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a little more maintenance due to the additional moving parts and hydraulics for the wheel grid system. Keep all of these moving parts well lubricated so they perform as intended. Follow all equipment manufacturer recommendations for inspection and maintenance. Operators who utilize an autoloader must take precautions to avoid damages specific to autoloaders. Due to the fold down design of these units the operator must maintain enough space to unfold or fold the wheel lift to avoid contact with the towed vehicle. If rear view cameras are not utilized, I recommend the operator should exit the truck to perform the hook up so they can watch to ensure there is adequate clearance for the wheel lift crossbar and tire grids. Conventional wheel lift systems are available in an integrated or

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independent configuration with or without an extendable recovery boom and with or without winches. Units with an independent recovery boom offer more versatility for recovery work but reduce operator visibility to the rear from the cab of the truck. Conventional wheel lift systems utilizing an integrated recovery boom also utilize the fold up wheel lift boom design. Conventional wheel lifts may utilize an L-arm style wheel retainer or a scoop or spoon style wheel retainers. The L-arm style wheel retainers are lower profile and fit under low body clearance vehicles more easily. The scoop or spoon style have a higher profile and require a pivoting receiver. This allows the scoop or spoon to be adjusted to the size of the wheel and pivoted into place behind the wheel so it does not have to fit under the body of the vehicle.

The resale value of both types of units can be directly impacted by following the equipment manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule and retaining detailed documentation. I recommend that a vehicle file be maintained for each truck including copies of all manufacturer materials, parts and operation manuals as well as maintenance, repair and proper training for any driver operating the equipment is essential to reduce damage and extend the service life of the equipment. Both autoloaders and conventional wheel lifts have their pros and cons depending on the type of work you primarily perform. Do your homework and research all of the options available based on your business needs, make the decision which type will work best for you.

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American Towman Magazine - September 2021  

American Towman Magazine - September 2021  

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