A repo tow truck is one of the most important components of any repossession company. Whether you’re starting your own repossession business, or you’re just looking for the next truck to add to your fleet, choosing the right model is the key to successful, efficient towing. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about the essential features of a great repo tow truck, so you can choose the best option for your business:
Understanding Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The most important consideration when choosing a repo tow truck is the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR. This is the weight that the manufacturer has designated as safe for the truck’s operation. Stopping or steering when pulling a heavy load is already difficult enough. It’s important that your truck has the power to handle the type of towing that you plan to do with your new truck.
You’ll find the GVWR of any truck on a sticker in the driver’s door jamb, right where you look for the ideal tire pressure. This number is exceptionally important to the capability of your towing operation. If your tow truck doesn’t have a high enough GVWR, you won’t be able to tow safely, and you might not even be able to properly install a wheel lift on the truck itself. Here at Minute Man Wheel Lifts, we recommend that any truck you plan on installing our wheel lift on have a minimum GVWR of 11,000 for best results.
Gas vs. Diesel — What’s Right For You?
Though your vehicle’s GVWR is certainly the most important aspect of choosing the right repo tow truck, you’ll also have to decide if you’re going to go with a gas or diesel truck. While any gas or diesel repo tow truck with the right GVWR will certainly get the job done, there are pros and cons to both options, so the decision will ultimately come down to what’s more important to you. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of each:
Diesel Repo Tow Trucks
Diesel trucks have long been perceived as the gold standard for towing, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best choice for your repossession company.
Pros of a Diesel Repo Tow Truck
- Power — Diesel trucks are more powerful, and tend to have more torque for hauling heavy loads.
- Tank Capacity — Diesel fuel tanks are typically larger than a standard truck gas tank, which is ideal for repossession work, where your drivers will appreciate not having to stop to fuel up so often.
Cons of a Diesel Repo Tow Truck
- Cost — Diesel pickups are likely to cost you more over time. Just upfront, a diesel truck costs on average $10,000 more than the same truck with a gas engine. You’ll also want to consider that repairs will be more expensive, and you’ll have to find a service garage with a diesel technician on staff, which can take a bit of searching.
- Noise — Diesel repo tow trucks are well-known for their loud rumbling. This can present issues when your drivers are trying to avoid confrontations and complete a relatively covert job.
Gas Repo Tow Trucks
A standard gas truck hasn’t always been the industry favorite, but they often offer all of the capabilities a light-duty repossession company needs, at a lower price than a diesel truck.
Pros of a Gas Repo Tow Truck
- Affordability — Gas repo tow trucks often come at a cheaper upfront cost than a diesel truck, and are less expensive to repair and maintain than diesel tow trucks.
- Noise — Gas trucks are considerably more quiet than a diesel truck, which is important when your drivers are trying to pick up vehicles without causing a disturbance.
Cons of Gas Repo Tow Truck
- Gas tank capacity — You won’t typically get as many miles out of a gas tow truck as you would from a diesel truck. That means your drivers will have to stop to refuel more often.
- Power — A diesel truck will have more power than a gas repo tow truck of a similar size. That said, it’s important to be realistic about how much power you actually need, and remember that your repo trucks run most of their miles without towing. It’s possible that the added power of a diesel truck won’t outweigh the cost savings a gas truck can provide.
Regular, Extended, or Crew Cab?
The size of the cab of your repo tow truck is a feature that’s often overlooked. While your drivers don’t really need space for passengers, the size of a truck’s cab will change how weight is distributed through the vehicle and can affect the truck’s towing capabilities.
Regular Cab Repo Tow Trucks
In most cases, a regular cab will be the most affordable option. It’s also easy to maneuver, and regular cab pickups tend to have higher towing capacity when compared to other full-size trucks. That said, a regular cab comes with a standard wheelbase, and as it’s smaller, it doesn’t offer the best weight displacement. The cab is shorter, which means the weight isn’t as evenly distributed across the vehicle. If you’re looking for a truck that can handle nearly any light-duty towing job, including those in smaller spaces, this is likely the right cab option for you, so long as you’re not concerned about storage.
Extended Cab Repo Tow Trucks
If you are concerned about how many people you can fit in your repo tow truck, an extended cab can offer you the additional seating you need. It’s also a good option if you need to tow a lot of heavier cars since the extended cab holds more weight at the front of the vehicle than a regular cab. If you’re looking for a happy medium option that gives you good weight distribution and a decent amount of seating and storage, then an extended cab repo tow truck is probably the best option for you.
Crew Cab Repo Tow Trucks
The longest cab type available, you’ll have two full rows of seating and two full-size doors on each side of a truck with a crew cab. Trucks with a crew cab are also much heavier and feature a long wheelbase, making them ideal for safe towing and repossession work. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line repo tow truck that can handle some of the heaviest vehicles, then a crew cab repo truck is likely best for you. Though your maneuverability will suffer, towing capabilities will improve due to the long wheelbase of the crew cab truck.
Truck Bed Configurations
The last major decision you’ll have to make when choosing the right truck for your repossession company is what bed configuration is best for your operation. As you know, most trucks come with a short, 6.5ft bed, or a long 8ft bed. Here’s what you need to know to make the choice that fits your company’s needs:
Short Bed Tow Trucks
A short bed repo tow truck will give you the maneuverability you need to pick up vehicles from cramped spaces. Easily tow from one-way alleys, confined garages, and other small spaces. While a shorter bed is also likely to be more affordable, you’ll sacrifice a bit on towing prowess.
Long Bed Tow Trucks
A truck with an 8ft bed is going to give you the advantage of a firm, safe lift that’s well-anchored by the length of the truck. You won’t have the same maneuverability with the larger truck, but this is likely the better option if your drivers are hauling vehicles a longer distance.
These four major decisions — the right GVWR, gas vs. diesel, and cab and truck bed size — are the building blocks for the perfect repo tow truck for your company. Whether you’re ready to buy the next truck for your repo company or you’re looking for equipment that can make towing easier, it’s time to check out the Minute Man XD Wheel Lift. Saving your company time and money, it’s an affordable business decision that’s sure to pay off. Give us a call at 877-593-6959 or contact us online today to learn more.