Today’s article is based on some lessons learned from having to call for a tow truck on I485 outside of Charlotte, NC. Thanks to the guys from Top Dogz Towing Company for their service and their advice in putting this article together.
For Food Truck owners, there’s basically two reasons why one might need to tow a food truck. The first, and possibly most obvious reason is because the food truck you own is not self-propelled (ie: it’s built on a towable trailer), and second is your food truck has broken down. As the owner of a converted 1971 VW Bus, I’ve had to opt for the latter more time than I care to admit, and from the countless food truck owner-operators I’ve met over the years, that seem to be the rule rather than the exception.
And since many owners, like us, have opted to mod a late model truck to house their food truck business for branding reason, drivers should be aware that a unexpected breakdown is a reality, even with a perfectly maintained vehicle.
So in today’s article we wanted to talk about what to expect when the unexpected breakdown occurs, and what you can do to prepare.
A Good Towing Service
When it comes to towing services near you, there’s usually plenty to choose from. Finding a reputable one is the trick. Since they’ll be towing your mobile business you’ll want to make sure that the company you use is fully insured and has the proper credentials to service your vehicle where you’ve broken down. This will protect your investment in case any damage occurs during transportation.
Take an hour an interview a few in your area, or get some recommendation from friends, and put a couple towing services in your speed dial. Nothing is worse than trying to vet a towing company when your in the middle of an issue on the road.
The Right Tow Truck
Let’s face it, food trucks are heavy. Especially with the refrigeration, ranges, cooking gear and food you have to lug around. While the weight of your food truck is uniquely yours, most “classic” motorized food trucks range from 12,000 lbs to 16,000 lbs, with some of the larger truck pushing the 15 ton limit! Make sure that the towing company you are calling can accommodate the weight.
Additionally insist on getting a flat bed tow truck for towing your truck. While it may cost a bit more, you absolutely DO NOT want a tow truck towing your precious mobile restaurant by the front axle. Towing a large vehicle this way will likely damage the body paneling on your truck as well as your front axle.
It might take some time for a tow truck to arrive, spend it wisely by securing everything that can move in the vehicle. Most food truck owner think they have this already factored into the design, however loading a food truck onto a low boy or flat bed can put the vehicle in some weird angles, and nothing worse than opening up your vehicle to find vegitable oil spilled everywhere.
Factor about a 15 degree loading angle with all your secure hold downs. This is about the angle that most tow truck flat beds will use to load your food truck.
Maintain You Vehicle
If you don’t like the idea of calling a tow truck, limit the chances of it occurring by factoring in the time and money for a preventative maintenance schedule on your vehicle. Although it’s difficult justifying taking your vehicle out of service for few days, it’s better you plan for having the downtime, rather than having the downtime thrust upon you unexpectedly. The great news is nowadays there’s plenty of mobile mechanics that can come to your location to do the service rather than having to take the time out to drive to a auto repair place.