More from: Auto Hauling

6 Strategies Experienced Towmen Know and Practice

Anyone who thinks car hauling and towing is easy work has never done it for a living. Working as a tow operator is one of the most dangerous jobs in America thanks to the combination of weather, other drivers, and the generally hazardous nature of trying to recover vehicles that may not necessarily be in the safest locations.

The best tow operators, also known as towmen in the industry, know that they are only as safe as the equipment and strategies they employ on the job. Here at Mytee Products, we have the tools tow operators need. From auto hauling straps to chains and winches, we can properly equip any truck for just about any job.

What we cannot to do is equip operators with the knowledge they need to do their jobs safely. That knowledge comes from seasoned operators who teach their younger counterparts on the job. For example, your average veteran will know all about the following six strategies for safe vehicle recovery:

1. Position the Truck as Close and Straight as Possible

Whether a towman is using a flatbed wrecker or traditional tow truck, it is a good idea to position the truck as close to the vehicle as possible. The less pulling over open space required, the safer things are for both the tow operator and the vehicle being recovered. Along those same lines, getting the truck perpendicular to the vehicle is ideal. A perpendicular position reduces stress on winches and cables.

2. Use a Spotter When Possible

Your average towman works alone except on especially complicated recoveries. It is up to him or her to properly load the vehicle, strap it down, and get back on the road safely. Having said that, experienced operators know it is always wise to use a spotter when one is available. A spotter keeps an eye on the recovered vehicle as it’s being loaded onto the back of the wrecker or hoisted by the hook. Obviously, the spotter should be an experienced operator is well.

3. Use Properly Rated Straps and Chains

The next tip is a matter of both law and safety. According to federal and state laws, tow operators must use properly rated straps and chains to secure vehicles to tow trucks. That means operators have to know a little bit of math to do what they do. The general rule is to use straps rated at 2 to 3 times the weight of the vehicle being recovered. The stronger the straps, the more secure the vehicle will be when accelerating and braking.

4. Make Use of the Factory Tow Hook

When loading a recovered vehicle onto the back of the wrecker, the experienced operator will make use of the factory tow hook for both winching and tying down. The tow hook is the strongest point on a car for these sorts of operations. Not using it is ignoring something designers put in place specifically for recovery operations.

5. Utilize Four Points of Contact

Wrecker operators should always utilize four points of contact at a bare minimum. Chains and straps should be deployed at 45° angles in order to reduce both parallel and perpendicular movement. Four points of contact will keep the recovered vehicle in place better than three, and a lot better than two.

It takes time to learn all the tricks of the towman’s trade. We cannot offer you either the time or the on-the-job training you need to be the best in your industry, but we do have a full selection of towing supplies and tools to keep your truck fully equipped.


What Auto Hauling Amateurs Should Know

John needs to move an unregistered, uninsured car from one location to another. He can pay a professional to haul the car for him, or he can haul it himself. There is no shortage of amateurs that choose the latter option to their own detriment. Amateurs simply do not know what goes into hauling cars safely.

As a professional auto hauler, you know what it takes to do your job right. We would be willing to bet that you have chuckled in amusement more than once after coming upon a DIY hauler whose methods clearly demonstrate a lack of knowledge. If only amateurs knew what you know. Perhaps their efforts might be a bit safer and more efficient.

A Couple of Straps Won’t Do It

How many times have you noticed an amateur hauling a car – or any kind of vehicle for that matter – on the back of a trailer with only one or two straps keeping the vehicle in place. What a recipe for disaster this is. A couple of straps will not do it if things get ugly for any reason.

The professional uses multiple auto hauling straps and chains to secure the vehicle at as many locations as necessary to keep it secure. You might use wheel straps on each of the four tires along with a chain at the front and back. Even blocking the wheels is not out of the question if necessary.

DIY Hauling Isn’t Cheap

It should be obvious that DIY car haulers do what they do to save a little money. That’s fine. What they don’t know is that DIY hauling isn’t cheap if they are doing it correctly. There is more to it than borrowing your neighbor’s utility trailer, loading your car onto it, and heading down the highway in a state of ignorant bliss.

First and foremost, you need the right kind of trailer capable of handling the weight. Next, you need the right kind of trailer hitch. Next are the various straps and chains necessary to secure the vehicle to the trailer. And finally, there is the matter of informing your insurance company that you are planning to haul a car. DIY car haulers may have to add a temporary rider to their insurance to cover an accident.

There Are Federal, State, and Local Laws

If equipment and costs are not enough to dissuade the DIY car hauler, he or she is probably not aware that there are certain federal, state, and local laws that have to be followed. The starting point are federal and state laws that require cargo to be secured properly prior to transport. These rules apply to anyone and everyone on the road regardless of what they are driving.

Beyond secure cargo are additional rules covering everything from load limits to licensing regulations. Having a truck, trailer, and car to haul doesn’t necessarily mean a person is moving a car legally. And without a good knowledge of the law, a DIY car hauler is taking a risk. Being cited for improper hauling is actually more common than people realize.

As a professional, you know what you’re doing every time you load a car and carry it away. You also know how important it is to have an ample supply of straps, chains, and other tools on board whenever you go out on a new job. That’s where Mytee Products can help.

Our line of car hauling and towing supplies will keep your toolbox filled no matter what kind of work you do. From straps and chains to emergency lights, we have everything you need to safely haul cars.


Auto Hauling: When You Need Your Equipment to Work

When a tow operator goes out on the interstate to recover a car from a ditch, he wants to know that all his equipment is going to work right. The same goes for an operator who gets a call from a local resident whose car will not start. He/she needs to know that he/she has the equipment and supplies to retrieve the car and transport it to the garage.

There are two other kinds of towing equally dependent on properly working equipment. However in both these additional situations, there is an extra challenge: speed. Tow operators involved in repossessions and illegally parked cars need to hook up and be gone quickly. They really need their equipment to work on every single job.

Car Repossessions

Car repossessions are a boon for towing companies that offer repo services. And in recent years, there has been a lot of work available.

In 2017 alone, there were some 6 million Americans behind on their car payments by at least 90 days. That is right at the repossession threshold. For tow truck operators, repossessions are risky. They have to be very careful about what they do, and they have to be quick about it.

Once a tow operator identifies the target vehicle he or she must pull up, hook it, and go as quickly as possible. The operator might be delayed by having to pull the car out of a parking space before it can be hooked. If he/she’s operating a flatbed wrecker, pulling the vehicle up onto the neck takes extra time. That operator will be using his/her entire inventory of chains and tow straps if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

Towing Illegally Parked Cars

Almost as stressful as repossession is the task of towing an illegally parked car. This could be a car parked in the street or in a private parking lot. Either way, the tow operator’s goal is to get the car out of there before an angry owner comes out to confront him/her. He or she really needs to know all the equipment is working properly.

Like the repo tow operator, an operator towing illegally parked cars relies on a series of chains and straps, to secure the vehicle to the tow truck. Different setups utilize different supplies. It’s in the best interest of a tow operator to know which chains, straps, and hooks are ideal for each kind of situation. And with a little practice, the operator can become very adept at deploying those chains and straps under pressure.

Get Your Towing Supplies Here

Mytee Products offers tow operators a complete inventory of equipment and supplies. We have your chains, straps, hooks, and even external tow lights. Everything you need under one roof makes keeping your tow truck fully stocked as easy and convenient as possible.

We certainly don’t envy you if you work repossession or illegally parked jobs. That’s tough work when you consider how confrontational car owners can be. We understand you need your towing equipment to work correctly every time.

We invite you to browse our inventory for all your towing needs. Each of our products is made to exacting standards that you can depend on. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

 


Lessons from Experienced Tow Operators

There are a bunch of viral videos out there showing just what can go wrong when a car is towed improperly. Not only are they good for a laugh, they also clearly define the difference between professionally-trained tow operators and amateurs. The professionals obviously possess the skills, tools, and equipment to do the job right.

The best tow operators in the business are defined by how they do what they do. For example, there are certain mistakes every professional tow operator knows to avoid. These are the same mistakes amateurs make just before they end up on viral videos. Here are four of them:

 

1. Pay Attention to Weights and Ratings

A lot of what a tow operator has to worry about is directly related to physics. For example, every tow strap and chain has a working load limit (WLL) that cannot be exceeded and still be safe. Tow operators have to pay attention. They have to understand gross vehicle weight ratings, axle weights, towing capacities, and the like.

Not paying attention to such things could mean serious trouble. Thankfully, the pros understand what’s going on. They choose the right towing straps, chains, and hooks to correctly secure vehicles before towing begins.

2. Use A Sufficient Number of Anchor Points

The tow operator who drives a flatbed wrecker rather than a standard tow truck handles vehicles in a slightly different way. He or she has to anchor the vehicle in question to the bed of the truck rather than hooking the car from underneath. Then he/she uses a series of tow straps or chains to secure the vehicle.

Amateurs who might try this with a utility trailer often fail to use enough anchor points. That is, they do not secure the vehicle to the trailer on all four corners. That’s a mistake. Professional tow operators not only know where the correct anchor points are found, but they also use all of them.

3. Always Utilize Safety Lights

How many times have you seen an amateur towing a vehicle without any kind of lighting? The vehicle being towed is not running, so brake lights and turn signals are not working. This is a recipe for disaster. Inadequate lighting is an open invitation to a rear-end collision. The pros know this, which is why they use safety lights. They activate the safety lights on their trucks and put towing lights on the back of the car.

4. Drive Cautiously

Finally, a truly wise tow truck operator knows how foolish it is to drive his or her truck the same way he/she might drive a car. Amateurs don’t know the difference. They drive as though they are not towing at all. They drive at the same speed and brake just as hard, assuming nothing bad will happen.

The secret professionals know is that all the towing straps and chains in the world aren’t enough to compensate for reckless driving. They drive cautiously whenever they have a car in tow. And it’s a good thing they do because as they know what they are doing, and they do it well, the rest of us don’t have to worry about being in danger when we come upon a tow truck or flatbed wrecker.

For the record, Mytee Products appreciates the magnificent work professional tow truck operators do every day. They put their lives on the line nearly every time they go out on a highway job. We are pleased to be able to help them by providing the reliable and heavy-duty towing equipment they need to do what they do safely.


How To Choose Chains Suitable for Towing

Tow truck operators carry specific kinds of chains for doing what they do. Along with those chains are hooks, car hauling straps, and other equipment that operators need to safely rescue and transport disabled vehicles. One thing is for sure though, not all chains are suitable for towing. Tow operators have to have either G70 or G80 chains.

 

The ‘G’ in G70 chain stands for ‘grade’. Industrial chains made of steel are graded according to their tensile strength. The higher the grade, the stronger the chain. A G30 chain is the weakest of the options. This is usually a general-purpose chain made for light industrial and agricultural use. The strongest is grade 100. This kind of chain is made with a strong steel alloy capable of handling heavy loads during overhead lifting.

We explain all of this to say that tow operators cannot take chances with their chains. Any chains purchased with the intent of using them in vehicle recovery have to meet minimum standards for strength. Using inadequate chains is both unsafe and illegal.

Tensile Strength and WLL

There are two factors to consider when using chains to tow or lift overhead. The first is tensile strength, a measurement of how much force an object can withstand before breaking. That is where the grading comes in. A higher-grade chain can handle more force than a lower grade chain.

A G70 grade is capable of handling 700 newtons per square millimeter. It might elongate somewhat during towing, but it is unlikely to be compromised under normal circumstances. G70 chain has a strong enough tensile strength to withstand the punishment delivered by most towing operations. Having said that, it is not strong enough for safe overhead lifting.

The second factor to consider is working load limit (WLL). Although this measurement is similar to tensile strength, it is not quite the same thing. Working load limit measures how much work a chain can actually do before breaking. If a tow truck is towing a car in a cradle, with the rear wheels still on the ground, the load being carried is less because the ground is supporting some of the car’s weight. If that same tow truck were to lift the car straight off the ground, the load would be greater.

This suggests that the same chain may be appropriate for one operation but not another. So tow truck operators have to understand working load limits in relation to the kind of stress each particular recovery will have on the chain being used. Attempting recovery operations without understanding tensile strength and WLL is dangerous.

Towing with a Passenger Car

With just this little bit of information it should become apparent just how dangerous it is to use ropes or chains to tow a disabled vehicle using a passenger car. Yet we see it all the time. You might see a four-door sedan towing a disabled SUV down city streets using nothing more than a piece of rope the driver grabbed from the garage.

Such dangerous towing is an open invitation to disaster. The driver of the tow vehicle can easily lose control; the person in the towed vehicle behind could slam into the vehicle in front by not braking quickly enough; ropes and chains can snap, etc. There is just no good way to tow a disabled vehicle without a purpose-built truck.

No, not all chains are suitable for towing. You need a steel G70 chain at minimum. If you have any plans to lift vehicles rather than simply towing them, you will need either G80 or G100.