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Tow Manager

The Jerr-Dan 6 Ton XLP features Jerr-Dan’s exclusive No-Lube technology for less time on upkeep and more time on the road. Load angles can go as low as 7.5 degrees on the 6 Ton XLP.

The Lowdown on Low-Clearance Carriers Are Low-Deck Flatbeds the Right Choice for Your Tow Operation? By Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens is a towing industry trainer with more than 34 years of towing experience. He has served as a consultant for many automobile manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and companies for service provider education, towability and road service procedures.

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ith the vehicle design changes over the last decade or so, it has become increasingly difficult to gain or decrease the approach angle for loading vehicles onto flatbeds. This issue is compounded by the newer design issues such as lowered cars, low-profile tires, air ride or dropped suspensions—the list goes on and on. These vehicles usually are not easy to load and can be problematic with suspension or wheel issues. We all have the pieces of wood, ramps, or other items to cheat, but are there better loading angles available on the market? Yes, but there have been some challenges along the way. Low-clearance issues require carrier manufacturers to keep up with the auto industry, which can be pretty challenging without communication between the two parties. Information from vehicle manufacturers can be fairly well-guarded until a design is completed and ready for shipment.

24 • November 2021 | Towman.com

The three to four years that a new vehicle model is in development can be critical to advanced planning for towing equipment manufacturers. So the hard reality is that they have to play catchup after a new vehicle model hits the dealerships. There really are two general types of flatbed tow trucks: standard and LCG (Low Center of Gravity) or XLP (Extreme Low Profile) carriers. A few different terms are used in today’s towing industry, all related to carrier height and loading angles such as standard, XLP, and LCG to name a few. LCG is an acronym employed by Century, and XLP is a Jerr-Dan term. Both of these refer to low-deck carriers, but they each have unique features and benefits. The standard would be the regular style used for many decades, and the newer being the LCG and XLP models. The introduction of these newer designs has changed and given us options to align the carrier deck angles with our businesses. These carrier deck platforms can make your company