What is a Flatbed Tow Truck?

What is a flatbed tow truck?

A flatbed tow truck is a huge vehicle that has a flat body with no sides or roof surrounding the bed. These trucks are typically used to transport heavy cargo that will not be harmed by harsh weather or rough roads. There are several designs and sizes to choose from.


Trailers with step decks, also known as drop decks, feature top, and bottom decks. They are used to transport too tall or wide cargo for a regular flatbed.

Even with a tall load, the cargo will ride lower in this type of vehicle, allowing it to pass under low bridges. At ground level, loading ramps make it easy to get on and off the bed.

Stretch single-drop deck

The stretch single-drop deck is a drop deck comparable to the extendable flatbed. Like the extendable flatbed, the stretch deck can stretch to handle freight that is too long for a regular step deck. This implies it can lawfully transport cargo that a regular drop deck cannot.

To secure huge cargoes, attach a bulkhead to the front of a stretch single-drop deck. This will keep freight from falling free during hard braking. The idea is for the cargo to bend and go over the truck’s cab rather than into it.

Extendable flatbeds

Extendable flatbed trailers are sometimes known as flatbed stretch trailers. These trailers are used to transport too lengthy goods to fit on a conventional flatbed truck.

This truck can move freight without overhang, thanks to its extended bed. While some overhang is permissible, bigger loads may necessitate permission and escorting vehicles in specific cases.

Double drop

Oversize freight can be loaded using a twin drop trailer. It can accommodate things up to 10 feet tall. According to Trucking Truth, these trailers contain a well in the center that can carry tall freight in addition to a front and back deck. This well is typically 25 to 29 feet long.

The well does reduce the amount of space available for loading cargo. Furthermore, this type of trailer is commonly used to load cargo that must be unloaded and loaded using a crane.


RGN is an abbreviation for a removable gooseneck trailer. These adaptable trailers can handle tall and long cargo and huge gear. This trailer can be detachable and dropped to the ground. It converts the trailer’s front into a ramp that can be used to bring heavy machines directly up onto the deck.

These trailers are built with ranging from three to twenty wheels, allowing them to deliver massive payloads.


When your cargo are too tall for even a step deck, you’ll need to hire a lowboy trailer. This trailer is similar to a step-deck, but it is also known as a double drop since it rests lower than a conventional drop deck trailer. Lowboys are just 18 inches from the ground and can carry cargo with a clearance height of up to 11 feet 6 inches.


Side-kit trailers include panels, curving metal spines shaped like bows, and stakes around the bed’s perimeter. This gives it a bit of structure so that tarps can be attached as needed, resulting in a trailer that can cover cargo that is sensitive to exposure.

The flatbed tow truck, also known as a rollback or tilt-back tow truck, tow truck, or “rollback” for short, performs a variety of roles that help towing operations run smoothly. It includes a strong winch and hook, a hydraulic system for adjusting the deck, and an efficient control station for managing the operation.

The features of a flatbed tow truck are detailed below.

Deck platform of the flatbed tow truck

The platform or deck of a flatbed tow truck is its most obvious feature. The name is derived from the appearance of a “flatbed.” It is built of aluminum or steel and is used to hold various vehicles or equipment in both mobile and stationary states. There are hollow areas on the platform. Towing chains or ratchets can be placed in these hollow-shaped areas to tie down and secure the cars while driving.


The winch is positioned on the platform of the flatbed deck’s frontmost section. It features a compact design to ensure that automobiles or towing equipment can be accommodated. When the winch system is turned on, a set of two levers can release or wound the winch, allowing the loads to be pulled onto the platform.

Body length

The majority of flatbed tow trucks have body lengths ranging from 19 to 22 feet. They have ample storage for most automobiles while still providing room for towing equipment. As a result, always choose a flatbed with the right body length.


Steel flatbed trucks have sturdy and durable bodies that can withstand towing operations for years with right maintenance. However, although steel-made flatbeds are durable, they are hefty and will rust if not properly maintained and coated.

Aluminum flatbed truck bodywork comprises 95 to 97 percent pure aluminum, with the remainder being titanium, chromium zinc, copper, or a mixture of these metals. The final mix of these metals results in stronger, more durable metals and endure longer than pure aluminum.

Type of cab

When buying a flatbed tow truck body, being prepared is one factor to consider. Although the ability to haul any vehicle or equipment onto the platform is necessary, checking if the truck can accommodate people is also necessary. For example, an extendable cab can give some more room when pulling someone’s car or equipment. This small extra room can accommodate the vehicle’s customer or owner.

Chassis type

While flatbed tow trucks provide several operational benefits, it is also important to note that flatbed body installation requires a medium or heavy-duty chassis. Tow trucks are often used to carry, load, or secure cars weighing thousands of pounds or more. One thing you should know is  that light-duty chassis truck bodies are not right for the job. However, the right chassis type can increase the value of a flatbed truck body. At the same time, this will reduce the cost and time required for maintenance.


Drivers can also benefit from storage bins and built-in toolboxes on the flatbed. Storage bins are typically found at the base of a headache rack or on the side of a winch. They have ample space to store nylon straps and ratchet-strap assemblies. Toolboxes are often positioned in the truck’s side-mount and under-body. They feature a lot of storage space and are made of aluminum or solid steel. A secured 3-contact locking mechanism and OEM-grade weather sealants support the toolboxes.


Most tow trucks and chassis manufacturers can run on diesel or gasoline. Because diesel and gasoline are readily available to fuel sources, tow trucks are equipped with engines that can run on either. There is also an emphasis on diesel and fuel economy and any extra tank space for alternate fuel sources.

Frequently asked questions

In what situations do you require a flatbed tow truck?

There are several conditions on the road that can be similar to a tow truck. Even if the accident or comparable conditions do not occur, you will need a tow truck. You can get in touch with the people that offer tow truck services. You may, however, go online to find a local facility that is within your grasp.

Why would you need a flatbed tow truck?

If you have a big vehicle or a car with an all-wheel-drive system, it is best to hire a flatbed tow truck. Tow truck providers, on the other hand, make sure that your vehicle’s bumper is not damaged throughout the towing process. Then, the only thing you need to do is find companies in your neighborhood that offer  prompt and reliable service.

If you’re looking for a flatbed tow truck service, feel free to contact us today!