If you own or manage a repossession company, you know that your trucks are your biggest asset. If you don’t have trucks on the road and towing, you’re losing money. That said, there are a ton of options when it comes to choosing a tow truck, some that are more effective and some that are more expensive. If you’re in the market for a new truck or are looking for ways to improve your repossession company’s efficiency, we’re going to break down three of the most popular towing options, and let you know the pros and cons of each.
Hidden Wheel-Lift Vs. Slide-In Wheel-Lift
If you’re familiar with wheel-lift style towing, then you know that both slide-in and hidden wheel lifts function in much the same way. They have hooks or arms that maneuver around and under the towed vehicle’s wheels, and once secure, lift those two front or back wheels off the ground. This is a great towing method for short-distance and light-duty towing, as it gives the tower exceptional control of the vehicle, without all the bulk of traditional wrecker. But, what’s the difference between hidden and slide-in wheel lifts? Let’s take a look:
Also called underbody or under-mount wheel lifts, these wheel lifts are affixed under a truck. The primary benefits of an underbody wheel lift are: 1) it’s out of sight and 2) it leaves plenty of space in the truck bed for normal use. Unfortunately, it is a bit more difficult to install. Many hidden wheel lifts require modification to the frame of the truck and have to be welded to the underbody to ensure they’re secure. This mounting position distributes extreme loads to the rear portion of the truck’s frame, which often results in damage to the truck frame.
The lift’s mounting position also presents concerns for service accessibility and lifespan. A hidden wheel lift’s position under a vehicle makes it hard to get to, which means it takes more time to service, and it’s more difficult to remove in the event that your truck wears out and you’d like to reuse the lift. As far as damage goes, since the wheel lift is riding under the body of your truck, it’s exposed to any dirt, mud, salt, or obstacles your truck goes over. This extra wear can shorten the lifespan of a hidden wheel lift when compared to a slide-in wheel lift.
For most repossession businesses, the slide-in tends to be the favorite. A slide-in wheel lift essentially slides into the bed of your truck, and since repo trucks are meant for towing, the lack of bed space isn’t a concern. Though there is a bit of assembly, a slide-in wheel lift doesn’t require any frame reinforcement.
Since the slide-in wheel lift sits on top of the truck, it’s not subject to the same harsh conditions an under-mount wheel lift experiences, which means it often has a longer life. Its position also means that weight is more evenly distributed across the truck, resulting in improved safety and handling when compared to the hidden-wheel lift. Additionally, a slide-in wheel lift can be transferred to another truck in the event that its current truck wears out. These three reasons alone make it an attractive, versatile option for most repossession companies.
When compared to a tow truck or wrecker, the slide-in wheel lift also offers greater versatility, especially for repo applications. It’s an ideal tool for light-duty towing, and its push-button controls make hauling easy. What’s more, a slide-in wheel lift functions on a much smaller truck than a wrecker. This makes picking up vehicles from tight spaces easy, and it also makes dropping off vehicles at impound lots a snap, saving your drivers time and getting them back out on the road faster.
Wrecker vs. Wheel Lift
There are a few different versions of wreckers or tow trucks, the most common being the flatbed tow truck. Wreckers are great for heavy-duty towing and are most often seen in applications like roadside assistance or accident removal. When compared to the wheel lift, the most noticeable difference is the price.
When a wrecker has reached its max mileage, there’s nothing more to do than just purchase a new wrecker. A slide-in wheel lift has a substantially lower up-front investment cost and can be transferred from truck to truck, even after the vehicles reach the end of their lifespan. This retains the value of the investment you’ve already made, rather than forcing you to purchase an entirely new wrecker. This benefit, combined with the slide-in wheel lift’s low investment cost means you can put more equipment on the road, and get more work done, in less time and with less money that with a wrecker.
What’s more, a slide-in wheel lift offers versatility that a wrecker cannot. Because wreckers are so bulky, they often have trouble retrieving vehicles from tight spaces and parking lots. With a much smaller truck and a maneuverable wheel lift, nearly any car can be retrieved quickly from any spot on the lot.
While all types of towing vehicles have their benefits, the slide-in wheel lift does tend to be the best choice for those with a repo application. It’s easily installed, easily maintained, requires a lower investment cost, and offers a significantly longer lifespan, making it perfect for the light-duty towing most repo companies handle.
Have more questions about the differences between a slide-in wheel lift vs a hidden wheel lift or a wrecker? Interested in a tow truck wheel lift that’s simple to attach and easy to use? Minute Man can help! One of the easiest to use, most durable wheel lifts on the market, the Minute Man XD is simple to install on a variety of trucks and comes at a price point that just can’t be beat. Give us a call at 877-593-6959 or contact us online to learn more today.