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What Are the Different Types of Wrecker Bodies?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

There are several types of wrecker bodies, from the common pickup truck to a semi-sized body and military type truck bodies. Similar to the various types of wrecker beds, wrecker bodies are commonly selected based on the type of wrecker service that the vehicle will provide. In some instances, such as extreme duty wrecker service, the wrecker bodies are commonly military surplus, heavy-equipment truck bodies attached to a purpose-built, steel chassis. Some long-distance wrecker services, such as those that tow damaged semi tractors for outside of the state, use semi-type truck bodies equipped with sleeper compartments to allow the wrecker driver to rest between driving time during the tow.

The most common type of wrecker bodies used on light-duty wreckers is the pickup truck cab. This type of body allows most beginning tow truck drivers an easy-to-adjust-to style of tow truck. These wrecker bodies also allow easy maneuvering through busy city streets and alleys. Fuel economy typically mandates that the smaller truck bodies be used to lesson wind resistance. It is also common for small, cab-over style trucks to be used as city wreckers due to the reduced length of the wrecker. This makes it easier to maneuver truck in tight parking lots and busy streets.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

For the recovery of wrecked and damaged semi-trucks and trailers, the common style of wrecker bodies used are usually full-size semi-tractors. The larger truck cabs are required to fit the larger truck chassis that the large wrecker booms are mounted on. Often assembled on a wrecked semi-truck chassis, the large truck can easily tow straight trucks, semi-trucks and heavy equipment. When a semi-truck breaks down out of state, the trucking company will often hire a long-distance tow truck to bring the truck back to the company garage. This often requires the tow truck driver to spend two or more days on the road.

Long-distance tow truck drivers commonly use sleeper-equipped wrecker bodies so they can rest along the way. Extreme towing and recovery vehicles often use wrecker bodies made from surplus military trucks. Mounted on custom chassis, these truck bodies are often used to simply give the driver a place to operate the vehicle from while remaining out of the weather. Some of the largest recovery vehicles use wrecker bodies fashioned from flat sheets of metal, doors and windows. These bodies are commonly box-like structures containing controls, and do not usually feature any frills.

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