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How Do I Choose the Best Used Wrecker?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 23, 2024
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The process of choosing the best used wrecker is much the same as selecting any other used car or truck, though there are a few unique factors to consider. Before purchasing a used wrecker, you should first inspect it mechanically. The engine should have good, even compression and all other systems should check out. In addition to all of the systems present in normal vehicles, wreckers also have various electric or hydraulic controls that should be inspected. You may also want to consider the type of wrecker you want to obtain, since the specifications of the unit will define the types of vehicles that you will be able to tow with it.

Tow trucks, or wreckers, are trucks that can be used to move other vehicles. Some wreckers are used by tow truck companies that specialize in moving around broken down vehicles, though automotive shops, municipalities, and repossession services can also make use of them. All of these types of businesses are viable sellers that you may want to contact if you are interested in purchasing your own used wrecker. Heavy equipment auctions are another place to look because a variety of tow trucks and rollbacks are often available at these events.

Before looking for a used wrecker, you may want to examine your needs. The types of vehicles you will be able to tow will be defined by the wrecker you choose, so it is important to decide if you want a boom-type tow truck, one with a wheel-lifting yoke, or a rollback ramp truck. Another important factor is the platform that the wrecker is built on, since smaller trucks have lower towing capacities. If you want to be able to tow large trucks, buses, and heavy equipment, you should plan accordingly when looking for your used wrecker.

After you have decided what type of wrecker to buy, you can start singling out units that are within your price range. It is then important to thoroughly inspect all of the various systems so that you can budget for any necessary repairs. The most important factor is that the engine should have good compression, though you can also check fluid levels and conditions to get a good picture of the shape that the transmission, cooling system, and other components are in. You can also inspect brakes, belts, hoses, and other components to determine if you will need to do substantial work before putting the used wrecker into service. Finally, you should check the operation of the boom, yoke, ramp, or other towing mechanism because if these components break down, your wrecker will be out of commission.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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