18. September 2019 · Comments Off on How Does a Tow Truck Work? · Categories: Education · Tags: ,

tow truck in melbourne

Tow trucks are used to transport a single vehicle, machinery, cargo, or other equipment from one location to another. 

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • A car breaks down on a highway. A tow truck collects the car and takes it to the required mechanic. 
  • An excavator is required to be transported to a construction site. A tow truck is engaged to move the excavator from the machinery yard to the site. 
  • A shipping container is required to be transported from the port to a warehouse. 

Types of Tow Trucks 

Wheel Lift Truck:  A wheel lift is often seen on smaller tow vehicles. It is used by affixing a yoke under the front or back wheels. This then lifts the car which is then towed behind the truck. 

Hook and Chain Truck:  The hook and chain are attached to the axel of the vehicle. This will lift the front wheels onto the truck, leaving the rear wheels on the road. 

Tilt Tray Truck: The tray of the truck is a flat tray that can rise and lower into place, with or without a load. 

The tray is maneuvered through the use of hydraulic controls and is lowered to form a ramp between the load and the truck. A winch attaches underneath the front or back of the load. This is activated by the hydraulic controls to pull the load onto the ramp that has been made. Whilst moving the tray back into place, the truck slowly reverses under the load. 

Once the tray is in place on the rear of the truck, the winch can be used further to move the load on the tray of the truck, ensuring it cannot move during transport. Additional tie downs may need to be used to secure the load. 

In the case of a car being the load, the wheels are secured to the tray, often by chains. The operator of the tilt tray needs to be competent as the potential to cause a significant amount of damage. 

The operator of the Tilt Tray Truck also needs to ensure that the load capacity of the truck is not exceeded. 

Types of Loads 

A Tilt Tray Tow Truck is capable of transporting loads of varying shapes and sizes, including but not limited to: 

  1. Large shipping containers; 
  2. Mobile Plant/Equipment (such as mining or construction machinery); 
  3. Small vehicles; and 
  4. Large vehicles. 

Despite the variety of tow trucks available and their uses, it can be seen that the most versatile truck is the Tilt Tray Tow Truck as it can move a variety of vehicles and cargo. Regardless of the truck used, it is important to ensure the operator of the truck is competent to do so. 


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