Ever wonder who came up with the idea of the tow truck? This time-honored service dates back to 1916 when a garage worker, Ernest Holmes, Sr. of Chattanooga, Tennessee put together the first tow truck. It was a modified 1913 Cadillac, with a A-Frame boom and winching gear. He then began to manufacture tow trucks commercially. Since then the tow/wrecker industry was born. Now we have more than one method to move that broken down ‘ole Tin Lizzy!
Flatbed, Hook & Chain, Wheel Lift, Rotator Wrecker Tow Trucks & More
• Flatbed tow truck is the darling of tows operations. The traditional hook and chain method sometime where hard on the towed car. It didn’t matter the condition of the vehicle if wrecked, but a break down had to be ‘babied’ to prevent being sued. With a tilting bed and winch the flatbed puts minimum strain on a vehicles frame for a short-controlled period and then the vehicle is carried to its location.
• Hook and chain, the traditional tow truck is still best when recovering cars and trucks from washes and ravines. These are not as common today since in large tow operations they being replaced by the flatbed tow truck. Hook & Chain rigs put a lot of strain on frames, running gear and suspensions and create opportunities for civil litigation that cut into profits and raise insurance rates. Chains could scratch the body and the hook could stress chassis and frame. Sometime there was damage to the suspensions drive lines with this method. All wheel drive vehicles cannot be towed using this method as it can damage the power train. Still used to tow junk or wrecked cars, just not that common any more.
• Wheel lift tow trucks use a metal yoke that slides under and lifts the vehicle by the front or rear tires. More dependent on hydraulics or pneumatics then chains and cables and winches. They are less expensive to obtain than other rigs.
• Rotator wreckers are actual nothing more than truck cranes used to lift or turn over rigs. They are commonly used to lift turned over semi’s and cement trucks. The Challenger Rotator can extend the boom to 30 feet, pick up to 70 tons and turn 360 degrees. This and another 150 models are built by Miller Industries of Chattanooga, the home of the wrecker.
• Heavy duty rigs are for buses, semi-trucks and other large machinery.
• Integrated tow trucks are popular in Europe and are a flatbed truck with a “cherry picker” crane and used us to snatch and haul illegally parked vehicles right out of a parking place.
• Boom wreckers just feature a heavy-duty boom that makes recovery from ravines and embankments easier. Basically, a truck crane but without the rotating boom.
Towing & Roadside Assistance Services in Reseda, Woodland Hills, North Hills & Greater Los Angeles, California
Like most other endeavors the tow industry is willing to adapt many technologies to address the many varied towing situations encountered particularly in largely urbanized areas. Most urban companies offer the Wheel Lift and Flatbed tow truck services. A growing number of urban tow companies also offer roadside services like jumpstarts and/or battery replacement. Flat tire changes are another service than is commonly tackled by the tow service. Fuel and fluids are vital with running out of fuel the most common. Sometimes, you don’t need a tow but a ‘winch-out’ because your stuck and out of commission. Lastly there those times you lock yourself out of your car, a common, if disconcerting situation. Most tow service can safely unlock your car for you. A shout out to those unsung heroes of the highways and byways of America. Cheap Towing can handle all your towing and roadside assistance needs. Contact us whenever you need us!