Understanding Towing Capacity: How Many Tow Trucks Can A Tow Truck Tow If A Tow Truck Tows Tow Trucks?

Posted on: 22 May 2015

Most people do not know or understand a tow truck's capacity to tow not only cars and pickup trucks, but also much larger vehicles, including other tow trucks. The power and strength of a tow truck service lies in many parts of the tow trucks that the owner uses and deploys. If you have a pulling desire to learn more about how tow trucks are able to lift and move several tons of motor vehicle weight all at once, several times a day, here is what you need to know:

Simple Machines to Complex Machines

At some point in your life, you probably learned about simple machines. Examples of simple machines include levers, inclines, wheels and pulleys. Multiple simple machines combine to create complex machines -- machines which work hard to do very difficult jobs that are ordinarily impossible for both humans and simple machines alone. In a tow truck, which is definitely a complex machine, levers act on pulleys to elevate a platform (the towing fork) into an incline and reduce the weighted load of the vehicle being towed. The towed vehicle's own wheels then contribute to the performance of the job by decreasing drag on the road.

Power, Drag, and Elevation

The power of a tow truck comes from its diesel engine. The majority of tow trucks are constructed with diesel engines, which are heavier and have the ability to push or pull massive loads. Most heavy duty construction equipment is equipped with diesel engines as well. A diesel engine will not burn up or overheat as much as a standard gas engine when the gas pedal is applied, which is key when pulling a heavy object behind it. 

Large, heavy duty tires on a tow truck address the scientific principle of drag, or the amount of wind hitting the vehicle a tow truck pulls behind itself. Without the additional grip of more heavy duty tires, the full strain of towing something falls on the diesel engine. Although the engine is capable, the tires ensure that the engine has a longer life than if a tow truck driver relied on just the engine alone.

Both the elevation of the vehicle behind the tow truck and the elevation of the tow truck itself contribute to its ability to tow any size vehicle, including other tow trucks. A tow truck that sits too low to the ground cannot elevate a larger vehicle off the ground in order to tow it. Additionally, all of the factors previously mentioned combine to create a tow truck's strength and towing capacity, which, theoretically, amounts to two or three times its own weight if and when one tow truck is towing another and those two tow trucks must rely on a third to tow them.

Now that you know more about towing capacity, you can make arrangements to have your vehicle towed with confidence. Most towing companies, like Arctic Thunder Towing & Recovery, can tow larger trucks as well as smaller cars.