Flatbed or Wheel Lift: What Customers Should Know About Auto Hauling

It used to be that towing a broken-down vehicle meant wrapping a couple of tow chains around the frame, lifting one end of the vehicle off the ground, and dragging the car to its destination on the two wheels remaining in contact with the road surface. This form of towing was not really harmful to the big, heavy vehicles of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Today, things are different. Tow operators can now choose between flatbed and wheel lift options to transport vehicles.


As with just about any other industry, there is a lot of things customers do not know about auto hauling. For example, there is more to the question of make and model than just simply being able to identify the vehicle needing recovery. Make and model tell the dispatcher what kind of truck to send. Sometimes a flatbed truck is required while other times a wheel lift is the better option.

Flatbed Auto Hauling

A flatbed auto hauler is a heavy-duty truck with a movable platform that can be slid partially off the truck frame and lowered to ground level. From there, the car can be put on the platform under its own power or using a winch system. Once on board, the car is secured with towing straps and chains.

The biggest advantage of flatbed auto hauling is security. Tying down a car with strategically placed straps keeps it secure throughout its journey, thereby reducing the risk of damage. Furthermore, keeping all four wheels stationary during transport is better for a car’s transmission.

Flatbed auto hauling is the better option for all-wheel drive vehicles, for obvious reasons. It is also ideal for heavier vehicles and luxury cars. The key to safe and successful flatbed auto hauling is properly securing the vehicle with straps and chains.

Wheel Lift Auto Hauling

Old-school towing with the wheel lift method involves the previously mentioned tow chains secured around a car’s frame to lift it partially off the ground. Things are done differently today. Instead of suspending a car on a couple of chains, modern wheel lift tow trucks come equipped with a hydraulic dolly mounted on the rear.

To load a vehicle, the tow truck operator backs up to the front or rear, depending on the car’s transmission configuration. Once in place, the tow truck operator lowers the hydraulic dolly and moves into place. The car is then either driven or manually pushed onto the dolly and secured with tire or axle straps. Lifting the dolly and locking it in place prepares the car for towing.

Just Get It to the Garage

Whether a tow operator is driving a flatbed or a wheel lift tow truck often doesn’t matter to the car owner. From his or her perspective, the most important thing is to get a broken-down car to the garage as quickly as possible. What many car owners do not know is that tow operators carefully consider a number of different things when determining what kind of truck to send out.

As a tow operator yourself, you need to have the right equipment on board whether you drive a flatbed or wheel lift truck. That equipment includes a good supply of auto hauling straps, tire chains, and hooks. We have everything you need at Mytee products.

Your choice of towing equipment and supplies can mean the difference between success and failure as a tow operator. We encourage you not to take any chances with cheap equipment that may not last. Instead, avail yourself of the tough, reliable towing equipment found here at Mytee.

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