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34 |

Volume 2 • Issue 7 2013

Tools of the Trade – Essential Lock Out Equipment

28 |

Run Down the Cause of Strains, Sprains, Tears to Protect Drivers and Bottom Line Profits

Wheel Lift & Repossesion | 26

32 |

36| Detroit Wrecker

37| Lift & Tow

38| Direct Equipment

39| Dynamic

RAM Mount Tow Truck

I n du stry NEWS

6 |United Plastic Fabricating 6 |Midwest Regional Tow Show Celebrating 35th Year 8 |The Western States Tow Show 8 |Custer Products Limited Acquires Blades Tow Right Inc. 10 |FTI Groups, Inc.


Fuel 4 thought

12 | Are You a Rocky?

16 | Negotiating with Vendors

44|Ford Midwest Regional Tow Show Seminar IN EVERY ISSUE

Lube tAlk 22| Base Stocks and the Finished Product

4 | Publisher Letter 42| HOOKED UP

24| Wall of the Fallen / Hall of Fame 2

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 7 |

44| Dealers Place

45| Market Place 48| Ad Index




Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery

Volume 2 • Issue 7 2013

Hello to all in our industry, Once again, Tow Professional is growing; we have hired Steve Goodwin as a sales manager to help grow our magazine. Steve has over 15 years in the publishing industry and will be a great asset to our customers and business. Darian and I have known Steve most of our lives, so please help us welcome him to the industry. We recently attended another Tow Show. This one was in San Antonio, Texas, this past month. There was plenty to see at the show. Doc certainly knows how to put on a show and usually gets the credit, but there are plenty of others who make him and the show shine. To the entire industry, I don’t believe that the shows would be what they are without the help of Dennie, Ellen and the rest of his staff. Hats off to them. As this hits your hands, we are gearing up for another show in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The show should be good, but also you have the ceremonies for The Wall of the Fallen at the museum and the inductees for the Hall of Fame. The ceremonies at The Wall of the Fallen made such an impact on Darian and me last year that we knew we needed to do our part to help raise more awareness. Bring your sunglasses and tissue. The presentation for the inductees for The Hall of Fame is also very powerful, and each and every one that will be introduced has earned their spot in The Hall. Between the Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum and The Wall of the Fallen, this is what the industry has as recognition for what you guys do every day, and I encourage everyone to attend. If you can’t, make time for a trip to Chattanooga to learn more about where our industry came from and who has helped lead the way to where the industry is going. Be sure to come see us at the show. Next we’ll travel to Mason, Ohio, for the Midwest Regional Tow Show later in the month. The show is at the Great Wolf Lodge, which is a great venue for a show. There are plenty of exhibits indoors and outdoors, as well as a huge “Beauty Contest” for the trucks to be seen. They dub it as a “Family Affair;” there is plenty for the entire family to do. Of course, there is the show, but at the Great Wolf Lodge, there is also an indoor/outdoor water park and next door is the Kings Island amusement park. Come see us here, as well. In an earlier Publisher’s letter, I referenced a niece of mine who has been in critical care. I had a lot of phone calls and emails offering support, so thank you all. She passed away last week after four months of suffering, but I am confident that she is in a better place. During the course of those months, we had so many friends and family come by that we haven’t stayed in touch with, for whatever reason. Our family has become so much closer than before, and I always thought we were close to start with. I wish that I could thank her face to face for the positive impact that she had on our family while she was suffering. Appreciate what you have…when you have it, it might be gone tomorrow. See you in Chattanooga and/or Ohio, Darian Weaver and Jack Hartsfield Co-Publishers

PUBLISHERS Darian Weaver President & Co-Publisher

Jack Hartsfield Vice President & Co-Publisher

Steve Goodwin Sales Manager __________________________

PRODUCTION Clint W. Cabiness Art Director Kattie Spence Graphic Designers Jill Hasty Managing Editor __________________________

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS DJ Harrington Tom Luciano Dan Messina Dan Watson Stefanie Williams

Executive and Advertising Offices P.O. Box 26308 Birmingham, AL 35260 Toll free: 888-802-8544 Fax: 205-978-1550 Tow Professional is published nine times a year by Over The Mountain Media, Inc., P.O. Box 26308, Birmingham, Alabama, 35260, USA. Tow Professional is distributed free to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscription rates are $57.00 per year in the U.S. and Canada and $84.00 per year for foreign subscribers (surface mail). U.S. Postage paid at Birmingham, Alabama and additional mailing offices. Tow Professional is distributed to qualified Towing & Recovery's Top Decision Makers. Publisher is not liable for all content (including editorial and illustrations provided by advertisers) of advertisements published and does not accept responsibility for any claims made against the publisher. It is the advertiser’s or agency’s responsibility to obtain appropriate releases on any item or individuals pictured in an advertisement. Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission from the publisher.

For a new free subscription, address changes or corrections, please visit and click on the “subscribe” tab.


Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 7 |

I n du stry NEWS



United Plastic Fabricating


United Plastic Fabricating is known for revolutionizing the fire service with over 80,000 polypropylene tanks (POLY-TANKL) designed and installed since 1986 replacing metal tanks, and now produces this same high impact copolymer polypropylene for a complete line of long life polypropylene service, line and wrecker bodies. “From my years in the fire service, I was aware of the UPF POLY-TANKL. In fact, I encouraged my fire company to invest in a truck with a UPF tank. Shortly after getting the vehicle, however, it was in an accident and rolled twice. The chassis was totaled, but the UPF tank barely had a mark. This stuff is so strong, but it’s also lightweight, corrosion resistant and has a longer warranty. I knew this poly material is what I wanted my new wrecker body made of,” said Mark Sexton, Owner of Mark’s Equipment Service, Inc.

PolyBody8 inherrent features and advantages: • Corrosion and Rust Proof • Resists dents and dings • Maintenance free • Lighter weight Improves Fuel Economy • Custom Configurations • Automotive painted finish • Dry compartments • Increased storage capacity • Durable with long life capability • Reduces compartment noise • Roll-up or flush doors The PolyBodyL Wrecker body can be specified as a new or as a replacement wrecker body. For more information, call the UPF at 800-638-8265 and talk with one of our Sales Representatives.

........................................................... Midwest Regional Tow Show Celebrating 35th Year >>> MI



Tow Show

Join us at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, September 26-29, 2013; it’s a “Family Towing Affair.” This regional show consists of 3 states: Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Events Include: •

“Celebrity Auction” benefiting the Ohio Injured Driver’s Fund. Auction items include: Guitar autographed by 3-#1 County Artist; Eli Manning autographed football; 2 tickets to the David Letterman Show; items autographed by Duck Dynasty and 2012 Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski autographed diecast. • Friday Night Boot Scoot Boogie featuring the Nashville band Cef Michaels •

Women’s ANSI Safety Fashion Show

Driving Competition, Beauty Competition, 13th annual Holmes Coming & Antique Exhibit, ‘Light It Up’ Light Show and Lil’ Towers Activities

Saturday Night - Miller Industries hosts a Customer Appreciation

Recovery Billing Unlimited Seminar

For additional information,



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

............................................... The Western States Tow Show >>>


The Western States Tow Show (WSTS) is excited to host towers from across the country at the beautiful Town & Country Resort in San Diego, California, for the 2nd year! Taking place October 10-12, 2013, the WSTS is produced by the California Tow Truck Association and is the LONGEST running Western regional tow show. The WSTS is a great opportunity for towers to see new and improved products and services from some of their favorite companies, as well as be introduced to new companies and products. Also, did you know that attending the WSTS supports your industry? Produced by the CTTA, the show benefits the many causes that the CTTA support, including Industry Protection, Driver’s Relief and the CTTA Education Program. Our host, the Town & Country resort in San Diego, is a unique and beautiful facility that allows our attendees to take in the beauty that San Diego has to offer while participating in the show and various events. Why not really take in the beauty that San Diego has to offer you and your family by extending your trip and

checking out the famous San Diego Zoo, Lego Land or the many beaches nearby? Expect your time at the WSTS to be filled with not only connecting with exhibitors, but we also offer many educational classes and seminars on how to improve your business. There will also be many other events and networking opportunities, from the Early Bird Reception on Wednesday to Miller Industry’s Recovery Theater (a new event this year, not to miss!) and the WSTS Show & Shine and

Driver’s Competition. Don’t miss out on this year’s show… book your travel and register now! For more information, please visit, email, or call 800-874-2860. Hope you see you in San Diego!

........................................................... Custer Products Limited Acquires Blades Tow Right Inc. >>>

Custer Products Limited joins forces with Blades Tow Rights to provide wireless innovative solutions.

North Canton, Ohio, August 27, 2013 - Custer Products Limited has acquired Blades Tow Right Inc. located in Novi Michigan, a longtime producer of quality wired and wireless lite bars. Blades Tow Right, founded by Ed Blades, started in 1991 manufacturing wired tow light bars, while later venturing into the wireless tow light bars in 2008.

What you may not know… Custer Products Limited was awarded their first wireless controlled light bar patent May 21, 1998. Brad Custer and Ed Blades have joined forces to provide wireless technology products to the distribution market place. 8

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

“Blades was an ideal choice because of their quality, integrity and products that will allow us to expand in the towing industry, as well as other new markets," said Brad Custer, President, Custer Products Limited.

About Custer Products Limited Custer Products Ltd has been supplying quality products to the towing, agricultural, trucking, trailer and safety industries since 1993. We currently sell to a network of Distributors throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe. Custer Products strives to provide first-class customer service, quick order fulfillment and innovative solutions, fulfilling our customers' needs.

I n du stry NEWS





FTI Groups, Inc., a leading provider of software solutions, has announced the release of the latest version of its popular fleet management software, sureFleet. The new version includes a new look and feel for the application, along with many upgraded features. This expanded version introduces fuel recording for internal pumps/tanks, fuel reconciliation, vehicle verification and physical presence verification via QR code scans, driver qualification files tracking, expanded user permission controls, and significant enhancements to DVIR / eDVIR capabilities. “FTI Groups is pleased to launch these new features that will allow companies to get even more out of their sureFleet experience,” said Kami Rogers, sureFleet Product Manager at FTI Groups. “Driver qualification file tracking allows companies to keep up with items related to drivers, in addition to the current alerts and reminders for items related to the vehicles in their fleet. We are also excited about the enhancements to the DVIR and eDVIR capabilities. Many of our customers have requested these features, and we are proud to respond by providing this version.” The new look includes improved graphics and visual reporting enhancements. The ability for companies to add internal fueling stations and set low level alerts has also been incorporated. In addition to the internal fueling events tracking, complete fuel reconciliation has been added, allowing companies to validate fuel purchases against billing. Other validation enhancements have also been introduced including vehicle point scans with QR codes to ensure physical presence at various truck points during trip inspections, as well as vehicle selection accuracy. Many customization options have also been added, including improved flexibility for fleet management companies and clients using fleet / sub-fleet security and additional user defined features, fields, and statuses. Report upgrades include

enhanced downtime and cost reporting, as well as expanded management reports including an automated Daily Snapshot report. The option to split work orders to delay non-critical maintenance with reminders has also been added. For drivers, sureFleet allows companies to store driver-related information and documents like license expiration dates, original applications for employment, annual driving reviews, Department of Transportation health and medical certificates and reports, road test examinations, etc. When an item related to a driver needs to be updated or is up for renewal, the company will receive alerts via e-mail as well as on the sureFleet dashboard. sureFleet also provides a resource section with links to a Driver Qualification File Checklist and all of the required documents listed by the Department of Transportation. These forms can be printed with pre-populated driver information included. “Our recent investments in sureFleet reflect our desire to enhance the product for fleets of all sizes. Our customers with 5 to 50 vehicles have a unique set of needs, as do those clients with more than 100 pieces of equipment,” said Jeffrey Godwin, Chief Operating Officer at FTI Groups. “The recent development efforts and our upcoming roadmap reflect a sincere desire to meet the needs of those who support our business. Many great things are on the horizon for sureFleet.” Matt Bartlett with Arlington Wrecker in Jacksonville, Florida, said he would happily recommend sureFleet to anyone looking for a good truck maintenance program. “We have trucks that are all around the country at any given time, and it simplifies keeping track of maintenance, mileage, fuel, etc. The trip inspections are a life saver. We recently went through a DOT audit, and the troopers were amazed at the level of detail in the pre-trip section. The technical support and product knowledge from those involved is second to none,” Bartlett added. sureFleet is specifically designed to help business operations with better tracking and reporting on fleet repair costs, downtime frequency, fuel purchases, and more. It provides data capture and reporting associated with fleet maintenance to record everything from oil changes and fueling information to engine overhauls and accidents. sureFleet mobile is a free mobile application that works in conjunction with the webbased software, allowing companies to manage effective communication with the drivers in their fleet. To learn more about sureFleet, visit


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Fuel 4 thought By D.J. Harrington

Are You a


Does the name Rocky Balboa mean anything to you? Sylvester Stallone? Does that name ring a bell? Let’s talk about the Rockys of the towing industry. Let me share with you a true story. Sylvester Stallone was offered $25K for the script to the film Rocky, to which he would sell the rights to the screenplay. After first meeting with the group, Sylvester wanted to 12

write, direct and star in the movie. They then offered him $75K. He turned it down. More negotiations ensued. $100K and then $175K for just the script, not him as Rocky. At the final negotiation, the final decision was $333K, and he would play the Rocky Balboa part in the film. The group wanted Burt Reynolds to star as Rocky. Can you see Burt Reynolds playing Rocky? I can’t, either!!! Stallone knew he had a winner, and he fought (pun on words there) to make sure he

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

got it. He did not want anyone else to take home “the rewards” on something he knew would be good. He had his dream, and he was going to make it come true. The first Rocky film grossed over $100 million. The Rocky Balboa series has lasted four sequels and won three academy awards on the first Rocky film alone. What if Stallone gave up on his dream? He became a “somebody” from a “nobody.” He lived in an 8x9 foot room and was proud of the fact that he could close his window and door to his apartment at the same time while sitting on his bed. People don’t come to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall where our country was founded. They come to the Philadelphia Art Museum to walk, run and race up the stairs just as Rocky Balboa did. People lift up their arms in the same manner that Rocky did and claim their dreams. They claim their victory over the odds and become a champion. Henry David Thoreau once said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Let’s consider several Rocky Balboas of the towing industry. Tom Luciano from Miller Industry, whom I wrote about in last month’s issue, is a good example. He collects fishing equipment for kids without dads. Some fishing poles arrived at my home in Georgia today. Thank you, Recycler’s Power Source, as they were received safely. Tom did a great job at the Tow Expo in San Antonio, Texas. He’s a Rocky Balboa! True! The bleachers were over-packed. Due to my flight schedules, I arrived only 10 minutes late and had to stand with a bunch of other towers. All of us were willing to do it because we wanted to learn the newest and safest way to work a recovery so that all towers could return home to their families and not be memorialized on the wall of the fallen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Another Rocky in my book is Randall C.

Fuel 4 thought Resch, who is a field editor of American Towman magazine. He’s a better presenter than me and presented twice at the show. He presented “Preserving Evidence at the Accident Scene” on Friday and “The Police-Tower Relationship” on Saturday. Both classes had great attendance. The only time you get to hear him is at a show. Take note of his next class. He will present at the show in Baltimore. You can read his articles as well in the American Towman magazine. Randall knows the industry and has been a former police officer and GM of a big tow yard. So, he’s well-rounded. Listening to him is like going to graduate school. There are other “Rockys” in the industry. In San Antonio you had a great speaker besides me, John Borowski. He spoke about “Turning Clean-up into a Revenue Source.” Terry Abejuela, American Towman Field Editor, and Rich Rubach had mini-clinics all day Friday and Saturday. Also Rocky Balboas! Another Rocky is Dan Messina. He can be found in every issue of Tow Professional magazine. He’s great. However, in person, he’s fantastic. He spoke about hiring and retaining


key employees. He, like John Borowski, was “Towman of the Year.” It’s not every day you get to hear from your peers. You do have to attend the shows to hear these Rocky Balboas! The upcoming Tennessee Tow Show is scheduled for September 19-21. Go online and learn more about that one. The same weekend, I’m scheduled for California to speak at the state Auto & Truck Recyclers association. It has taken five years to get on the agenda; therefore, I won’t be able to attend the Tennessee Tow Show. I hate to miss it, but know it will be a good one. While you’re at the show, tell Dan Messina “hi” for me. He is doing a class on “How to Get Out of Debt.” Another great speaker is Bill Giorgis from Tow Times. His topic is “Documenting a Scene.” He also has a class called “Safety-Safety-Safety.” He’s a Rocky! Bill Giorgis and I are both speaking at the Midwest Regional Tow Show in Mason, Ohio, on September 26-29. Let me share with all of you that this show is by far voted #1 for families. It’s a family affair. I am now a grandfather of three grandchildren. I want to live long

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

enough to take my grandchildren to this show. Towers come from all over the world. Lots of activities are available for “lil towers” at the show. If you are not proud of your profession

when you arrive, you will be when you leave. The facility is the best at Great Wolf Lodge. I’ve been there five times, spoken there twice, and will be speaking again soon. Bill Giorgis and I will facilitate a class together about “Keeping the Family Running in a Family-run Business.” One last word about Bill. He’s definitely a “Rocky.” He writes an article every month for Tow Times magazine. His articles on safety should be printed and passed out copied for every safety meeting at your place; he is a great asset for Tow Times. Tow Professional, not to be outdone on safety, in the last issue, had a great article on safety from Tom Bray who wrote on “Hours of Service for Tow Professional.” This article should be cut out and stored with your state papers and log sheets. It would be wise to have your drivers sign that they have read the article. Tom is senior editor, transportation management for J.J. Keller & Associates. He has helped our industry for well over 20 years. Thank you, Tom, for being a Rocky Balboa. Some of you who just read this article may not believe that I spoke well about Tow Times

and American Towman magazine. The upcoming two shows, some are sponsored by Tow Times and American Towman, while some, like Midwest Regional, are sponsored by state towers. We need to stop fighting among ourselves and keep everything good inside our “ring.” Let’s knock out the internal bickering and eject it from the ring. The more we fight internally, the wider the door becomes to allow outsiders to take over our industry. I’m talking about characters such as “Mr. T” from a sequel to Rocky. He’s the fighter that came eyeball to eyeball with Rocky, taunting he was going to take Rocky down. There are companies with the “Mr. T.” mindset that are ready to take us down. I am speaking about new companies infiltrating cities performing city police tows. They are telling our industry they are “reinventing the municipal towing business.” We keep fighting amongst ourselves, and they come in to take over contracts. They ask the existing towers to take less money and they manage this for the city. While owning your own tow business, would you rather be “managed” or

be in charge of what you do? Are you in the ring, waiting for your chance to dream? We need a Rocky Balboa! We need him now. Is it you? Me? All of us? We need a Rocky to step forward, run the stairs with purpose and enthusiasm, raise his or her arms, and declare to the industry, end-users and all the “reinventers”: NO MORE OF THIS STUFF! THIS IS OUR INDUSTRY, AND I’M PROUD TO BE A SMALL PART OF IT!!” Thank you, Tow Professional magazine, for printing this article and being a Rocky Balboa. If I have offended any reader or member, please accept my sincere apology. I am for the towers - family-based and family-run businesses. See you at the next Tow Show. TOW D.J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation He can be reached at 800-352-5252 or by email at | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



VENDORS I was holding an auction one day, and I was talking to several of my salvage buyers, who were all good friends of mine. I asked one of them about a car I was selling, and his answer to the question was not totally true. As a result, he purchased the vehicle for less than it was worth. I asked him after the auction why he told me one thing and then purchased the vehicle cheap. He said, “Dan, we are good friends, and we golf once a week. I’m also good friends with all the other salvage buyers, and we see each other at all the auctions, but when the auction starts, it’s all business. When it’s over, we all go to lunch, and we are friends again.” I learned a very valuable lesson that day. I was at two tow shows in August, and I watched towers talking to vendors and purchasing products. The towers are dealing with the same vendors they have been dealing with for years. For the towers, it’s all friendship, but to the vendor, it’s all business. The tower may think he is getting a deal, but he might want to learn to negotiate better. When I was about to purchase a new truck, I had friends who were vendors, but they knew I was looking for the best deal. Towers have to remember that when they are dealing with vendors, even if they are friends, it’s all business.

questions that are none of the vendor's business. The vendor is on a need-to- know basis. Vendors will ask leading questions to lead you towards a truck they want you to buy, not necessarily a truck you need. All they need to know is that you are looking for a truck.

3. Always tell the truth. Not only is it morally and ethically correct, but it saves you from having to remember what you said in lengthy negotiations.

4. Don't tell the vendor that you love the product. I would tell the vendor that his truck was just like his competitors. Ask him what makes his truck different.

5. Don't tell the vendor how much you have budgeted for the project. If a vendor knows you have xxxx to spend on the truck he sells, you will pay xxxx.

6. Never disclose another vendor's pricing or other confidential in-


Here are a few things to remember when negotiating: 1. Never tell the vendor which vendors, or how many, are left in

7. Be patient. Fight the urge to rush the project. Drag the pur-

the running. If you are buying a truck, let vendor A know there is a vendor B, and C, but don’t let them know who they are.

chase out as long as possible days, weeks, even a month or two if you can, and wait until the end of the month or quarter if you can.

2. No matter how much they pressure you, don't answer any

8. Don't tell the vendor the deadline for the purchase.

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |


9. Do highlight the strengths of your organization and why you would be a good client. Let the vendor know that if you get a good deal now, he could have you as a future customer.

10. Understand that some commitments are a two-way street. For example, if you negotiate a firm delivery date, not only must the vendor be ready, but you must be ready also.

gotiations and reconvene at a later date and time. Remind yourself that it’s all business.

15. Don't become angry or overly excited. This can be an emotional process, but keep your emotions in check.

11. Never say, "We're going to buy your product. We just have to

16. Keep in mind that salespeople sell. You rarely see them after the sale is made. Therefore, get verbal commitments from salespeople in writing.

work out the details." Never let a vendor know they are the winner; let the details of the deal dictate that.

17. Ask for contract modifications where applicable.

12. Let the vendor make the first move when it comes to offering financial incentives and price reductions. They may be willing to reduce the price more than you think. Phrase the question, "What financial incentives are available should we purchase your product?” Don’t play vendor against vendor, but let them know they are offering the same incentives as others. 13. Never underestimate the importance of silence. A long pause after making a point can be quite effective. 14. Peel the onion. Understand that negotiations are not a sprint but a marathon. Take your time, and don't be afraid to cut off ne-

18. Beware the bargain. 19. Consider your vendor friend the leader until unseated. Towers, as hard as they work and how successful they may be, are poor negotiators. I think it’s because they build a relationship with a vendor, and they trust everything that vendor tells them. As a tower, there are many things you need to purchase to run your business. If you look at your monthly expenses for these items and cut 10%, you would be shocked at the money you can save. I talked to many towers nationwide, and you would be surprised how many don’t know how much money they make or the | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


expenses associated with their business. When I ran my business, I knew what it cost to do a tow, and how much money I madewhen I towed a vehicle. I knew every expense, and this allowed me to make cuts in areas where I was losing money, and increase productivity in areas where I was making money. I was in Illinois recently, and a towing consultant told a tower he was losing $25 every time he towed a car. The owner said not to worry, that he would make it up in volume. As the owner of a towing company, you are not just a tower, but a businessman. Follow these tips, and you can get better deals with the products you purchase, and they may help you when submitting a bid on a contract.

Let’s look at a few more tips to follow: 1. Don’t volunteer or initiate pricing with the supplier. Keeping a vendor in the dark about your project budget or price expectations will defend you against your vendor asking for as much as you’re willing to pay. Generally, a vendor won’t volunteer a price that’s out of line with normality unless you give them a reason to. One of the best examples of this was the one time I mentioned my budget. I was acting in good faith and told my vendor I had a budget of $95,000 for the project. Miraculously, this is exactly the figure I was given at the end of the negotiation. I shot myself in the


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

foot, but learned a valuable lesson. No doubt, if I’d known then what I know now, I would have gotten a price at least 20 percent less.

2. Ask for their best price to start. Of course, an experienced vendor will never give you their best price immediately. • Ask if they can do better than this, as you have other competitive quotes for the same product. • Ask if they can cover the shipping cost.

• Ask for additional things at no charge hat don’t cost them that much or are high margin items for them, such as upgrades or an extended warranty (extended warranties are especially nice options if they don’t have any room to move on price and they are confident about their product). If your vendor doesn’t come in with a competitive price, let them know. I used to follow up with the sales reps as soon as I had three quotes, and, in fairness, tell them that they didn’t come in at the best price, but suggest they call me again if they had a special, sale, or could otherwise provide me with a better price in the near future. Strangely, I was often told, “As a matter of fact, we are having a special next week.” It was an easy way for them to come back with a sharper price without losing face. | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


3. Try to understand where the sales rep makes their money to structure the deal accordingly. Some reps work on a base salary and only get commission on accessories and warranties. By suggesting you pay full price on these, the rep may be able to provide a deeper discount on the base unit. Be flexible – you’re only interested in the bottom line, but the sales person may not be.

asked for a discount. Delivery can often be sped up if you impress upon them that this will be an important factor in selecting them for the NEXT job or order. Sometimes the local sales rep will handdeliver at no charge if you ask – suggest that this might also be a good opportunity for them to get in front of you to show you other products or perhaps drop off some additional literature.

7. Make sure you’re aware of the point of delivery (FOB) 4. If delivery is not critical, consider making the order near the end of the month, end of quarter, or end of year. Sales reps may need a quick sale to boost their overall sales numbers and will be more likely to cut a deal at these times.

5. Negotiating price can also be helped by bad economic news. Check the website and the Internet for company news. Search for corporate intelligence than can provide important insight into your vendor’s motivation to make a deal…like “last quarter’s sales were down” or “inventory levels were up.” Knowledge is power, and as far as knowledge goes, these pieces of information are as good as currency.


and the delivery charges. Some foreign products may seem less expensive, but when you factor in customs clearance, brokerage, duty, etc., they often end up being the same price as buying local. This is often the case for small value items. Always make sure to factor in the exchange rate for foreign currency transactions. Ultimately, you need to be able to compare “apples to apples.” Made in America is not a bad thing. Support your local vendor when you can. So many times, we buy our equipment from the same vendor because we have been doing it for years. It’s time to go for the best deal and save money whenever you can, even if you are dealing with friends. TOW

6. If delivery is the big issue, you may want to accept a

Remember it’s all business.

higher price but with faster delivery. We sometimes paid twice the price for emergency parts, but I still

Visit for more information.

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Lube tAlk

By Dan Watson


Stocks and the

Finished Product In the preceding Lube Talks, we covered selecting the correct oil by understanding the API and SAE classifications system. Additionally, the basics of motor oil formulation, including oil functions, additives and base stocks were addressed. Base stocks were touched on briefly, and now it’s time to take a closer look at the properties of base stocks to better understand differing performance qualities in finished lubricating oils. From what we have learned, it may seem like the only thing we need to do is pick a base stock oil, mix in some additives and, presto, we have lubricating oil. If only it was that simple. Of course, it’s not. When refining crude oil into usable petroleum, base stock groupings are established to rate the oil’s physical characteristics. As you can see in Table A, there are five groups, and the physical and chemical properties measured are Viscosity Index, Saturates, Sulphur and Other. The Viscosity Index (VI) measures how responsive the oil is to changes in temperature; a high VI reflects a slow response to changes in temperature. Saturates are defined as the hydrocarbon alkanes, in other words, this is the actual petroleum used for the base stock; the groups 22

are separated by percentage. Sulphur content is measured with concordant limits established for the groups; no Sulphur would be the best. The category of ‘Other’ is reserved for synthetic base stocks that exceed the requirements of the grouping process for petroleum base stocks. Synthetics are pure hydrocarbons with very high VI and zero percent Sulphur, so they are in separate groupings. Selecting a Base Stock Selecting a base stock will obviously have a direct bearing on the quality of the finished product. If cost is no concern, then all finished oils would be made using one of the synthetic base oils since they result in the best lubricating oils. However, cost is an important factor and will always be a consider-

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ation in choosing base stock oils. Most oils are manufactured by a reverse process where the final performance requirements dictate the quality or lack of quality of the ingredients. If the manufacturer is making an oil to meet the minimum performance criteria for the current classification, then no money will be spent on anything more than an adequate base stock. On the other hand, if the manufacturer is producing a high performance oil, then he will spend what is reasonably necessary to produce the final product’s higher level of performance. Considering that 95% of modern motor oils are multi-grade oils, the base stock oil will be a determining factor in the amount of Viscosity Improvers (VI) added to achieve the grade range of the finished oil. The lower the quality of the base stock, the more viscosity improver required in order to make

the oil multi-grade (i.e., 5W-30, 10W-40, etc.). VI additives are long chain, high molecular weight polymers that may serve some additional functions such as pour point depressants or dispersants. They are expensive and under extreme stress may suffer mechanical sheer. In most cases, it makes sense to use better quality base stock oils in order to use less viscosity improver additives. Some synthetic base stock oils (Poly Alpha Olefins – PAOs and Esters) have such high natural Viscosity Indices that little if any additives are used to achieve the multi-grade finished product. These synthetics can pass the 5W viscosity test (winter) and the 30 viscosity (operational viscosity at 210*F) without the aid of viscosity improver additives. Today, most petroleum base stock oils come from Group II (see table A). Group II oils are a definite improvement over Group I oils and current petroleum based oils are much better than those of 20 years ago. Synthetics are a little more varied than petroleum base stocks and are split between Group III hydro-cracked petroleum, PAO’s and Esters. Today, most synthetics for motor oils are made using Group III base stocks. Mobil and Amsoil continue to use Group IV PAOs (Amsoil blends Ester with PAO) with Redline oils coming primarily from Group V Esters.

API Classification It has been said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.” When formulating lubricating oils, this is more a law than a quaint phrase. It is imperative to know the required functions and performance of the finished oil prior to starting the design. The API (American Petroleum Institute) forms a committee to collect the requirements from the Original Equipment

Manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Cummins etc. Then the OEMs and the major oil companies hammer out the specific lubricating properties for a proposed classification. A series of performance tests are selected or developed and certified by the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) for qualifying prospective oils that meet the classification standards.

Continued on page 26

Selecting Additives As detailed in the previous volume of TP Lube Talk, oils cannot meet the requirements of the finished product without the aid of additives tailored to those requirements. Additives are chemical compounds designed to enhance specific properties of the finished lubricating oils. They can either add something new to the lubricating oil or enhance an existing property. All additives are not created equal. The quality of additives varies over a very wide range, and you get what you pay for. Additives are selected to support the final product and vary for motor oils, gear oils and transmission oils. These different applications require the oils to function in specific ways to provide lubrication for the specific application. | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Lube tAlk Following this, the oil manufacturing company can begin to develop formulations of finished lubricating oils for testing to insure they meet the latest API classifications. Blending the Finished Oils Blending lubricating oils is part science and part art. Experience is as important as hard


chemistry. The results one might expect for a given chemical equation are not always exactly what you experience with the finished product under real-world evaluation. Field trials are sometimes the only reliable tests to determine how a particular formula performs. Because of this, most companies begin in the lab with expected concentrations of additives and perform the required

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certification tests. The results of the lab tests help make adjustments to the additives and maybe the base stock as well. The level of quality demanded by the manufacturer will determine how much time is spent trying to achieve the best balance with regard to additives. The quality and type of base stock oil will affect how much of a particular additive must be used to overcome a weakness in the base stock oil. For example, petroleum oils are particularly susceptible to oxidation and require oxygen stabilizers whereas synthetic PAOs resist oxidation naturally and require minimal oxygen stabilizers. As you can see by the upper half of the graphic (figure one), synthetics are much less volatile than petroleum oils. Uniform molecular structure reduces the evaporation of light weight molecules, enhancing the synthetic oil's ability to endure elevated temperatures without thickening. On the other hand, the purity of the synthetic base oils, – contaminates such as wax are eliminated – allows for significantly lower pour points and, in turn, easier starting in cold weather conditions (lower half, figure one). Not all oils are created equally. The above chart shows the performance of seven motor oils in two categories: oil evaporation expressed in percentage and pour point expressed in degrees Fahrenheit. The two better performers (green) relative to the others are synthetics; the second from the left, the poorest performer listed, is a synthetic blend – as is the oil furthest to the right. Once the correct blend of additives and base stock oils is determined and all lab tests and selected field trials are complete, mass production begins. Oils are blended in various size tanks and mixed to insure uniform concentrations. The quality employed by the blending team is directly reflected in the consistency of the finished product. Samples are drawn and compared to required chemistry to insure the blend is acceptable and that the containers are filled with oil meeting the specifications on the label. Quality varies within the industry. Every year, spot testing around the country reveals oils that do not meet the standards proclaimed

Comparing Motor Oils: Petroleum, Sythetics and Blends (Figure One) 10%




9.18% 8.84%

8% 7.49%

6% 4%



Evaporation / Volitility (ASTM D-5800)


Pour Point (ASTM D-97)







-30°F -40°F -54°F



on the label of the container. It is a shame these reports of failed spot checks are not published for the public to see. Companies are sometimes fined, but it would be nearly impossible to find any paper trail of these fines. Remember, you usually get what you pay for. You may have heard the statement, “Oil is Oil; there’s really no difference. It doesn’t wear out; it just gets dirty.” Hopefully, these articles have helped you to see this statement as a silly oversimplification of the actual complexity of lubricating oils. Next time, I will shift gears and compare petroleum-based oils with synthetic based oils. We will investigate when it makes sense to use one or the other of these oils. TOW


Not all oils are created equally. The above chart shows the performance of seven motor oils in two categories: oil evaporation expressed in percentage and pour point expressed in degrees Fahrenheit. The two better performers (green) relative to the others are synthetics; the second from the left, the poorest performer listed, is a synthetic blend – as is the oil furthest to the right.

For questions and/or comments, contact me via my website,, or by email at | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



RUNSprains, DOWN Strains, Tears, the Cause of B y St e f a n i e W i l l i a ms

to Protect Drivers & Bottom Line Profits Identifying the risk factors that can cause damage to a worker’s body leading to musculoskeletal disorders and implementing proper control measures are critical steps in protecting workers and bottom line profits. In many industries, the physical demands required to perform job tasks are taking a toll on worker health and the company’s bottom line profits. In 2011 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that for all private industry employers, 40 percent of the injury and illness cases requiring days away from work were attributed to three types of events or exposures: falls on the same level, struck by object or equipment, and overexertion in lifting or lowering. For drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks, the leading cause of injury requiring a median of 20 days away from work to recover was overexertion and bodily reaction. Bending, twisting, stretching, squatting, and repetitive hand and arm motions needed to carry out vehicle recovery tasks can put drivers at risk. Identifying the risk factors that can cause damage to a worker’s body leading to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and implementing the proper control measures are critical steps employers must take to prevent unwanted injuries and downtime. MSDs are injuries and disorders of the soft tissues ― muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and cartilage ― and nervous system that affect nearly all tissues and most frequently involve the arms and back. These painful and often disabling injuries generally develop gradually over weeks, months, and years as a result of exposure to multiple risk factors that can cause or exacerbate the disorders ― not from a single event or trauma such as a fall, collision, or entanglement. MSDs can cause a number of conditions, including pain, numbness, tingling, stiff joints, difficulty moving, muscle loss, and sometimes paralysis. Frequently, a loss of work time is required to recover; however, some workers may never regain full health.

What are MSDs?

What causes work-related MSDs? Work-related MSDs occur when the physical capabilities of a worker does not match the physical requirements of the job. Repetitive or prolonged exposure to twisting, forceful, or flexing motions during a typical workday can subject workers’ shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, backs, and legs to undue physical stress. The first step in identifying the risk factors tow truck drivers face is to think about the conditions that are likely to cause MSD problems. These are: • Exerting excessive force. Pushing and pulling equipment in place to 28

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secure tow ropes or to get the vehicle prepared for towing can put excessive stress on the body. • Using excessive repetition of movements.Repetitive hand and arm movements required to operate lifting mechanisms or other vehicle components can irritate tendons and increase pressure on nerves. • Maneuvering body into awkward postures or unsupported positions. Stretching across or down vehicles while attaching towing equipment can compress nerves and irritate tendons. • Exposing sensitive body tissues to contact stress. Exposing sensitive body tissues to pressure with a hard or sharp object such as grasping tool handles can concetrate force on small areas of the body. This can reduce blood flow and nerve transmission and damage tendons and tendon sheaths. • Inadequate recovery time. Overtime, lack of breaks and failure to vary tasks can leave insufficient time for tissue repair. • Excessive vibration. Vibrating tools and equipment can decrease blood flow,

damage nerves, and contribute to muscle fatigue. This includes whole-body vibrations from driving a tow truck, which can affect skeletal muscles and cause low-back pain. • Working in cold temperatures. Cold temperatures can adversely affect a worker’s coordination and manual dexterity andcause a driver to use more force than necessary to perform a task. Involve workers in the analysis of ergonomic job hazards and the control process by talking with them about the tasks being performed that may relate to MSDs. This approach may be something as simple as talking with them informally or as part of a regular company meeting. Another way is to have affected workers fill out a survey form or questionnaire. Whatever method chosen, be sure to pose the questions in a way that elicits useful information and do not prejudge the answer. Also, consider observing workers while performing their jobs and evaluating the magnitude, frequency, and duration of exposure to MSD-related risk factors. Job observation allows employers to see how workers are doing the job and provides information

about the tools, methods, equipment, and work conditions that may contribute to MSD injuries.

What non-work-related factors contribute to MSDs? Risk factors not related to work can also cause or contribute to MSDs. Taking the time to educate drivers on some ways to stay physically and mentally healthy may be a wise investment of time and money. Some examples of non-work-related factors to be aware of include: • Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and arthritis • Physical or social workplace stress • Physical conditioning and certain sports What are the control measures? The second step is to prevent or control MSD hazards by designing the job to fit the worker, which includes selecting the appropriate tools and equipment for that job. Based on a job hazard analysis ― a process that involves breaking a job down into its small steps to understand the existing or potential hazards ― | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


S A F E T Y procedures can be established to correct or control risk factors.

Consider the following control measures: Engineering controls: Make sure that equipment is designed and maintained to handle the jobs that will be faced. This includes purchasing or redesigning trucks with ergonomically designed driver seats, interior noise reduction features, air-ride suspension, and automatic transmission. Parts, equipment, and accessories such as winch and towing/lifting cable must be able to safely handle the load that will be placed upon it. Also, do not modify the equipment's capacity or safety features without the manufacturer's written approval. Administrative controls: Provide and ensure use of personal protective equipment required for the job. Knee pads, vibration-reducing gloves, protective footwear, and similar equipment can reduce or prevent MSDs. Also, make sure drivers make full use of any mechanical devices that can aid in loading and/or unloading disabled vehicles and use proper techniques when lifting or moving equipment and


materials. Work practices: Ensure that all drivers have been trained on the equipment they will use and job hazards that may be encountered. Understanding the common causes of MSDs, how to prevent them, and the signs and symptoms of stress on nerves, tendons, muscles, and upper extremities are key to preventing serious MSD injuries. In addition, consider the following preventive measures. Early preventive measures and detection are usually the best defense against MSDs. Simple stretching exercises can help prevent or reduce MSDs. These include: • Body stretch. Stand up straight, raise arms over head with hands close together, and reach for the ceiling. Hold this position for five to ten seconds, and repeat three to five times. • Shoulder blade stretch. Clasp hands behind head and try to pinch shoulder blades together. Hold this position for five to ten seconds, and repeat three to five times. • Shoulder shrugs. Slowly shrug shoulders five

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times, raising shoulders as far as are comfortable. Repeat three to five times. If pain or discomfort is felt, then the shoulders are probably being raised too high. • Shoulder rolls. Slowly roll shoulders forward five times, then backward fivetimes. Repeat two to five times. • Head tilts. Slowly tilt head to the right, stopping when the stretch is felt. Then slowly tilt head to the left. Repeat twice. To prevent against carpal tunnel syndrome, which can affect truck drivers when repetitive or forceful tasks are performed over a period of time, the following exercises are easy to do and can help reduce the effects of this cumulative trauma disorder: • Rest forearm on the edge of a flat surface (table, desk, etc.) and gently bend back the wrist by grasping fingers withthe other hand. Hold for five seconds. • Clench hand into a tight fist, then slowly release until fingers are fanned out. Repeat five times. As for proper and safe pushing and pulling techniques, drivers should be informed of:

• Taking the proper stance. Feet should be apart at shoulder width, with legs bent slightly at the knee. The right leg should be placed approximately one step behind the left. Then with the back remaining as straight as possible, the driver may firmly push a disabled vehicle. • Using the proper amount of force. For truck parks that require the driver to turn a crank, it should be done slowly, allowing the shoulders and arms to do the majority of the work. Tell drivers to never force the situation. If the crank sticks or turns with great difficulty, drivers should be instructed to notify maintenance personnel or their supervisor. Forcing can cause the driver to slip, or lead to severe muscle strain.

Final thoughts Awareness is the key to preventing serious MSD injuries so make sure that workers understand and can recognize the signs and symptoms of MSDs. Signs and symptoms are often ignored because they seem slight at first and go away when workers are not at work. However, as time goes on, the symptoms increase

and last longer until finally the worker cannot perform simple tasks such as holding a drinking glass. Examples of MSD signs are: • Decreased range of motion • Deformity • Decreased grip strength • Loss of muscle function Examples of MSD symptoms are: • Painful joints • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet • Shooting or stabbing pains in the arms or legs • Pain in wrists, shoulders,forearms, or knees • Back or neck pain • Numbness • Swelling or inflammation • Fingers or toes turning white • Tingling • Burning sensation • Cramping • Stiffness Early intervention is essential to recovery, so

encourage workers to report MSD signs and symptoms as soon as they become aware of them. This can take the form of a formal reporting system, including written documentation to ensure nothing is overlooked, or for employers with fewer than 10 employees, oral reporting systems are adequate. Prompt responses to reports of work-related MSDs will enable the appropriate actions to be taken. It underscores the fact that identifying the risk factors that can cause damage to a worker’s body leading to musculoskeletal disorders and implementing proper control measures are critical steps in protecting workers and bottom line profits. Stefanie Williams is an Associate Editor with J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. in Neenah, Wis. Contact her at For more information on J. J. Keller & Associates, visit Copyright 2013 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.5, P.O. Box 368, 3003 Breezewood Lane, Neenah, WI 54957 | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


RAM Mount Tow Truck

You spend up to 12 hours or more a day in your vehicle; we make being organized something you don’t have to worry about. At RAM®, we understand the importance of maintaining a safe, secure and convenient mobile office. With a multitude of electronics mounting solutions available, you can rest assured that RAM® will provide products to safeguard the devices integral to your job performance while keeping them within close reach.


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the growing integration of GPS and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) devices, it has become easier to locate your drivers and streamline vehicle deployment to the nearest tow. You’re now faced with the predicament of what to do with the additional electronics in your trucks. RAM7 provides the highest quality mounting solutions for the devices utilized to streamline the operations of your vehicles. Secure your GPS, AVL, smart phone, tablet, laptop or printer with a RAM7 Mount! An ideal option for mounting a wide variety of devices that are rapidly becoming an integral component to the daily function of the tow truck industry, RAM7 Mounts are the premier mounting solution on the market today.


About RAM): RAM7 is a leading manufacturer in rugged, durable mounting systems and docking stations for mobile electronics. RAM7 utilizes a patented ball and socket mounting system that allows you to mount practically anything anywhere. With RAM’s long list of custom solutions for virtually any application, you are sure to find the perfect solution for your mounting needs. Made in the USA and backed with a Lifetime Warranty, RAM7 is your best choice for versatile mounting solutions. TOW RAM Mounting Systems 8410 Dallas Ave. South Seattle WA 98108 Phone: 206.763.8361 Fax: 206.763.9615 Web:

Facebook: YouTube: Email: | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



LOCK OUT Equipment


By Leslie E., AWDirect Technical Product Support

As a tow operator, choosing a door tool can be confusing with so many options to choose from. Do I need a pre-packaged kit? How many and what kinds of tools do I need? How am I going to learn how to use these tools? Is there training available or resource manuals that are useful? Car lockout tools have evolved a great deal and continue to do so. With that in mind, where do you begin in selecting the right door tool? Be aware that vehicle security has changed over the last 60 years, from locking mechanisms/linkages to electronic locking systems. Linkages have changed from metal rods to cables, which have made them difficult to grab with the traditional “Slim Jim” style lockout tools that worked from inside the door. Electronic locking systems are becoming more and more popular – this is a system where the standard key has been replaced with a remote/proximity device. It’s not always easy to tell if a vehicle is equipped with this system or with a combination of electronic and mechanical systems. This instance is an example of why it is important to have a resource such as a lockout manual.

Slim Jim The “Slim Jim” used to be the most popular lockout tool and worked well at manipulating the linkages from inside the door. But the changes to those linkages have rendered the "Slim Jim” less effective on newer model vehicles. It has now become necessary to access the door-unlocking components from inside the vehicle now instead 34

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of from inside the door. So, the need for a long, thin tool that could reach inside the vehicle was born – the long-reach tool.

Long-reach tool Car lockout tools have evolved a great deal out of necessity and continue to evolve. Most long-reach tools are now designed to require less skill. There are different styles and lengths of long-reach tools, with some having a light on the end of them and others having a loop that can be attached. The most important feature to look for is that they are coated (so as not to scratch the vehicle’s paint). In many cases, this coating will even be glow-in-the dark, which is helpful in low-light situations.

Air wedge Use of an inflatable air wedge creates the needed space for a longreach tool. There are different sizes – small, regular, and large for the various types of vehicle door frames. The

small air wedge works on most vehicles and is best for vehicles with soft aluminum pillars. A dual or twin-style air wedge is good on stiffer door frames, as it creates less stress on the door frame itself. These twin bladders provide even, balanced clearance for inserting a door tool.

Task lighting Being able to see what you are doing is very important. It will help to avoid damaging the vehicle and will speed up the un-lock process. Task lights are available that illuminate the interior of a vehicle – these can be separate lights that mount via magnet or suction cup, are on the end of a long-reach tool, or lighted probes that are a flexible wand-style so you can direct light exactly where you need it. Consider practicing un-locks in lowlight conditions. Training and practice is key in preventing damage to a vehicle. You can hone your technique by practicing on an old, scrap vehicle from a salvage yard. Lockout/entry manuals are available from the various lockout tool manufacturers and are a valuable resource to

have on hand. Knowing how to successfully gain entry to various makes and models, foreign and domestic, is valuable information for any operator. Training can also be obtained from manufacturer websites, training videos/DVDs, and from attending industry seminars. With lockout tools continually changing, it is important to stay current with the latest and greatest in tools and training. Basic tools that every tow operator should have are long-reach tool(s), air wedges, and task lighting. Additionally, consider having a strap tool, “Slim Jim,” and some under-the-window tools on hand for when you encounter older vehicles. Door tool kits are available in various sizes and price-points, but all tools can be purchased separately, as well. Before attempting any lockout, remember safety first. Assess the situation and always use eye and hand protection when needed. Keep in mind that some vehicles have more than one method for gaining entry. Be sure to reference a resource manual for these alternate methods, as one may be easier and have less potential for damaging the vehicle. TOW

For more information, contact AW Direct at 1-800-243-3194 | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


Wheel Lift & Repossession

Detroit LIL'HERCULES & HERC-0-MATIC WHEEL LIFTS In keeping with its ongoing tradition of commitment, superior products and support, DWS has released its new underbody line of wheel lifts. Offering the most advanced concept and design available today, the "LIL HERCULES" product line is the strongest, most durable light duty wheel lift built by anyone today, period! Available in both standard "L" arm wheel grid and self-loading style, you will find nothing stronger or more durable anywhere. Manufactured with greaseable, replaceable heavy bronze bushings on all pivot points and the massive two piece crossbar pivot pins, this is the strongest light duty wheel lift on the market. Its 3500lb extended capacity and 65" reach will outlast the competition hands down! DWS has built a stronger and more versatile under lift using state-ofthe-art CAD design software. Strength in all the critical areas but keeping the unit weight as light as possible. This gives you more lift capacity without sacrificing your truck’s GVWR, saving you costly frame and spring repairs down the line. Standard features include 12volt pump (that has a duty cycle of 8 mins, while others give you a unit that has a duty cycle of 2 mins) optional clutch pump ready valve at no charge. A 15' hand held control, adjustable mounting brackets for all types of pickups. The basic LIL HERCULES can be field retro fitted to the HERC-0-MATIC with ease! A massive two piece pivot pin gives more bearing surface and keeps the pivot plates from


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

spreading apart. All designed to keep your equipment on the road making profit, not in the shop for repairs! The "LIL HURCULES" can be shipped to your facility or factory installed in DWS's manufacturing and customer service plant. Come in and visit our large showroom and see how we design, machine and manufacturer all of the DWS product lines. For over 20 years, our LOW LOADER still has the lowest load angle of any flatbed sold in America today! For any and all of your towing equipment needs, call or email us. We stock one of the largest inventories of repair parts in the industry. From online our catalog to our massive showroom, we're here to assist. If you need technical help, you can always feel free to call our service dept. We have the knowhow to get you the correct information to make your own repairs easier. Being one of the oldest and largest give DWS an edge. So can you. Check out our website, give us a call or stop on by. You'll be glad you did! The Detroit Wrecker line of equipment and DWS are in your corner, now and for the long haul! TOW

Detroit Wrecker Sales 19630 Fitzpatrick, Detroit, MI 48228 Local: 313-835-8700 • National: 877-TOW-0030 Fax: 313-835-4838 Webstore: Email:


Lift and Tow is a company that has been in the Towing and Recovery market for 15 years. Company President & Owner Cal Roth stated that safety is the upmost importance and a lot of thought went into making his line of lifts for his towers. The Z-series is their top-of-the-line lift. What's so special about the lift and tow system? It is the fastest and most efficient way to get any tow job done. You can literally pick up a car in 36 seconds, and be on your way. Besides its speed and efficiency, the system can be installed on a large variety of vehicles, and is hardly noticeable, so there is no need to purchase a separate tow truck or rollback; just install it right onto your work truck.

The Z-series has upgraded double wall construction. The power boom is equipped with 6 function hydraulics and a wireless remote. It allows you to power up or down while extending or retracting. When retracted, however, the Tbar extends past the bumper 4-10” (depending on your truck model). This unit is fully self -loading and has in-cab controls. Once in place, just lift and go!

grading to the Z series from Lift and Tow. A good product plus a good price equals a customer for life. Parts and customer service are always the most important factors in forming good customer relationships. My friends at Lift and Tow has met all of my towing lift needs, and I am completely satisfied with my new Z series lift from Lift and Tow.” TOW

Unit comes with straps and wireless remote.

For more information on the 3, 5, and Z-Series lifts, give the team a call at Lift and Tow!!

Christopher King of KingSize Enterprises stated, “I brought my first lift package in 2009, from Lift and Tow, and I certainly got my money’s worth. I started my business KingSize Enterprises with a 2003 Chevy 2500 Silverado and the 5 series tow package from Lift and Tow. Almost five years later, I am still impressed with the lift but needed to upgrade to save time and, of course, money. I call the folks at Lift and Tow, and we upgraded my lift to the Z series type. It has been the best decision I’ve made lately for my business! KingSize Enterprise is a small operation here in North Carolina, and we repo about 25 cars a week and tow about 10. In less than a month, my operation has become faster, smoother and less stressful as a result of up-

Lift and Tow 1-866-494-6500 • 717-532-5558 | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


Wheel Lift & Repossession

MAXIMIZE profits with the Model 20 fifth wheel wrecker Outfit any standard fifth wheel tractor to become a money-making machine with the lowest cost solution for heavy duty towing service. It is the perfect low-cost answer for long distance pulls and tractor swap outs, while allowing you to keep your big wrecker on call for large scale recoveries. New this year, the Model 20 offers a draw bar upgrade, giving the user a flip-down 2”x2” receiver hitch, allowing numerous towing options, including pintle hook, trailer ball, goose neck, hitch pin, and even accommodates a removable electric winch. TOW


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Call 800-992-1478 or see our website at

Dynamic 601 Slide In Repo Unit 4,000 lb Capacity 7,500 lb Tow Capacity The New Dynamic "Slide In Unit" comes complete with an electric over hydraulic pump (engine mounted clutch pump kit optional) in cab controls, 74" reach, 36" tow height. The “Slide In Unit” is perfect for your dual rear wheel pick up. Class 3 Receiver Tow Hitch. Built in saddle & chain boxes. Easy bolt in installation. Bumper removal is not necessary. • 3 gpm ELECTRIC/HYDRAULIC PUMP • 601 Slide - In (4000 LB LIFT CAPACITY) • 4 GAUGE HARNESS w/ QUICK DISCONNECT & 200 amp FUSE • 73” LONG BED FRAME • 74” WHEEL LIFT REACH • 36” TOW HEIGHT • ELECTRIC OVER HYDRAULIC SYSTEM • IN CAB CONTROLS • WHEEL SPACER BLOCKS • TRAILER HITCH RECEIVER • SAFETY CHAINS • STRAPS & RATCHETS • CHAIN BOXES

Recommended Chassis Info: We suggest for safety & long lasting performance without worry. The Slide In Unit should be installed on a 10000lbGVW chassis with dual wheels. Also, we recommend that frame reinforcing be done. TOW

Headquarters 1120 E. Brambleton Avenue Norfolk, VA 23504 800-831-9299 Sales Anthony 800-831-9299 Anthony's cell: 757-613-9145 757-622-0028 (fax) Parts Department Katie Howard 800-831-9299 757-622-0028 (fax) Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. M-F Warranty Department Kate Howard 800-831-9299 757-622-0028 (fax) | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


Wheel Lift & Repossession


The right tool to get the job done right - and at the right price

The FIFTHWHEELER by Zacklift will turn any truck into a repo man’s perfect transport machine. Work it day and night, performing every transport job that a half-million dollar wrecker can do, at a fraction of the price. The FIFTHWHEELER drives on and off the truck exactly like a trailer. Drop it down and take the weight off the king pin, uncouple the truck mounts, and drive off. All the mounting hardware stays with the Zacklift when removed. The entire procedure is less than 8 or 9 minutes. Zacklift has YouTube videos of the procedure on their website at Take a look. Turning a truck into a damage-free tow truck has never been slicker or quicker. Zacklift has factory routed every hydraulic hose, electrical wire and pneumatic connection through the Zacklift beam’s interior. Glad hands are in place, along with a third airline for tools. The entire Zacklift system’s hydraulics are connected and routed through the beam to the valve. Stop, tail and turn lights are mounted up and wired. There’s a YouTube video of the install process online at At under $30,000, the Zacklift is a complete package with 5 sets of forks to cover every job, along with a fork holder rack to carry them all. Forks can be positioned, high, low and on either side of the cross bar. There is an up-front, no-charge choice of either a self-contained power system that operates from a hotwire to the battery, or valving for operation from an existing PTO and pump. Either way, the systems include a super dependable remote control.


Wireless is a handy option. There is a long list of useful options on the FIFTHWHEELER. A winch is available, already installed, for repositioning the truck in tow when it’s not in an ideal location for hook up. The industry’s only drive-on, drive-off stiff legs can secure the truck for winching in tougher situations. Custom aerodyne tool boxes, with polished aluminum flip-up doors, mounting completely engineered, can hold all accessories with the valve securely mounted inside. Zacklift reports that the wheel lifting assembly is the most popular option, enabling tow operators the choice of picking by the tires. Many companies opt to leave the wheel lift in place full time. The list of complete options is detailed at, and the wheel lifting process has a YouTube video that’s well worth watching. Important to everyone in towing and the repo business is the exceptionally low profile of the Zacklift’s “stinger” that provides

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

more single picks under low bumpers. It can clear oil pans without damage with the use of the reach extenders that take any fork out beyond the Zacklift crossbar, all included. Damage free, quick to grab and go, and a price tag that is truly affordable, Zacklift provides a tool that will get any transport job done, and done right, and get you back on the road to do it all again. TOW Check them out online at or call them at 509674-4426. | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery


Pan Pillow

Less than the cost of your cheapest oil pan damage claim, the ONE and ONLY Pan Pillow will virtually eliminate oil pan damage from your operation. On the market since January 2006, the Pan Pillow has been used by thousands of tow operators who agree that the Pan Pillow is a "Must Have" tool when towing front wheel drive vehicles with a light or medium duty wheel lift system. No more wheel blocking to short shoe or risk. Minute to install, minute to remove. Money back guarantee. Nothing to lose, many things to gain. For more info, visit Pillow Protection 780-908-6560

TowMate Reveals New Portable Mini Light ‘Pod’ The SO9 Packs a Powerful Punch as Mobile Unit

Available as a magnetic portable unit, a wired permanently mounted unit, or an essentially wireless Power-Link unit, the SO9 style of light packs 32 high-intensity LED’s into a 9” package. Choose either an alternating quad flash strobe pattern (P/N# SO9) or a rotating quad flash strobe pattern (P/N# RS9) at the time of purchase. Made in the USA and boasting TowMate’s lifetime warranty, these represent another quality offering from the growing TowMate product line. Contact: Chris Anderson • Tel: (800) 680-44455 Email:

IONV™ Series Super-LED® Three-in-One Combination Light Kicking it up a notch from the versatile V-Series is a feat only Whelen could achieve! Now you can add the ION Super-LED superior, compact lighting performance in a housing that stands alone OR choose the SideKick™ fender housing for the Police Interceptor and Chevy Caprice Police Models! Expect even more performance, more features, more intersection warning! Features include Combination lighting for warning, Flood/alley and ground warning (puddle light). 180° wide angle models include compact standalone with Surface mount, built-in flange, Universal or SideKick™ Fender mounted for Ford Police Interceptor or Chevy Caprice. The Universal mount options include bail/swivel bracket, rubber grommet and pedestal mount in black or white. Surface mount models include flange, available in black, white or chrome. All feature hard coated lenses with HDO technology (High Definition Optics) and Twenty-five ScanLock™ flash patterns including fourteen synchronizable patterns. Meets and exceeds Class I SAEJ595, SAE 845, NFPA 1901, and KKK1822 requirements and is covered by Whelen’s Five year HDPB Heavy-Duty Professional warranty. Whelen Engineering Co., Inc. 51 Winthrop Road, Chester, CT 06412 860-526-9504 42

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Hi-Vis Work Wear

High-visibility apparel and reflective vests are necessities when it comes to traffic control and construction safety. The entire line of hi-vis clothing at AW Direct is tough, comfortable, ANSI compliant and increases both daytime and nighttime visibility. Visit today to check out our wide selection of hi-vis gear. (800) 243-3194 | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional


Ford Midwest Regional Tow Show Seminar Tow Show Seminar – Sept 27 & 28 Towing & Recovery Methods at Ford Motor Company A review of how we test global vehicles in CAD and on the track Location: Symposium Friday & Saturday 2-3pm Seminar Feedback & Input Desired: • Learn what equipment, tools, and techniques operators use when recovering inoperative vehicles from road surface, off road conditions, and compromised positions. • What hardware are they using in different recovery modes? - from flat level surface (front vs. rear) - from stuck in snow / mud - off into 2’ ditch

- off road / angled / deep snow / water / mud - Screw in hooks (front & rear) usage when other attachments are not visible or supplied • Wheel lift towing vs. flatbed towing – How do they decide what to use? • Vehicle recovery without damaging the vehicle – Show examples of hooks and clevis and ask how an operator will retrieve using it • Vehicles with front tow hooks (e.g. F140 FX4, Expedition 4x4) that protrudes from the bumper - What de-



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

vices/hardware are being used to pull on these hooks? Is damage a concern? • What Flat Hooks, Foundry Hooks, Pin & Ring Clevises are typically used? • Understand limits on the angle of the pull operators are using. • Discuss future conditions and what operators will do with increased use of underbody plastic air shields. • More detailed discussion on front recovery that does not lead to facia damage is needed.


MarketPlace | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional




Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

MarketPlace | Volume 2 • Issue 7 | Tow Professional



Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery



Agero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Aldridge Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Alexander Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Amsoil Synthetic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Atlanta Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Austin Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 B/A Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18, 46 Badger Glove and Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Beacon Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Bowers Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Chariot Rent-a-Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Collins Dollies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Custer Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 CW Mill Equipment Company . . . . . . . . . .15 Dakota Walsh Tire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Dan Messina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Detroit Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Direct Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Dynamic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Eartec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 ECM Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Eye3Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Flash Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3



Fleet Sales West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Florida Wrecker Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IFC, 1 GPS Securred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Hal Kressor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Holly's Message Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 IAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Industrial Netting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum / Wall of the Fallen . . .24, 25 KBK Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Lift and Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Lodar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Marking Pen Depot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Matjack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Mfr. Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Miti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Moduline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 NABancard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 NationWide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Nussbaum Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Ohio Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Pierce Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Pillow Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47



Progressive Platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IBC Ram Mount . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Recovery Billing Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Recovery Consulting Services . . . . . . . . . . .15 Robert Young's Wrecker Sales & Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 ROI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Rugged Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 RV Wheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 S&J Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Steck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Surefleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 TomTom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 TowBook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Towmart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Towmate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 TRAO Midwest Regional Show . . . . . . . . .21 UIS Insurance Brokers LTD . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 United Plastic Fabricating . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BC VTS Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Weiss Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Western States Tow Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Whelen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Zacklift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 7 |

Tow Professional  
Tow Professional  

Issue 7, 2013 Your Resource for Towing & Recovery