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Tow Engineer

NRC Recovery Roller Guide attaches to the approach plate and allows the operator to utilize the car carrier winch to perform recovery work.

Recovery with the Car Carrier by Terry Abejuela

Field Editor Terry Abejuela has 40-plus years of light-duty towing and recovery experience. He is also a light-duty Level 1 instructor for the California Tow Truck Association.


here has long been a debate among tow truck operators about whether or not you can use a car carrier to perform recovery work. Some say you should not use a car carrier to perform recovery work and others say I do it all the time without any issues. In this article I am not trying to convince anyone to do one or the other but just to provide some food for thought on this subject. I believe that it is risky to use equipment in a manner that is not consistent with the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) intended use for the equipment. Manufacturers design equipment for an intended use. They design the equipment and conduct testing to ensure that it will perform the job safely and as intended. When equipment is used in a manner that is not consistent with its intended use it may cause stress in areas where stress was not anticipated and

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

cause damage or a catastrophic failure of the equipment. I recommend you consult the manufacturer before using any equipment in a manner that is not described in the OEM operation manual or other OEM published information. Whenever possible I recommend that a tow truck that is designed and intended to perform recovery work should be dispatched to recovery jobs. However, I realize that we are not always provided enough information and may respond in a car carrier only to discover upon arrival that the vehicle must be recovered back to the roadway or up-righted before transport. First let’s look at using a car carrier that was not intended to perform recovery work and does not have any additional equipment intended for recovery work. The deck winch on a car carrier was intended and designed to load and unload vehicles for transport on the car carrier

AmericanTowman.com | April 2021 • 19

Profile for dortiz-towman

American Towman Magazine - April 2021