Recovering broken-down vehicles from the highway is carried out by many types of vehicles. For shorter journeys the "Underlift" type of vehicle is often used, this is commonly referred to as the "spectacle lift". The lift frame is placed under the front wheels lifting the vehicle clear enabling it to be towed.
The "total lift" transportation type vehicle relies on a winch to pull the vehicle on the bed. The advantage with this solution is that they can carry more than one vehicle using a double deck system.
With the types of heavy lifting associated with recovery vehicles, hydraulics is the go-to option to carry out these task; mainly due to the force multiplication that takes place with the pistons doing the hard work while one piston is pushed down causing oil to build and raise the other piston.
The force generated by the first piston multiplies as it lifts the second piston, but during this stage, three units must be shifted in order to move the second piston. In order words, large cumbersome weights can easily be lifted by minimal levels of force thus making this method a favourite for recovery firms.
With the towing process there are several methods of towing that need to be catered for; firstly the trucks extended hydraulic arm needs to move the vehicle closer to the truck itself ready for loading and, finally, the truck bed needs to be tilted to enable the vehicle to be lifted onto it.
All of this can be controlled by the driver of the truck whilst in his cab or standing outside of it which make the whole process very user friendly.