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Young woman calling a tow truck on road.

Hook & Chain Vs Wheel Lift Tow Trucks

One of the best things about technology is that it is constantly evolving. That brings improvement to the things or tools that we use. Just take a look at the tow trucks we have today.

Getting your car towed today isn’t as bad as it used to because technology has made it much safer for cars to be towed.

Mention wheel lift towing to someone whose car has stalled, you may get different reactions. Some are okay with it while some will fight you if you strap their car into a wheel lift tow truck.

The reason behind that such violent reaction may be due to what they picture in their head. You see, some people think that wheel lift towing is the same as the hook and chain towing that was traditionally used.

Although both towing procedures lift two wheels of the vehicle and allow the other two to freely roll, there is a big difference between the two. Let us compare and differentiate them.

The Similarities

One of the reasons why some people might confuse the two tow trucks is because they have similarities in towing a vehicle. When a car is towed with either a hook and chain or a wheel lift tow truck, only two wheels are lifted off the ground. The other two wheels are left to freely roll on the ground.

The two wheels that roll on the ground are those that aren’t connected to the drivetrain. If they are, you will definitely see some damages to your car’s transmission. Both procedures also position the car at an angle that may not be suitable for cars that have low ground clearance.

The Big Difference

The big difference between the two is the manner in how the two wheels are lifted. For hook and chain towing, the chains could be looped around the frame of the car. Then the hook will be attached to the underside of the vehicle or the axle.

That can cause significant damage to the vehicle, which is why this towing method is only used for vehicles that are already damaged beyond repair and are to be placed on junkyards.

If your car has stalled on the road and is in need of being transported to a repair shop, the hook and chain towing will not be chosen. Instead, the towing professionals could choose wheel lift towing as the technique to use.

With this technique, there wouldn’t be chains or hooks that would be attached to your car to lift it. This technique uses a yolk that will fit underneath the wheels. Either the front wheels or the rear wheels will be lifted depending on the car’s drivetrain.

The wheels are secured and the car is lifted off the ground with the other two wheels rolling freely on the road. This is safer because there are no chains and hooks that would damage the car.


If you hate waiting for tow trucks to arrive and come to your rescue, the best one to call is ClockWork Towing Company. We are centrally located in the downtown Cincinnati area so our experienced team can get to you quickly at any time of day.

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