Austin Area Towing

What the Public Should Know

Texas law permits vehicle towing by a licensed commercial towing enterprise for profit or reward, such tows fall into two categories, defined as a consent or a non-consent tow.

A consent tow is defined as a vehicle owner contracting with a licensed towing company for the transportation or towing of the owners vehicle from point "A" to point "B" for an agreed fee.

A non-consent tow is defined as a vehicle being towed without the owners consent. In the absence of an agreement to remove, transport or tow the said vehicle, the City or County usually set a predetermined fee for said services.

If a vehicle is involved in an accident or illegally parked on a public right of way or in a fire lane, an emergency evacuation route or snow route, a police officer may authorize its removal, this type of removal is classified as a non-consent tow. In addition, if your vehicle is illegally parked on private property that is clearly marked no parking or defined as a fire lane, the property owner may authorize the removal or towing of your vehicle. Vehicles removed from such a location are also defined as non-consent tow and usually taken to a licensed impound or storage lot. Such lots are are located in various parts of the city and subject to strict State Rules regarding the conditions and fees for storage. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, (TDLR) licenses and administers storage lots on behalf of the State.

Vehicles used for towing or the transportation of vehicles usually fall into three categories:

      • Light Duty
      • Medium Duty
      • Heavy Duty

Light and medium duty wreckers or tow vehicles are generally used for the transportation of cars, SUV's and Pickup trucks. Light duty wreckers are limited to loads that do not exceed 8,500 lb., medium duty wreckers depending on the plated load limit, can transport vehicle load up to 21,600 lb. Generally, there are two types of light or medium duty wreckers that the public will be familiar, these are wheel-lifts and rollbacks.

A wheel-lift wrecker uses a hydraulic or cable actuated lift that is attached to the vehicle, lifting either the front or rear driving wheels off the ground to protect the vehicles transmission during transport. If the front and rear of the vehicle are damaged, a wheel-lift wrecker may also use a pair of additional axles, called "Dollies" to effect the safe removal of the vehicle.

A rollback wrecker uses a movable rear deck that lowers either to an incline or nearly flat to the road, in each situation, the vehicle to be towed or removed is pulled by a cable winch onto the movable rear deck. The rear deck is then hydraulically moved back into its transport position.

Heavy duty wreckers are specialized recovery units often capable of lifting and towing 70+ tons and are reserved for use with large transportation vehicles, usually 18 wheelers, buses and other heavy loads. Some new heavy duty variants are equipped with a rotating boom crane, enabling the lifting of loads out of a ravine and rotate the lift and place the wreck on a low loader for transportation. This complex set of variables is accomplished in one seamless action.

When requesting the services of a wrecker it is important that you tell the company what type of vehicle is to be transported. As with any commercial vehicle, it is illegal to overload a wrecking vehicle