Tow Truck Buying Tips

Whether picking up disabled vehicles and transporting them to a mechanic or removing cars that are illegally parked to an impound, tow trucks provide an invaluable service. Because they are always needed, starting your own tow truck company can be quite lucrative.

If you are thinking about starting your own towing company, you are obviously going to need a tow truck. Believe it or not, buying a tow vehicle may actually be trickier than it first appears. You want to make sure you choose the best option for your needs, and because there are so many options out there and things to consider, selecting the right tow truck can be a challenge for a beginner.

To help you find the right option and to get your business off on the right foot, here are some things to keep in mind when you are looking at tow trucks for sale.

Know What You’re Looking For

There are a few different types of tow trucks, and each one offers different equipment, features and advantages. To choose the right option for your needs, think about the type of towing you want to focus on and then consider the equipment that different tow trucks offer.

Here’s a breakdown of equipment available and their associated pros and cons.

Sling/Hook and Chain

  • Pros:
    • Durable
    • Generally affordable
    • Good for towing vehicles that have damaged front ends
  • Cons:
    • Heavy chains can damage the vehicle that is being towed
    • Require a great deal of manual labor to operate

Wheel Lift

  • Pros:
    • Easy to use
    • Less likely to damage the towed vehicle than sling trucks
  • Cons:
    • Cannot tow vehicles that are heavily damaged
    • Cannot tow all-wheel drive vehicles


  • Pros:
    • Safely tows vehicles that are heavily damaged
    • Can two both two-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Cons:
    • The most expensive of all tow trucks

Consider the Performance of the Engine

Engine tow performance is also an important feature to consider. You want to make sure that the engine offers enough horsepower to tow the weight of the vehicles that vehicles you intend to tow. Without enough horsepower, too much strain can be put on the engine, which can result in expensive repairs and put your tow truck out of commission.

Check Out the Features

Just like any other vehicle, tow trucks offer different features, and these features offer different advantages. It’s important to understand the available features so that you can determine if they will be an asset to you.

Some of the key features that tow trucks offer include:

  • Integrated boom and wheel lift. With this feature, no manual labor is required to tow a vehicle, which makes towing faster and more efficient. Controls are located inside the cab and enable you to pick up and move a vehicle without leaving your seat.
  • Air suspension system. This features enables a tow truck to self-adjust on all four corners, ensuring maximum tongue weight is applied to the hitch and regulating the weight of the vehicle that is being towed.
  • Downhill braking. With this feature, you can activate the braking system by simply touching the brake pedal. It helps to control speed when going downhill, which minimizes the chance of having braking abilities being compromised.

Look at the Mileage

If you are buying used tow trucks, make sure to check out the mileage. Trucks with high mileage may be compromised by high amounts of wear and tear. This could increase the chances of needing repairs that could not only put your truck out of commission, but could also be costly just in terms of purchasing the tow truck parts needed..