5 Towing Situations that Require a Flatbed
A standard (dolly) tow truck lifts the front or back wheels of your vehicle onto a short trailer that’s attached to the truck, leaving the other set of wheels to roll along the ground. While this type of truck works well for certain situations, there are others where it isn’t the best option. In the following cases, it’s better to go with a flatbed truck that lifts the vehicle entirely off the ground.
- Towing across long distances. Because two of the vehicle’s wheels are on the ground during a standard tow, this can translate into a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle if you’re moving the car any great distance. A flatbed truck holds its cargo above the road surface, so it’s a better choice for cross-country or other long tows.
- When you have an expensive car. While a dolly tow is generally less expensive than a flatbed, that doesn’t mean much if your prized vintage or sports car hits a pothole during the tow and gets damaged. Flatbed tow trucks are much safer, since the vehicles they carry are kept above any road hazards. If you have an expensive car, it’s worth the extra money for the peace of mind.
- Your vehicle has all-wheel-drive. Front wheel drive cars have back tires that aren’t connected to the drive shaft, so it’s all right to let the back ones spin freely on the road when towing with a dolly. Most SUVs, trucks, and four wheel drive cars, however, shouldn’t be towed in this way, because this can cause transmission damage. Even if your vehicle’s manufacturer’s tow specifications allow for towing with two wheels on the ground, keep in mind that this will register miles on your odometer.
- Your vehicle has been lowered. A car, truck, or SUV with low clearance being towed on a dolly is vulnerable to damage to its undercarriage, bumpers, oil pan, and exhaust. When you have it towed on a flatbed instead, you don’t need to worry every time the truck goes over a bump or up or down an incline.
- You have a heavy vehicle like an SUV, minivan, or large truck. Regardless of other damage concerns, dollies have a physical limitation in that they can’t carry more than a certain amount of weight. The actual maximum number depends on the type of dolly, but it’s a good bet that you’ll need a flatbed if your vehicle is particularly heavy.
Knowing what type of tow truck you need to transport your vehicle is important, because it allows you to make the best decisions for the safety and security of your automobile.