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Old 17th December 2016, 20:21   #1
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Default Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Dear friends,

A few of you know that I operator a fleet of thirty vehicles for Uber in Delhi-NCR region. More often than not, my staff wakes me up, in the middle of the night, when one of my car breaks down and needs a tow.

I have tried the traditional methods, looking for a crane service on Google or Just Dial, calling them up, haggle for the price. But, at 2 am, either no one picks up or the asking price is way too much.

I did find a cheaper way. There is an app, called StrandD, which works 24x7 and provides all sorts of services, including towing. Basically, they are an aggregator like Uber.

I have used their services thrice, every time in the night. Their charges are based on per km, to and fro and the difference between their price and the typical tow wallah was b/w 2-5 thousand rupees.

I live in Noida and get all my cars repaired here. So, the tow operators when tow my car from Delhi to Noida, always charge me a hefty 1500 Green Tax, which the govt has levied on diesel vehicles entering Delhi.

There, indeed are CNG trucks now, but not many are tow trucks.

Now, coming to the reason of this thread. I want to buy my own tow truck. I need towing once or twice in a month. But, as my vehicles keep munching more kms, this frequency is bound to increase.

- It will be primarily of use to my fleet and when vacant, it can work for aggregators like StrandD.
- It has to be CNG, as it saves on cost and Green Tax.

A quick research of Google tells me that Mahindra has Bolero Maxi truck and Bolero Pik-Up available in CNG.

But, all my vehicles are hatches and sedans and they weigh below 1000 kgs. Why do I need this powerful (and more expensive) tow truck?

Mahindra also has the Jeeto and Maxximo in CNG. They are cheaper and should be able to tow a 900-1000 kg hatch / sedan.

I tried to Google this as well. But couldn't find a clear answer. In the west, there indeed is a tow rating for all pickups. But, here, there is none.

All I could find in specifications was Maximum GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and Maximum Payload. Google tells me that GVW excludes the weight of the trailer and Payload is the maximum payload a vehicle can carry. None of this helps in knowing, how much can I pull.

There is a term called GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating), which is the maximum weight of a loaded vehicle and its attached loaded trailer. But, this rating comes from the manufacturer itself and is absent in my case.

I am not visiting a dealer yet, as my fear is that in order to make a sale, I might get misguided by the salesmen.

A Bolero Maxitruck Plus CNG costs 471,312 Ex Delhi. Its Maximum GVW is 2745 kg and Payload is 1150 kg.

A Mahindra Jeeto CNG costs 349000 Ex Delhi. Its Maximum GVW is 1485 kg and Payload is 700 kg.

There is a difference of a lakh and twenty rupees. This, off course, excludes the additional towing hardware to be fitted.

If, I can make do with a cheaper vehicle, then why not? But, how do I become sure that it will be able to comfortably do its job. Your thoughts?
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Old 17th December 2016, 20:36   #2
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

My suggestion:

Tell the dealer point-blank and state your purpose. Take a TD by pulling the hatch/sedans. If it works out, then its ok, if not, upgrade to the Bolero.

Win win situation for you and the dealer. You get your towing vehicle and dealer gets a sale.
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Old 17th December 2016, 20:42   #3
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How about a used jeep ?

We keep seeing Tata Ace pulling these cars. Something like that should be fine. May be get a used Tata Venture ( white board). A Venture can also serve as a break-down vehicle when required.

Have you thought about using any of your other cars for towing ?

Last edited by GTO : 19th December 2016 at 11:56. Reason: Merging both your posts
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Old 17th December 2016, 20:59   #4
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+1 to what Sheel said. This is a good way to ensure you get exactly what you require.

One more question. What is the nature of of breakdown ? If the broken down car can be towed with all 4 wheels and steering working, you will need only a metal bar that can attach to tow hook on the car as well as towing vehicle. This will Minimise your expense of fitting the towing gear.

I'll suggest you go for the bolero maxitruck out of the two as having slightly more towing capacity than required will be better.
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Old 18th December 2016, 00:05   #5
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Thanks for your inputs, guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
My suggestion:
Tell the dealer point-blank and state your purpose. Take a TD by pulling the hatch/sedans. If it works out, then its ok, if not, upgrade to the Bolero.

Win win situation for you and the dealer. You get your towing vehicle and dealer gets a sale.
Yes, I can do that. I shall visit the dealer, in a couple of days.

But, before making a buy, I do need to know whether the engine is powerful enough to comfortably do the same job for a good 100,000 kms.


Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
How about a used jeep ?

We keep seeing Tata Ace pulling these cars. Something like that should be fine. May be get a used Tata Venture ( white board). A Venture can also serve as a break-down vehicle when required.
I would prefer to stay away from used vehicles. They require more maintenance, and the last thing I want is to keep rescuing the rescuer.

I will surely explore a new Tata Ace CNG.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
One more question. What is the nature of of breakdown ? If the broken down car can be towed with all 4 wheels and steering working, you will need only a metal bar that can attach to tow hook on the car as well as towing vehicle. This will Minimise your expense of fitting the towing gear.
Yes, in most cases, all wheels and steering work. I am researching on an inexpensive system which can lift the front or rear of the vehicle slightly.

Maybe, just use a tow dolly. All I need to do is to pull the car towards the dolly, which might be able to get done through an electric or hydraulic winch.

Something like this:
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Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?-img_20160604_114020443_zpssoyntqc2.jpg  

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Old 18th December 2016, 01:27   #6
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Did some quick research. A normal road car can pull a trailer (caravan) up to 3.5 tonnes at low speeds.

Only if you intend to drive at high speeds (like on expressways) that it is recommended that weight of trailer/caravan/another car is not more than 85% of weight of the car that is doing the towing.

So basically, rig up one of your cars to do the towing. Since they are FWD cars with engine at the front, it will have more traction than RWD mini-trucks (which have no weight on driven wheels)
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Old 18th December 2016, 07:15   #7
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

One thing that comes to mind is that, are all these vehicles permitted to do the job of a towing vehicle. I think that you need to first check with RTO of New delhi and Noida. The bigger vehicles like bolero etc are surely approved but what about the smaller ones like the jeeto and the likes.

Now coming to your query of which vehicle, I would suggest you to go for the bigger vehicle only. Point is that for your personal needs, the smaller vehicle will suffice but what about you renting it out to other aggregator. It will have its limitations. Not all the cars that break down will be a hatch or a sedan or would be willing to hire a jeeto etc.

OT:
Just out of curiousity, if the vehicle breaks down due to driver error or if the driver dents the vehicle, does he also have to pay a part of the expense or is it only you altogether.
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Old 18th December 2016, 09:03   #8
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

All the vehicles including the hatchbacks are qualified to act as towing vehicles (My 2013 Swift guidebook has an article on how to use the car for towing purposes). So at odd hours(nights) you can always take help of any of your fleet vehicles to rescue the other. Since traffic would be minimal at late nights you can safely tow the stranded vehicle without much hassle or cop trouble.
The same cannot be said during daytime as you might face some cop trouble as using a normal sedan/hatchback to tow another vehicle is uncommon.
If you still wish to go for a towing van of your own you should look at the Mahindra/Tata pickup trucks (pic below). They are very common amongst the private towing services here in Mumbai.
Am not sure if a vehicle running on CNG would be appropriate for the job of towing simply because of the low power ratio compared to a diesel vehicle.
In my opinion if you opt for a pickup truck it would be best to go for a diesel one rather than fitting it with a CNG.
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Last edited by Skyline_GT : 18th December 2016 at 09:06.
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Old 18th December 2016, 11:28   #9
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Since you are planning to use it for yourself and to rent it out, you need to find a product, that not only fits your need and also what is required in the market. Also you need to ensure, just in case you wanted to sell the tow truck, you need someone to take it. Ace, Maxximo all are limited to 700kg and 750kg payload and their power to weight ratio is too low. So better find a used CNG Bolero Maxitruck.
Also don't look at used Venture and Ace. At one point you will need a towing vehicle to tow them.

Gross Combination Weight will be given by manufacturer only if the manufacturer has the approval for selling it as a tractor. Otherwise it will not be given and so no manufacturer has given it.

Last edited by GTO : 19th December 2016 at 11:51. Reason: Typos
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Old 18th December 2016, 11:43   #10
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Every vehicle has a gross vehicle weight and a gross train weight. The GVW is the weight of vehicle + load it can carry while GTW also includes what it can tow. Most cars are below 1200 kg unladen. If for some reason you are lifting front wheels up, you load the towing vehicle by about 60% of weight, assume 700 kg.
So you need a vehicle with a payload of under 1000 kg, and a GTW about 500 kg above its GVW.
A Bolero tata Xenon, Isuzu D max or similar vehicle will be suitable for towing hatches and small sedans. Payload under a ton, and GTW close to 2.5 tons.
You need to make towing arrangement, a roll cage like bracket for fitting a 1.5 Tr block pulley for lifting front wheels and towing wheels or fitting distance bar when towing bracket for towing on with wheels lifted.

Last edited by GTO : 19th December 2016 at 11:53. Reason: Typos
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Old 18th December 2016, 14:23   #11
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Rao View Post
Most cars are below 1200 kg unladen. If for some reason you are lifting front wheels up, you load the towing vehicle by about 60% of weight, assume 700 kg.
So you need a vehicle with a payload of under 1000 kg, and a GTW about 500 kg above its GVW.
The load on the towing vehicle will be lesser. The rear wheels of the towed vehicle will be taking most of the load of the towed vehicle.

But yes, load of the towed vehicle on the towing vehicle will be more in case of front wheels being lifted up than when all 4 wheels of the towed vehicle are rolling.
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Old 18th December 2016, 16:25   #12
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

If you want to use it rarely, You can use any vehicle of your choice. (even a bike)
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But i would recommend a CNG Pickup truck. (if you want to rent it commercially)
Mumbai police tow truck.
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If not you can use following pics for ideas.
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Old 18th December 2016, 18:24   #13
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashutoshb View Post

Something like this:
Hi there.

If you do it right the first time, even if slightly expensive, for a commercial option, it will pay dividends in the end.

Dunno if you have seen or checked out this, but an option like this would be ideal especially if you are planning to rent it out.
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Source:
http://maniars.in

Check them out.

Cheers
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Old 18th December 2016, 20:09   #14
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashutoshb View Post
Dear friends,
...

I have used their services thrice, every time in the night. Their charges are based on per km, to and fro and the difference between their price and the typical tow wallah was b/w 2-5 thousand rupees.

...

Now, coming to the reason of this thread. I want to buy my own tow truck. I need towing once or twice in a month. But, as my vehicles keep munching more kms, this frequency is bound to increase.

...
I'm wondering if it might be more economical overall if you just had a "subscription" like agreement with one tow truck operator. This would allow you to concentrate on your core business and keep capital available instead of locking it in a dedicated tow vehicle.
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Old 18th December 2016, 20:26   #15
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Default re: Tow Truck Advice: Can a mini truck pull hatchbacks & sedans?

I have seen Maruti Omnis easily towing sedans. My Maruti A.S.S. uses only Omnis to tow all cars. A CNG Omni is worth considering.
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