What It Takes to Be a Good Tow-Truck Operator

On any given day throughout the country, an army of tow-truck operators takes to the roads with a single mission of helping stranded motorists recover their cars. It is often a thankless job that does not get enough attention when folks are talking about career options. Nonetheless, tow-truck operators contribute to the fabric of the U.S. economy by providing a very valuable service.

 

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What you may not know is that being a good tow-truck operator requires more than just knowing how to load a car onto a flatbed or hook it with a tow bar. It also requires the right equipment. It requires knowing how to use that equipment within a variety of  towing and recovery scenarios.

Towing and Recovery Equipment

There are many kinds of jobs that fall under the towing and recovery banner. The most common jobs involve towing broken down cars to the garage for repairs. Drivers need a full box of tools and auto towing and hauling equipment, such as:

  • Chain bridles with J-hooks
  • Long shank J-hooks
  • Tow chain clusters
  • Cluster hooks
  • Safety chains

Using any of the items listed above requires a good understanding of working load limits (WLL). Pieces should be stamped with a WLL, which should not be exceeded. Experienced tow drivers know that WLL can be maxed out when you are talking about securing a stationary vehicle for transport. The same cannot be said during a recovery operation when pulling a vehicle out of a ditch or through a snow drift adds to the load. A general rule dictates you need more equipment with higher WLLs for recovery than for transport.

Transport Equipment

In the arena of vehicle transport, there are multiple scenarios to account for, each with a unique equipment list. A tow operator may be hauling a wrecked vehicle on a flatbed or with a tow bar, and have no real need to protect the car due to it being a total loss. Then there are repossessions and basic transport of classic or exotic cars.

Other than hauling wrecks, vehicle transport is undertaken with the knowledge that the operator must deliver the vehicle in the same condition it was in at pick-up. Drivers use a variety of thing, including:

  • Tire straps with J-hooks
  • Side mount wheel nets
  • Axle straps with snap hooks
  • Cluster ratchet straps
  • Winch straps
  • Grab hooks

Like with towing and recovery, WLLs have to be part of the equation when securing a vehicle for transport. Additionally, tow operators need to know how to hook and secure cars without damaging anything underneath. This is not as easy as it sounds. One car may be okay with grab hooks on the axles and straps around the tires, while another should never have anything on the axles.

It should be clear that the best equipment in the business is only as good as a driver’s knowledge of how to use it. Therefore, the last thing the tow driver needs to be very good at what he or she does is a strong knowledge of how to use every tool in his or her box in the best way possible.

A good tow truck operator is like an engineer. He or she understands the mechanics, he/she has the tools, and he/she knows how to apply both to get the job done. Mytee Products is honored to be able to serve America’s tow-truck operators with a full line of auto towing supplies. We have everything tow truck operators need for towing, recovery, and transport – from chains to hooks to auto hauling straps.

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