Appalachian Towing and Recovery Truck Types.
The best towing and recovery equipment for a specific situation depends on several factors. What will work for the average passenger vehicle broken down along the side of a road will never not work for an overturned tractor trailer in a ditch.
Flat beds are equipped with hydraulics that allow the bed to tilt into a ramp mode, pull or drive the vehicle onto the bed, and then return to a horizontal mode. This method is safe and simple, minimizing the potential damage to the vehicle.
Hook and Chain
Tow trucks equipped with a hook and chain devices have been used for decades, though they are used mainly for totally wrecked vehicles today. The process is to simply attach the hook and accessories to the front end or axle of the vehicle, then lift and tow. The problem is that this method has proven to be damaging to the vehicle and can compromise all-wheel and four-wheel drive systems.
Wheel-lift systems are very common for normal passenger car towing. A yoke-type apparatus simply wraps around the front or rear wheels, without touching metal parts. The towing vehicle simply lifts and drives away. The operator will lift the vehicle by the drive wheels, when possible, to prevent damage to the transmission and drive system.