trucks, vans are highly recommended to be towed by a flatbed since it can tow heavier weights than a wheel lift (especially when they are loaded).

Note:  There is a new innovation that is called "skates", it's kind of pricey so most of the flatbeds are not using it. Usually, it is made out of silicone. The "skate" goes under the wheels of a car that is stuck on "P" so what's actually being dragged on the bed are the skates and not the wheels of the vehicle.

Flatbed or Wheel Lift?

When wheel lift towing is required

Wheel Lift: using a durable metal yoke that will fit under the front or rear wheels of your car. This type of towing is ideal for small parking garages and lots. It's a smaller truck that can fit where the massive flatbed can't.
If you can't shift your car into "N" or any other gear you can't pull it with a flatbed truck chain, as a wheel lift it can be pulled quickly from the front or rear (depending if it's a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive) and be ready for a tow within minutes. Many tow companies are preferring this method since the trucks are smaller and that way they are also cheaper and more convenient on the gas usage.

The most significant advantage of wheel lift tow trucks are dollies:
Using a wheel lift with a help of dollies will be compared to a flatbed tow. Although the vehicle is not on top of a truck bed, all of the 4 wheels are in the air which makes the tow safer. The dollies are a small unit that fits perfectly under the wheel of a car and is pulling them up a few inches. The unit is using its own little wheels so the vehicle wheels will be secured (or sometimes even replaced when they are not exciting).

Medium Duty & Heavy duty: for heavier trucks, trailers, and RV's you may need to use a bigger tow truck, but all is depending on the size and the weight of your vehicle


Even after reading that article it can still be tricky on how to determine what type of tow truck exactly do you need. Here are some examples of these situations and the right answers (In cases where flatbed skates are not existing):
* A low profile luxury sports car with a transmission problem and can NOT be shifted into "Neutral" - Will have to be towed by a wheel lift WITH dollies.

* Ford F250 that is parked inside of an office building parking structure with a low entrance clearance of 6.0 - Since a flatbed won't be able to fit the parking structure, it will have to be towed by a wheel lift. In some cases when the car is loaded it can be towed out of the parking by a wheel lift and then towed by a flatbed to a destination.

* Honda that is stranded on the freeway with a flat tire and no spare can be towed by flatbed or wheel lift.

For any other questions or concerns about the right towing method for your car don't hesitate to contact us at (888) 838-3570.

bottom of page