DAF 6x4 wrecker

A modern Breakdown truck or Wrecker

Millitary recovery truck - DSCF0284

A military recovery truck with telescopic crane - at a city centre vehicle show

A Breakdown truck or also known as Recovery trucks, Tow trucks, Breakdown cranes and (in the USA) Wreckers. The names tend to get interchanged but are all slightly different vehicles but all used to tow or recover broken down vehicles in some way.


Saunders Recover demonstration at Belvoir 09 - IMG 9144

A demonstration of using a Boom and twin winches to right a tanker in a controlled manner with a modern recovery wagon

Recovery by airbag of trailer demo at Belvoir 09 -IMG 9152

A demonstration of using air bags to recover (right) a trailer

Recovery trucksEdit

Usually refers to the type of vehicle that picks up light vehicles and transports then to a repair garage or Impound yard. For cars and vans usually a truck fitted with a special slide and tilt body that forms its own ramp, and then winches the vehicle on.

Tow trucksEdit

These usually pick the front or rear of the vehicle up. In some cases a solid bar or A frame is used to pull the vehicle to its destination.

Wrecker or recovery craneEdit

These are specialist vehicles used to lift or pull vehicles back onto the road or back up onto the wheels. They are fitted with telescopic boom lifts (a type of crane) and high powered winches.

Alternative methodsEdit

Rather than using a crane / winch truck modern recovery operators also use air bages to right vehicles that have over turned, as some modern vehicles are structurally weak for fixing winch cables to and so could damage the vehicle further making removal harder.


ERF recovery truck 6x2 at Donnington Park 09 - IMG 6091small

A Typical UK Breakdown truck

ERF 6x2 HND 714R (rear) at Donington 09 - IMG 6121small

The Lifting boom on a breakdown truck designed for suspended towing

Foden 6x2 breakdown truck PMB 149B (rear) at Donington 09 - IMG 6122small

An earlier conversion with simpler lifting boom on a 6x2 chassis (probably a 8x2 tipper originally) The roller guides for a winch are visible below the boom. With drawbars stowed on the deck and a hinged A frame under the boom.

Foden S20 6x2 breakdown truck at Donington 09 - IMG 6125small

Front of A Foden breakdown truck at the Donington Park CV show in 2009

Ford D series breakdown truck GVO 67J rear frame at Donington 09 - IMG 6199small

The simpler latice fram jib on a 1970s truck ( a lot less versatile)

Ford D series 2417 breakdown truck GVO 67J at Donnington 09 - IMG 6198small

Ford D series from the front

Ford D series 6x4 breakdown truck RPL 136R a Donington 09 - IMG 6201small

A younger D series on a 6x4 chassis

Ford D series 6x4 brealdown truck RPL (rear) at Donington 09 - 136R IMG 6200small

The rear of 6x4 Ford D series breakdown truck

Scammell 6x4 Ex army wrecker at Donington 09 - IMG 6100small

A HD ex Army wrecker at Donington Park CV show in 2009

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

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