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Commercial Towing

Commercial towing is geared toward routinely moving loads for payment of fees rather than recovering vehicles in distress due to breakdowns or accidents. The greatest single example of this is freight movement from place-to-place using tractor-trailer combinations. There are literally thousands of these "rigs" in operation on American roads every day. They operate as either scheduled logistics conduits or contract operations delivering dedicated loads to specific locations.

In the case of scheduled shipping, trucks are often used to move a collection of smaller loads from a shipping point to warehouses or terminals where they may be picked up or distributed locally using smaller equipment. Typically, although the trailers may be similar, the tractors will have fewer axles. These are more able to traverse local streets with their many turns without incurring heavy tire wear.

Dedicated loads are shipped under contracts and are typically shipped from a shipping point all the way to the final unloading point. In this case, the trucking company may supply its own trailer or contract to pull the shipper's trailer/load combination.

One special form of commercial towing is auto dealership towing. Special trailers are used to deliver a number of automobiles from the manufacturer's plant to the dealers who sell them. Typically, this involves careful planning to ensure that the first stop made is where the last vehicle(s) loaded are removed from the trailer. Modern car-carriers, as they are known, can carry eight or more cars on a single trailer.

Often a car-carrier will be seen moving automobiles and light trucks over the highways, and the vehicles being moved are not new. This is typically the case when the vehicles have been purchased at auctions for used cars and trucks and are being moved to a used car dealer.

A very special case of this service involves contract moving of vehicles that have been purchased by new owners at distant places who pay to have their purchases delivered rather than driving them home. Vehicles purchased on EBay are a good example of this.

Municipal towing is a special case, as well. Most cities and smaller jurisdictions have provisions for towing illegally parked vehicles. These will typically involve the use of a wrecker service contracted by the city to tow the vehicles to an impoundment point. Owners are allowed to retrieve their vehicles, but must pay the towing and storage fees, as well as any applicable fines.

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