How to choose a tow truck?
Choosing the right tow truck is of great importance for our safety and that of other road users. The tow truck must be adapted to the towed vehicle. Sometimes finding a tow truck with sufficient capacity can be a real problem. When the trailer or tow vehicle is heavier than 3,000 kg, its options will become limited.
Finding the necessary information
The operator’s manuals will include towing specifications. You will need them to make the right decisions. However, if you are just considering which vehicle to buy, it can be tedious to find this information. Remember that the towing specification may change from year to year, depending on the model, and even within the same model, depending on the exact specification of the vehicle. We must be sure that the information obtained is consistent with the data contained in the vehicle manual. If we have doubts about the accuracy of the information, we can always seek confirmation from the vehicle manufacturer.
While it is relatively easy to select an appropriate towing vehicle based solely on regulatory requirements, choosing a durable, affordable and reasonably trouble-free vehicle can be much more difficult. There are a number of factors to consider in order to be happy with your choice.
A light vehicle, such as a passenger car, may be fine for the occasional towing, but if we plan to tow a heavy vehicle or far away, we must choose something more robust. However, while a large 4WD may be a good choice if you want to tow a lot, let’s consider something else. Larger size, parking difficulties, high fuel consumption and more expensive maintenance can quickly force us to make a new purchase.
It is also worth checking the towing capacity of the vehicle in relation to the weight of the trailer – but not only in legal terms. Towing can be difficult at any time, especially when the trailer is at or close to the tow vehicle’s maximum height. Where possible, choose a vehicle that has a greater towing capacity than the trailer weight, so there is a margin of reserve. In theory, the larger the margin, the better, within reason of course. However, when selecting a tow truck for towing a heavier vehicle, a large margin may not be attainable as the selection of suitable trailers will be limited.
Adapting the vehicle to the towing requirements
Checking the manufacturer’s specifications can be difficult. Just because a specific vehicle has sufficient towing capacity, we cannot assume it will be useful or durable. Renting a tow truck takes all these factors into account. Sometimes, just by looking at the leaflets, it can be difficult for us to tell which tow vehicle to choose. Really, there is no simple answer to this question. It is best to talk to those who are involved in towing. Let’s ask about the weight that the vehicles are able to haul, how they handle the load, what are the most common problems and how to deal with them, and what changes or additions were needed. Most people will be happy to share their experiences.
Petrol, Diesel or LPG
It is worth considering a diesel car. Many diesels are well suited to towing as their generally high torque and low torque curve are well suited to the task. However, just looking at the specification sheet or a flyer does not necessarily give us a true picture of the vehicle’s capabilities.
Today we can find 2 and 2.5 liter diesel engines with similar power and torque characteristics as engines with much larger capacity. Smaller displacement diesels, which rely heavily on turbochargers and modern technology, may not be as efficient as a larger displacement engine with little reliance on a turbocharger. For towing, an engine with relatively less power and less load will be better.
Diesel engines are better when it comes to fuel economy. However, if we do not travel long distances or do not use a lot of fuel, we can choose a gasoline engine.
Remember that Diesel is more expensive than gasoline. In addition, it is more expensive than to operate, as parts such as filters can be much more expensive.
Diesel fuel is more readily available than gasoline, even in remote regions. This can be helpful if you plan to go somewhere different.
However, let us not immediately dismiss gasoline engines. They may not have the same torque as diesel, but are cheaper to buy and maintain. However, the increase in fuel consumption when towing is likely to be much greater than that of diesel.
Alternatively, instead of paying extra for a diesel engine, we can consider LPG. It reduces fuel costs and is widely available. It is becoming more and more popular.
If we decide to tow frequently, we should take into account more resources for servicing and maintenance. Vehicle maintenance schedules usually specify what additional service is required.