Handling broken-down vehicles is an area of expertise that is more technical than it seems. A lot of people assume that towing is just towing, and that it’s a no-brainer. Most picture it like this: You have an out of commission vehicle that you need to get off of the street and into a mechanic’s bay. You call a towing service that comes in and hauls your car or van to a truck into the nearest repair. However, that is hardly the scenario that plays out. Towing needs some valuable specifics, too! Important questions like, how big is your vehicle? Is it automatic or manual transmission? Is it a four-wheel or a two-wheel drive? If it’s the latter, is it front or rear drive?
You have to get the answers in first, before the crew can send you the tow truck. Some streets can be crowded and it would be quite irritating to wait on the side of the road for a truck to arrive, so it is mightily important to get the details correct. Vehicles can be towed with: (a) four wheels ON the ground, (b) two wheels OFF, or (c) four wheels OFF the ground, depending on the tools available to the service that is doing the towing. Drivers most often see the second option on the streets, because of the combination of two factors – simple equipment and two-wheel drive vehicles. Most sedans and vans are front-wheel drive vehicles. Since they make up most of daily traffic, they are also the ones you’ll most likely see on road shoulders and bays, needing a tow.
However, not all services can offer a flatbed truck, which would have been the easiest and safest solution for your vehicle and not everyone can actually afford it. If budget is a concern, then tow dollies are the way to go because they perform and are a good example of efficient and cheap towing. Towing services offer this affordable option to all cars and vans that need a haul.
Dollies work like two-wheeled trailers that lift the front tires off the ground and can possibly finish the work ably like a flatbed truck. For rear-wheel drive vehicles, extra precaution is required to avoid damage to the transmission and the engine. This would entail removing the drive shaft, which connects the axel to tranny and the engine, to prevent friction build-up.