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What Is The Difference Between Towing and Wrecker

towing and wrecker

If you are not a part of the towing industry, it is completely understandable that your knowledge of different types of two trucks might not be as high as someone in the industry. Like most people don’t know the difference between a tow truck and a wrecker that’s why it’s a common question we often get asked.

Don’t know if you believe it or not, but there are some significant differences between towing vehicles, so this article is helpful for you. Here we will discuss the difference between a tow truck and a wrecker, making you better prepared when you call for assistance. Before mentioning the differences it’s better to clearly define a tow truck and a wrecker.

What Is A Tow Truck?

Tow trucks are large and heavy-duty vehicles that are designed for situations when the vehicle is unable to move. Because these trucks are designed to tow or move other vehicles. You can find multiple types of tow trucks, but the most common type is the flatbed tow truck. They all can vary in size and capability which will easily provide a safe and efficient way to remove disabled or damaged vehicles from the roadway.

Mainly, there are two types of trucks, light-duty trucks, and heavy-duty trucks. Light-duty trucks are for small vehicles or cars like passenger cars and small trucks because they are smaller and do not have any special equipment. Whereas, for towing heavy-duty vehicles such as buses, trucks, and even airplanes, some trucks have specialized equipment.

Trained professional drivers are hired to operate a tow truck who know how to safely secure and transport vehicles. You agree or not, they play an important role in keeping roads clear and safe by removing vehicles that are blocking traffic or posing a hazard to other drivers.

What Is A Wrecker?

Wreckers are also recovery vehicles that are specially to move or recover disabled, damaged, or improperly parked vehicles. But often used in conditions when the vehicles are broken down, have been in an accident, or are in a situation where they cannot be driven.

While they seem like simple machines but they are not, wreckers are also called upon to remove abandoned or illegally parked cars from public roads and parking lots. Wrecker uses a boom and a winch to lift and pull stranded vehicles onto its bed. Not only this, wreckers have the potential to tow heavy vehicles like tanks, that’s why in the US Army, a variant of the HEMTT truck is used for this purpose, the M984 wrecker.

Sometimes the term “wrecker” is also used for describing a heavy-duty tow truck that is best for more complex recovery operations, such as pulling large vehicles or equipment out of challenging situations.

Differences Between Towing and Wrecker

Now let’s discuss, from both of these tow trucks and wreckers which one is safe! Here are some points to clear it:

  • Damage

As we mentioned previously, tow trucks are used to tow a vehicle that is still intact and can be safely towed, so they typically have a flatbed or a wheel lift. That’s why a tow truck can be used to lift and tow the vehicle without causing any further damage.

On the other hand, wreckers are used in order to recover or move a damaged or disabled vehicle that cannot be safely towed because it might cause some damage. They may have a crane or winch, so it can be used to lift and move the vehicle onto the tow truck.

  • Capacity

It’s common that the bigger a vehicle is, the bigger truck needs to tow. Just because wreckers use a boom and a winch to lift and pull stranded vehicles onto its bed they easily lift the heavy vehicle. Whereas, normal tow trucks need specialized equipment to tow a large vehicle like a bus, truck, ambulance, or many others. But these specialized equipment are rare, as not every towing company has them.

  • Recover Vehicles

A wrecker can easily recover vehicles in any situation, like they are not able to drive, to remove abandoned or illegally parked cars, after having an accident or any other breakdown. But a tow truck can only tow a car from one location to another or remove a damaged vehicle from the roadway.

A Tow Truck OR Wrecker What You Need?

Towing companies are always there to help or rescue you from serious accidents or recoveries. If you’re calling for a tow truck, it’s essential to give the dispatch officer the least possible information. The more information you give the better they’ll be able to give you guidance regarding the towing truck you need. Because most people will use the names of tow trucks and wreckers interchangeably, they will guide you according to the situation in which you are stuck at that time.

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