Towing Terms & Terminology

Every professional occupation has its own way of putting things. The tow company is not different. To understand what that driver is talking about you need to know the lingo.

Flatbed tow is those tow trucks that don’t tow but carry the car. A flat tilting bed, a winch and tie downs, the car has no contact with the ground during transport. The flat bed truck is becoming the most common emergency transport for vehicles. Flat bed towing reduces the chance of inadvertent damage to the towed vehicle and reduces liability. All four wheels are in contact with the ground surface and are stored in a stable position.
Wheel lift towing is the traditional tow that lifts one end or the other, and transport is with two wheels in contact with the road surface. Wheel-lift technology is the lifts the front or rear wheels in a frame and trails the other wheels. This the traditional style tow truck. Some use hydraulic lifts others use a boom and winch.
Accident translates to collision of two or more cars, rollover or contact with terrain features, natural or man-made.
Commercial vehicle is any vehicle operated by a trade or business used for delivery or trade related services.
Disabled vehicle. You’re broke down, in the tow trade your car is a disabled vehicle. Mechanical failure, engine fire, flooding or even malicious acts.
Mechanical breakdowns are inoperable or not safe to drive vehicles due to a mechanical malfunction that happened during the operation of the vehicle. Flat tires, broken fan belts, loss of breaks and blown coolant or ‘water’ hoses, that sort of thing.
Minor mechanical repair & roadside assistance. Things like changing a tire or replacing blown out hose or fan belts is a minor mechanical repair. These may include some temporary solutions jest to get you rolling. These solutions are the primary services offered as roadside services. Jumps, tire change, fuel and fluids are the basic services offered. So, what caused your ride to quit working. It may have been a pre-existing condition, something wrong you have been unaware of.
Trailer hitches are rated by tongue weight. This the applied downward force on the tongue due to trailer weight.
Receiver. That square box on the back under the rear bumper is the receiver. It allows the insertion of alternative hitch configurations, ball or pintle hitches. Some tow truck configurations a shank connects the hitch head via the receiver. The shank is what connects tow bars receiver.
Dollies are frames equipped with wheels. They fit under the wheels of the vehicle to be towed allowing tow of vehicles with their wheels being in contact with the ground. The dolly allows for towing even though the vehicles wheels will not turn, and saves damages to the power train.
Emergency Roadside Assistance are procedures and repairs that allow a disabled vehicle to get moving again.
Jump is about receiving an electrical jump from a running vehicle to a vehicle with a dead battery.
Lift beds are popular in Europe and allow for towing parallel parked vehicles. A flatbed truck with a crane allows the operator to do a four-corner lift and load the truck.
Vehicle recoveries usually are done by boom and winch equipped rigs. A boom and winch are ideal for recovering vehicles from gullies, arroyos and washes. The big boys, semi rigs have their tow trucks as well. These rigs allow for the towing of semi-tractors for repair.

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Next time you need a tow you will at least have a clue what the tow driver is talking about. Contact us today!