Differences Between Flatbed and Wheel Lift Tow Trucks
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Flatbed towing vs wheel lift towing
When somebody is in a car accident or stranded in the middle of the road for an engine malfunction, a flat tire or any other reason, they aren't thinking about the best towing service for their vehicle. They want to be moved away fast. However, for your towing company, it's essential, because the type of truck they send to help has to be the right one to keep the car safe and without causing further damage.
You, as a client don't need to worry about this, a good towing service like Saar Shani Towing is going to take care of all those details, we need the correct information such as the make, model and the location of your vehicle. That will help the dispatcher to make the right choice for which truck to send out. Not all towing systems are the same, and it's worthwhile to know about the most popular. Knowledge is power, so you can understand what are the advantages, disadvantages, and differences between hauling or towing services.
What kind of towing truck is the best?
A long time ago all towing services were made by the same kind of towing system: hook and chain. This method included wrapping some chains around the car frame, lifting one end with a crane and dragging the vehicle, with the back wheels on contact with the road. That was normal and didn't harm those big and robust cars of the 60's and 70's. However, if you do the same thing to some modern vehicles, the chances are high that it would wreck the transmission among other parts.
That's why the answer to that question is not simple, the best towing truck depends on your vehicle. For example, a large car requires a heavy-duty tow truck, while a smaller sedan car requires a flatbed truck.
Lift Wheel Towing
Wheel lift truck has a hydraulic boom with a couple of cross bars at the end. Those bars are slipped under the front or rear wheels of a car. The vehicle is lifted and keeps two wheels on the ground. The operator can lift the front or rear end, It depends on the car's transmission. Modern wheel lift trucks use a hydraulic dolly but the old ones used to have just chains and a crane.
This system is used to tow smaller or lighter vehicles, 2 wheel drive cars and also for short distance and quick tows. Another advantage of this kind of trucks is that they can fit into tighter spaces or low parking structures, so it's ideal to tow a car in a narrow road, parallel parked, inside a parking garage or in the middle of traffic. Also, this can be a little bit cheaper than using a flatbed towing, but it depends on a companies price lists. If your towing company uses a wheel lift truck, ask for soft straps on the wheels. That will avoid damaging your rims.
A flatbed tow truck has a tilted bed that can be moved and/or inclined to ground level. That will allow placing the vehicle on it. If the vehicle can't move it could be done by using a winch. The car will be secured on the deck and will travel without any risk of further damage when using skates or dollies. Flatbed towing is perfect for cars with all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Also, it's the preferred method to pull a vehicle that's been severely damaged. Flatbed trucks are the best option for long-distance travels.
The most significant advantage of flatbed towing is security. Once the car is tied down on the deck, the chances of suffering any damage will decrease dramatically. Also, having all four wheels un-mobilized is better for the transmission.
However, even if this looks like the best option for any vehicles, there are some disadvantages of using a flatbed towing truck. Flatbeds trucks are enormous, so they can't fit in some spaces. This kind of a truck can haul not all stranded vehicles. On the other hand, pulling the car on the deck can be a lengthy task, and this makes it troubling for high-traffic areas or if the vehicle is on a massive traffic location.
The most significant difference between flatbeds and wheel lift towing trucks is the level of security provided. Flatbed trucks are the safest, by far. They don't require adjustments, the car lies on the deck and doesn't have the risk to be damaged. The wheels are off the road, won't hit potholes or cracks on the way. It's the best (and maybe the only) option to move luxury cars, vintage vehicles or long-distance travel. It could be a little more expensive, but it's worthwhile.
Other difference is on size. Flatbed trucks are pretty big while wheel lifting ones are small and compact. That is why wheel lifting towing is ideal for some conditions. As they're smaller are the best option for busy roads or places or short distance travel. Also if your car is parallel parked or too close to other vehicles. Only a wheel lifting truck would be able to extract your vehicle without damaging other cars. Flatbed towing trucks also can handle more weight than wheel lift ones. That makes them the go-to option when it comes to transport SUV's and bigger cars.
Our recommendation is to find a good and honest towing company, who can take the best decision based on your car condition, model, and a location. If you are in the Los Angeles Area, then you can call Saar Shani Towing Services, who are ready to assist you immediately any time and day of the week. We know what kind of truck can be used after evaluating your situation. You'll be able to relax, Saar Shani Towing services will make all the hard work.