Most of us know what tow trucks are and what they do, but you may not know how they operate or that there’s a difference in tow trucks that determines what types of vehicles a tow truck can tow. For instance, it takes a particular kind of equipment for a tow truck to tow a motorcycle compared to towing a car, van, or SUV.
However, maybe you’ve wondered if you can tow a larger vehicle like a truck with a tow truck, and if so, how many trucks can a tow truck tow? It’s kind of a silly question, but the answer is a bit more complicated than you might think. In this post, we’ll examine how tow trucks work, the types of tow trucks, and try to answer the question of how many trucks a tow truck can tow.
Types of Tow Trucks
There are actually a few different ways that tow trucks actually tow vehicles, and depending on the type of equipment they use to tow, this will be part of what determines whether it could tow a truck and how many. Here is a breakdown of the three most common types of tow trucks.
Tow Bar – Some tow trucks use a simple tow bar to hold the vehicle in place when towing. The front end of the vehicle is raised and placed on the bar, and then secured by straps or other devices. This works for smaller cars but is not a solid solution for towing a larger vehicle like an SUV or a truck. In other words, this is not a safe way to tow a truck.
Hook and Chain – Whereas modern tow trucks typically use a lift mechanism and secure the vehicle to a tow bar or other device, hook and chain tow trucks still exist as well. Essentially the way this works is that a large metal hook connected by a chain is attached to the underside of a vehicle and when the vehicle is lifted into the air. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the more chains it takes. Again, it would be difficult to transport more than a single truck using this method.
Flatbed – Similar to the same pull-behind trailers that can be attached to a car or truck, a flatbed tow truck transports vehicles by rolling (or pulling) them into the bed of the truck and tying them down. These types of tow trucks are the best equipped to tow a truck, and depending on the size of the bed, multiple trucks may be able to be towed.
Tow Truck Sizes
The other main factor that determines how many trucks a tow truck can tow is the size of the tow truck itself. Even a small tow truck should be large enough to tow a single truck, but there are varying sizes of the tow truck that can handle larger loads.
There are three categories for the size of the tow truck: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. A light-duty truck is typically capable of towing only one vehicle at a time, and larger vehicles are off-limits.
A medium-duty tow truck can usually handle towing multiple cars, such as one in a flatbed and one pulled behind the tow truck. Heavy-duty tow trucks are those reserved for towing things like tanker trucks and semis. These trucks can handle towing several smaller vehicles at once, including trucks.
So, to answer the question “how many trucks can a tow truck tow?” The answer is, it depends. A small truck is likely only able to tow one truck at a time. A medium-sized tow truck can possibly tow two trucks at a time. The largest heavy-duty tow trucks with the right equipment can tow several trucks at once.