Until drivers are stranded in a parking lot or at the side of the road, they do not think much about the towing industry and the hardy vehicles designed to pull other cars out of distressing situations. A breakdown truck, also called a breakdown lorry or tow truck, includes special features that make it perfect for hauling disabled vehicles to the nearest petrol station or auto repair shop. If you are in the market for a breakdown truck, do some research first to identify its important features.
One key feature of a breakdown truck is its integrated boom and wheel lift. With this design, the lorry driver can back up to a car and use a few simple controls to latch onto it and take it somewhere. This design enables breakdown truck drivers to complete a tow without stepping out of the cab, a feat that is particularly useful when repossessing cars or removing cars from illegal parking situations. If you need a lorry with this feature, look for breakdown trucks advertised as self-loaders.
Hook and Chain Devices
Another type of towing mechanism is the hook and chain, sometimes called a belt lift or sling. This system involves a series of chains that the operator passes around the disabled vehicle's frame. A boom winch lifts the front axle of the disabled car and props it against a couple of durable rubber mats. The rear wheels of the car remain on the road while the breakdown truck tows it along. The hook and chain feature works well for totalled cars and other vehicles that are old and dysfunctional or that have been in accidents. However, avoid towing nice cars or all-wheel drive cars with a hook and chain device. At a minimum, you could scratch the car and, with an all-wheel drive, you could damage the drivetrain.
Efficient Engines and Coolant Systems
In order to do their job properly, breakdown trucks must be powerful, efficient machines. Look for a breakdown lorry fitted with a high-efficiency engine that economises fuel. Some wreckers even have an environmentally friendly design that minimises emissions as well. In addition, ensure that the breakdown truck has an effective cooling system. Since breakdown trucks operate at such high power, they need heavy-duty coolant systems to prevent overheating. This is particularly important if you live in a hilly or mountainous area where your truck has to climb hills while hauling a disabled vehicle.
Supplemental Braking Systems
When going downhill, a heavy breakdown truck needs extra braking power. A key feature of your new breakdown truck is its Jake brakes, a special system for compression release braking. This system automatically engages during downhill driving and takes some of the pressure off the wheel brakes.