Are Tow Trucks Automatic? Find Out!

Are tow trucks automatic

You have to pay attention to details when it comes to towing. One of the things you should consider is the transmission of the vehicle. This is also one of the controversial points when it comes to discourses about towing trucks.

Due to this, many enthusiasts would like to know whether tow trucks are equipped with automatic transmission.

The latest models of trucks are equipped with automatic transmission. This implies that most of the tow trucks you see around, especially the newer models are automatic. This, however, doesn’t mean that all tow trucks are automatic.

There are a handful of trucks that are still manual, which is even the preference of many towing drivers. Keep reading this article for more information.

Read Also: Can I Tow With A Leased Vehicle?

Reasons why many prefer manual tow trucks to automatic

In recent times, most of the trucks that are produced are automatic. There are still a handful of manual transmission trucks. If you ask most tow truck drivers, you will be surprised that many still prefer manual to automatic. Below are some of the reasons for their preference.

Towable weight  

The towing capacity of the truck depends on the weight of the vehicle. However, the transmission of the truck could also determine the weight of what could be towed. Many experts believe that an automatic transmission truck cannot haul the weight that a manual transmission will haul.

While you might be thinking that most fire trucks are automatic. The truth is they are designed for towing and their work cannot be compared with what a towing truck will do.


The truck, irrespective of the transmission, is prone to wear, except if you do not use it. The duration it will take before the truck gets worn depends on your care for it and other conditions. Many experts, however, believe that manual transmission vehicles are more durable than their automatic counterparts.  

Cost of maintenance

According to experts, manual tow trucks are not only durable but are also easy to maintain. For instance, it is easier and cheaper to replace worn parts. If there is any need for you to change the part of an automatic transmission truck, you likely pay higher.


Since you will use the truck for towing, you need something unlikely to give you issues when you are on the way. From experts’ and users’ experience, automatic transmission trucks likely develop frequent issues, especially with the electrical of the truck.

You can be assured that you will use the manual transmission for a longer duration without experiencing any issues.

Comfortable driving experience.

Well, the truth is that many tow truck drivers prefer manual over automatic transmission because they will have total control over the truck. Automatic transmission is computerized and you will have limited control over it.

Moreover, likely, manual transmission trucks respond more swiftly when you shift than automatic transmission, which could lead to a loss of momentum when you shift.

How to maintain tow trucks

Both automatic and manual transmission have their comparative benefits but the lifespan of each truck depends on ownership and care. Without care, you will likely begin to experience issues with any of the transmissions within the shortest duration. Here are some of the things you can do to care for tow trucks.

Regular checking

One of the things that will motivate you as a tow truck driver is when you drive the truck and there is no issue with it. While this is a good experience, one of the things you can do to ensure there is no issue with the truck is to check periodically.

It is recommended that you inspect the truck before towing. When you get to your destination, you can also inspect it physically to ensure that nothing is wrong with the truck. If you notice any issue in the truck while inspecting it, make sure you fix it immediately.

Read Also: Can You Tow A Car Without Plates?

Proper inflation of the tires

It will be disgraceful if a tow truck should experience any issue while towing another vehicle. One of the things that could easily cause issues is the tires of the tow truck. Before you set out to tow another vehicle, you should first check the pressure in the tires.

If it is lower or higher than the recommended level, you should do the right thing. Proper inflation of the tire will also increase the lifespan of the tires and prevent sudden blowout.

Brakes and suspension

All parts of the towing truck must be functioning optimally before you set out to tow another vehicle. A few of the most critical parts are the braking system and suspension of the vehicle. Any unresolved issue with these parts of the towing truck could lead to an accident or other mechanical-related issues.


While this might seem inconsequential to you but the truth is light is important in the towing truck. Any issue with the light could lead to collision or problem with visibility, especially at night or in bad weather. Make sure that all lights such as the tailgate light, headlight, and the others are functioning optimally.

Keep it clean

The tow truck might not be a luxury vehicle but you should always keep it clean. You can wash it with auto-rated soap and water. This will get rid of some dirt residual on it and always prevent quick rust on some parts of the truck. If possible, you should wash the tow truck twice a week.

Some of the things that should be considered before you agree to tow a vehicle

You could be held liable if there is an issue with the vehicle that is being towed. That is why you have to be diligent when you want to tow a vehicle. There are a few things that must be considered before you agree to terms. Below are some of the important things you should consider.

Law of the state

You should know that the traffic law in each state differs. If you must tow a vehicle, you must know the law of the state concerning towing.

The maximum weight and size of what could be towed differ from one state to another. As a tow truck owner, you should know these laws and follow them where necessary.

Registration of the vehicle

A car owner should not have an excuse for not registering the car or when the papers have expired. Before you agree to tow any vehicle, you should first confirm whether the vehicle is registered or not.

You should also ask for other legal documents to show that the person is the rightful owner of the vehicle. Doing this will prevent you from being involved in an unwanted lawsuit.

Weight of the vehicle

Do not agree to tow any vehicle until you know the weight of the vehicle. This will give you an insight into whether your truck can tow the vehicle and if it is legal to do so in your state. You should also know the model and year of the vehicle. This information is what you can get from the manual of the vehicle.

Braking system

It is illegal for you to tow and drive any vehicle without a functional braking system. If you must tow any vehicle, you should first investigate if the braking system of the vehicle is functional. There are alternatives if the vehicle does not have a functional brake.

You can get a truck with a truck bed, install a supplemental brake, or turn on the electric parking brake.

Know the distance

Knowing the location where you are towing the vehicle could help you determine the amount of gas you will buy and how you should mentally prepare. Moreover, if you do not have the license to tow interstate, the distance will suggest if you cannot go ahead.

Some of the dangers that could happen to the towing truck 

Irrespective of the size and the transmission of the tow truck, it could develop issues, especially when towing goes wrong. The following are some of the likely dangers of towing.

Damaged vehicle

Most parts of the vehicle such as the transmission, chassis, engine, braking system, and others are involved when you tow another vehicle. This implies that these parts are prone to damage if anything should go wrong during the towing process.

Due to the stress from the additional weight you are towing, the engine could have issues. This is also applicable to the transmission, braking system, suspension, frame, and others.

Uncomfortable experience

When you are towing another vehicle, you are not only moving yours. You need to be physically and mentally prepared. Depending on the weight of the towed vehicle, it is likely that you experience difficulty in keeping the tow truck in a straight line, especially when you are moving uphill and downhill.

More expenses

You could be lucky that you will safely tow a vehicle to the destination without having any issues. In a situation where any part of the tow truck is affected, fixing the issue will cost you money.

Conclusion – Are Tow Trucks Automatic?

Tow trucks can either be automatic or manual. Nowadays, more automatic tow trucks are being produced. You need to properly care for anyone you have if you want to get the best from it for a longer duration.

Are Tow Trucks Automatic? Find Out!
Are Tow Trucks Automatic? Find Out!

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