What’s the Difference in a Tow Truck and a Wrecker?

Tow trucks and wreckers are both work vehicles used to transport heavy vehicles. But what’s the difference between the two?

The main difference between a tow truck and a wrecker is in their ability to recover a vehicle from an accident. A tow truck is usually used to move disabled vehicles from one location to another, while a wrecker is designed for more serious emergency situations, like recovering a vehicle from an accident.

A tow truck typically has an open bed that allows it to carry one or more vehicles on its back. It usually has a winch at the front, which can be used to pull disabled vehicles onto the truck. Tow trucks come in various sizes, depending on the size of the vehicle being towed.

Wreckers are built differently than tow trucks. They have a specialized boom arm that can be used to lift and secure disabled vehicles.

This boom arm can also be used to rotate and tilt the vehicle so that it can be pulled onto its wheels or onto another piece of equipment, like a flatbed trailer. Wreckers are usually larger than tow trucks and have more power since they must be able to handle heavier loads.

Another difference between tow trucks and wreckers is how they are operated. Tow trucks typically require two operators: one in the cab of the truck and one outside operating the winch or other equipment. Wreckers require only one operator because all of their tasks can be completed from within the cab.


In conclusion, there is a clear distinction between tow trucks and wreckers. Tow trucks are designed for lighter loads and basic transport needs while wreckers are better suited for heavier loads and emergency situations such as recovering vehicles from accidents. Both require different levels of operation expertise depending on their complexity – but both offer invaluable services when it comes to moving heavy vehicles around safely.

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James Gardner