If you have ever had your car towed or called for towing services to come get your vehicle out of harm's way, then you have probably witnessed the driver in action. In the event that you have never actually watched or seen a tow truck driver hitch the truck to your vehicle, you may be wondering how the vehicle gets safely to your mechanic without falling off the truck. Here are the different parts of a tow truck that tow your vehicle and how they help keep your vehicle from further damage.
The Hydraulic Fork
Most standard tow trucks have a hydraulic fork. This is similar to a forklift used on loading docks. The fork extends down and back to meet the front wheels of the car (although it can be used on the back wheels, but the front wheels are preferable). The fork's prongs are adjustable so that they can match the width between the wheels of your car and help support the car from underneath.
The Tire Boots
This is an extra bar that is attached to the head of the hydraulic fork. It has wraparound car boots, similar to those that city parking officers use to keep your car from moving until you pay your fines. These tire boots, however, serve a more useful purpose; they attach to the front (or rear) tires and secure the hydraulic fork under the car and between the tires. Now the hydraulic fork can lift the vehicle up off the ground without it shifting off to one side or toppling over.
The Power Winch
Some vehicles need a little extra help during the towing services process. They are often heavier vehicles or they are so low to the ground that they need to be lifted up just enough to place the towing fork underneath. That is where the power winch is used. It has a hook that connects to a safe location on the underside of your vehicle so that when the winch lifts the vehicle it does not pull parts of the frame or body's shell away from it.
How the Car/Truck Stays Safe
Now that your car or truck is safely pulled up into a semi-vertical position and its two tires are locked into the tire boots at the head of the hydraulic fork, it is ready to leave the scene. Your vehicle should be shifted into neutral so that it just wheels freely along behind the tow truck. Because the rear tires on your car or truck follow each turn the tow truck driver makes, it is like having a utility trailer following behind him or her, only the tow truck's lift system keeps the vehicle from swaying too far out to any side. That is how your vehicle safely gets to the mechanic after you have called for a tow truck.