Differences Between A Light, Medium, and Heavy Duty Tow Truck

Towing is not a one-size-fits-all job so there are three different truck distinctions: a light, a medium, and a heavy duty tow trucks. Each towing class is reserved for specific types of jobs and requires particular tools suited to those jobs. To determine the kind of towing that would best meet your needs, you should determine your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Truck Classifications

Towing is determined by weight so it’s important to know how much the vehicle weighs so you can decide whether you require a light, medium or heavy duty tow truck.

In the United States, vehicles are classified by their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Based on GVWR, ratings of 1-8 can be awarded based on a vehicle’s weight. Ratings of 1-3 refer to vehicles that weigh between 0-16,000 pounds. Vehicles with a rating of 1,2 or 3 are considered light duty vehicles, typically sedans. Vehicles weighing between 16,001 and 26,000 pounds are medium duty vehicles and get ratings between 4-6. Vehicles that would require a heavy duty tow truck weigh anywhere between 26,001 to over 33,000 pounds and get ratings of 7 or 8. 

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When To Use A Light Duty Tow Truck

Light duty towing encompasses regular tow truck routines, requiring standard tow trucks and operators. These trucks are meant for small to medium size jobs such as private property towing, accident recovery, towing abandoned cars and traffic collisions. With light duty tow trucks, the towing distance is typically much shorter. Light duty tows often go from one town to another, as opposed to long distances. Overall, light duty tow trucks are specifically designed to experience less stress.

A light duty tow truck differs from a heavy duty tow truck because the tools and equipment are much less complex and, therefore, less expensive. The cost of potential damages is also not as expensive with light duty towing, meaning that the insurance needed to cover these costs is also lesser.

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Using a Medium Or Heavy Duty Tow Truck

While light duty towing is meant for sedans and smaller cars, medium duty towing is meant for larger box trucks, vans, motorhomes, and recreational vehicles. To pull heavier vehicles, these medium duty tow trucks require more substantial towing equipment including landolls, boom lifts, and automatic or low-profile trailers. 

A heavy duty tow truck is reserved for large commercial vehicles such as construction equipment, semi-trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, airplanes, and other large and heavy loads. A heavy duty tow truck can handle the biggest towing jobs because they are equipped with the most complex equipment out of all three towing classifications. Equipment such as a winch, a 25-ton boom, and a 6-ton wheel lift is necessary on a heavy duty tow truck so it can pull off these big jobs. 

Due to the sophisticated nature of this towing equipment, heavy duty tow truck operators must also have intricate knowledge of heavy engines and specific towing strategies for bigger jobs. Heavy duty tows are much longer than that of their light duty counterparts. Towing large vehicles for a longer distance puts more stress on these trucks for extended periods of time and requires a much larger insurance policy in case of any damages.

Light, Medium & Heavy Duty Towing with Accurate Towing Service

Accurate Towing Service offers the very best in a range of towing services including light, medium and heavy towing, as well as roadside assistance. All of our team members are trained and certified in towing and recovery. We are standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and guarantee quick response times to help get you back on the road as quickly as possible. If you are in need of a towing service, no matter what caliber, contact us and we’ll be on our way. 

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