What is a Tow Truck and How Much Does a Tow Truck Cost?


Many of us have seen accidental and unattended vehicles being pulled over by some medium to heavy-duty trucks with a boom and chain tow system; such a vehicle is called a towing vehicle. A towing vehicle is essentially a medium to the heavy-duty truck, in a thin spectrum, different trucks of such kind are categorized by the towing operation such as the size of the vehicle to be towed, a geological locality in which the towing service is being performed and weather conditions.

A towing truck consists of a diesel-powered internal combustion engine generally with a cylinder displacement greater than 3.0 liters. Workload and working conditions are the deciding factors for the size and capacity. Tow trucks are fitted with hydraulic or pneumatic mechanisms that power the chain pulling and locking systems of trucks.

There are many different types of tow trucks. Each one specializes in a specific type of towing operation and for specified working conditions.

In plain areas where the road is good, altitudes are nominal; a low to medium capacity tow truck can efficiently serve the purpose, such as a truck with a flatbed and a slope for lifting a damaged vehicle onto the truck.

If the towing operation is more complex such as a tripped goods trailer lying in the middle of the highway, transporting heavy-duty construction machinery, or there is a road accident of a wide-scale, the towing vehicle should have not only a powerful engine but also more powerful towing mechanical system. Under such conditions, a heavy-duty V-8 or W-12 direct injection diesel engine is used that essentially needs with powerful integrated towing mechanism, a hook and chain mechanism, or a wheel-lift towing mechanism is indispensable.

Towing operations and selection of a tow truck is a bit complex when we talk about hilly areas, areas where there is a lot of snow during winters and tropical rain forests. Starting with the hilly regions, as mountainous areas are steep and their altitude from sea level is higher as compared to plain areas, the very first consideration is a selection of a powerful prime mover, as tracks are complex with lots of slopes and the air is thin. Under such conditions, the transmission should be 4×4 at least with differential locks, uphill and downhill assists and vehicle stability controls are essential for smooth, safe, and timely towing operation.

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Towing operation becomes very complex and challenging under snowy conditions. Here the process requires lots of technical skills, more towing power, and excellent road traction. We all know that road grip reduces significantly under snowy conditions; the layer of snow works as a lubricant between the road surface and the tire tread. Under such circumstances, snow tires and tire chains should be used with all above mentioned mechanical mechanisms. Operations in such areas are troublesome for both tow trucks and vehicles to be towed. Towing services in such areas are complex as well as cost you thousands of dollars per operation.  Under such conditions, the towing mechanism should also be very powerful with a versatile hydraulic chain and hook mechanism available at multiple locations of the truck. There should also be firm ground-gripping with a hydraulic or pneumatic foot locking system and different warning and assisting alarms.

Tow truck for tropical rain forests has its own characteristics. They are designed to work in muddy areas and swamps so they must have a powerful engine and reasonable ground grip. Such areas usually have thin pathways so a very large-sized truck is not recommended in such localities. A small but powerful package is needed for such operations.

Tow trucks produced by automobile manufacturers these days are very advanced yet powerful and fuel-efficient. Because of breakthroughs in internal combustion engine technologies and mechanical systems, we are touching perfection in such areas.

Today tow trucks are available for every type of operation and geological location. More advanced and powerful towing mechanisms for better and uniform force distribution are available.

Technology and quality always come at a cost. If we look into a decade ago, a tow truck with an ordinary towing mechanism cost a few thousand dollars. Those trucks were strong and could perform most of the towing operations, but modern vehicles are far more advanced and efficient. Starting with fuels are and engines, there are rigorous emission standards these days and the engines should be very fuel-efficient and their emissions should be controlled in accord with modern emission standards such as EURO-5 and EURO-6, an IC engine fulfilling such regulation must be costly.

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There are many electrical sensors and computer-assisted control involved for seamless and smooth towing operations; a lot of research is being done in this area by many big US and EU vehicle manufacturers.

Towing operation using a modern tow truck can cost you from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars depending on many factors such as type of load to be towed, area in which the operation is performed, distance traveled in a roundtrip and miscellaneous conditions such as operating with a specific set of conditions.

With lots of advancements in communication systems, a tow truck can be called at the emergency location in a minimum possible duration and modern tow trucks can perform towing operation in very less time -saving time and money for everyone.

How Much Does a Tow Truck Cost

As said earlier, Tow trucks come in different sizes and capacities and are designed explicitly for various towing operations. A Toyota or GMs SUV can serve as a great tow vehicle just by installing a towing mechanism at the back compartment of the vehicle Following is a small description of different tow trucks arranged in ascending order of engine and tow power, you will also get an idea of how much does a tow truck cost.

Chevrolet Colorado

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Price: $20000 to $40000*

This American truck is equipped with a 3.6L Direct Injection DOHC V6 VVT engine that delivers enormous power of 308 HP at 6800 RPM and 373 NM of torque at 4000 RPM. The vehicle has an 8-speed automatic transmission and has a towing capacity of 7700 lbs.

Toyota Tundra

Toyata Tundra

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Price: 37000 – 48000*

Toyota Tundra is a very famous off-road Japanese vehicle. Toyota Tundra is recognized worldwide for its power and off-road capabilities apart from that, the vehicle is an excellent tow machine; a standard variant of Toyota tundra comes with a 381 HP 5.7L V8 gasoline engine. The truck is equipped with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The vehicle is loaded with many features such as traction control, uphill and downhill assist and antilocking braking system and a large 10200 lbs. of towing capacity.

Ram 1500

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Price: 29000 to 46000*

Ram trucks are from an American truck manufacturer and are famous for their light and midrange commercial vehicles. Ram 1500 has a 3.6L V6 engine with max BHP 305 at 6400 RPM. The truck comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission with all modern features such as differential locking and traction control. Ram 1500 has a huge towing capacity of 12750 lbs. which is very effective in its league of trucks.

Peterbilt Century Heavy Duty

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Price: Approx $450,000

As the name suggests, this vehicle falls in the category of very heavy duty and professional towing operations in difficult operating conditions. The truck has a 565 HP Cummins X15 diesel engine with Eaton Fuller 18 speed transmission. The truck is equipped with air suspension and a drag capacity of 50000 lb. there are numerous features such as satellite navigation, Shackle Hanger Kit and a spread Bar of 20 Tons capacity

Vulcan MV Extended Heavy Duty

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Price: $140000 to $180000*

This is a modern yet very tough and powerful tow truck powered with a 6.7L Cummins 325HP diesel engine. The truck has a wheelbase of 213 inches with air suspension. The truck has Allison 3000 RDS automatic transmission with air braking and read locking differential. It can handle a towing load ranging from 25 to 50 tones and is equipped with many modern features such a vehicle stability assist.

*The prices may not be valid for all times, click the button with the latest prices for correct information.

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