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What is the Difference Between Flatbed Towing and Rollback Tow Truck?

When it comes to towing vehicles, there are various methods employed to safely transport a stranded or disabled vehicle to a desired location. Two commonly used methods are flatbed towing and rollback tow trucks. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of towing techniques, their advantages, and when they are most suitable.

What you will learn in this Article:

  1. What is flatbed towing?

  2. Rollback tow truck

  3. Flatbed towing vs. rollback tow truck pros and cons

  4. When to use flatbed towing or rollback tow trucks

What is the difference between flatbed towing and rollback tow truck?

What is Flatbed Towing?

Flatbed towing involves a specialized tow truck equipped with a flat platform on the back that can be hydraulically inclined or lowered to the ground. The disabled vehicle is driven or loaded onto the flatbed, secured in place, and then transported to the desired location. This method ensures that all four wheels of the vehicle are off the ground during transportation, minimizing the risk of any further damage.

Rollback Tow Truck

Rollback tow trucks, also known as slide or tilt-bed tow trucks, have a tilting bed that can be hydraulically inclined to create a ramp. The disabled vehicle is driven or pulled onto the tilted bed, which is then slowly returned to its original position. The bed slides back into place, securing the vehicle for transportation. Unlike flatbed towing, the rollback tow truck keeps the rear wheels of the disabled vehicle in contact with the ground during transport.

What is the difference between flatbed towing and rollback tow truck?

Flatbed Towing vs. Rollback Tow Truck: Pros and Cons

Both flatbed towing and rollback tow trucks have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look:

Pros of Flatbed Towing

  1. Provides complete safety and security to the disabled vehicle during transportation.

  2. Ideal for vehicles with severe damage or those that cannot be driven.

  3. Suitable for all types of vehicles, including motorcycles, sports cars, and SUVs.

  4. Prevents additional wear and tear on the tires and suspension components.

Cons of Flatbed Towing

  1. Requires more space for loading and unloading the vehicle.

  2. May require additional assistance to load low-profile or ground-hugging vehicles.

  3. Relatively slower loading and unloading process compared to rollback tow trucks.

  4. Slightly higher cost due to the specialized equipment used.

Pros of Rollback Tow Truck

  1. Quicker loading and unloading process due to the tilting bed mechanism.

  2. Can tow vehicles with low ground clearance or those stuck in tight spaces.

  3. Ideal for short-distance towing needs.

  4. Generally more affordable than flatbed towing.

Cons of Rollback Tow Truck

  1. Rear wheels of the disabled vehicle remain in contact with the ground, which may cause additional wear on the tires.

  2. Limited to vehicles that can be driven or towed on their own.

When to Use Flatbed Towing or Rollback Tow Trucks

Flatbed towing is recommended for vehicles with severe damage, those unable to be driven, or when maximum safety and protection are required. Rollback tow trucks are more suitable for vehicles that can be driven and for situations where quick loading and unloading are necessary.


In summary, both flatbed towing and rollback tow trucks offer effective methods for transporting disabled vehicles. The choice between the two depends on the specific circumstances and needs of the situation. Whether you require complete safety and security with flatbed towing or the convenience and speed of a rollback tow truck, TTN Roadside Assistance is here to help you in any towing emergency. Plus the experts at TTN Roadside Assistance can give you further information on how flatbed towing can help with accident recovery. Don't wait until you have to decide on which tow truck you need and instead call today.

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