Your car breaks down on the road. You have to call a towing service, but what sort of tow truck should you ask for? Isn't any tow truck as good as any other? No. Calling a towing service that does not have the right type of truck for you car can lead to transmission damage, or damage to the body of your car. While hook-lift trucks used to be the standard, today you should choose between a spectacle lift and flatbed. 

What is a Spectacle Lift?

While a spectacle lift might sound like an invention designed to prevent your glasses from sliding down your nose, the term actually refers to the mechanism that a truck uses to lift your car. A spectacle lift will have a hydraulic arm that extends downward from the bed of the truck. At the end of this arm, it will have two crossbars that create the rough outline of a pair of eyeglasses. These crossbars cradle the tires of your car between them.

To lift your car, an operator simply slides the first crossbar under your tires, then lifts the hydraulic arm. This mechanism should work to lift either front- or rear-wheel-drive cars, but if you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, you will still end up with transmission damage. Furthermore, your car is still susceptible to road damage from potholes or flying gravel. 

What Is a Flatbed Tow Truck?

A flatbed truck will have a bed that an operator can tip back until the back of the bed rests against the ground. By hooking a chain to the frame of your car, the operator can then winch your car onto the bed. The driver then lifts the bed back to its resting position and secures your car wheels to the bed with straps.

The benefit of a flatbed is that your car is completely lifted off the roadway, so you don't have to worry about wear to your tires or transmission. Furthermore, you don't have to worry about road damage. The negative aspect of a flatbed is that if your car is low to the ground, the angle between the winch and the front of your car can cause the chain used to pull your car onto the bed to wear on your front bumper. 

Because there is potential for damage to your car with either a flatbed or a spectacle lift, you should choose your tow truck based on the type of car you have. If you have a front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you should be fine with a spectacle lift. On the other hand, if you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, you should ask for a flatbed tow truck. If you want to prevent uneven wear to your tires, you can always choose a flatbed, unless you have a car that is especially low to the ground. To find out more, speak with a business like Elden Dattage Towing & Auto Repair.