Tow trucks are used to transport vehicles for a variety of reasons including being illegally parked and broken down. There are three basic types of tow truck, and each attaches to the vehicle needing moved in different ways.
Hook and Chain
A hook and chain tow truck attaches to a vehicle by the use of a chain. The chain is secured around the axle or other part of the vehicle. Due to the likelihood of damage to the towed vehicle, these tow trucks are not commonly used for most towing purposes. Hook and chain tow trucks are still used for towing badly damaged vehicles.
An axle cradling tow truck uses a metal yoke placed under the vehicle. The yoke is then secured to the wheels. The axle cradling tow truck lifts the car by the wheels, which reduces the chance of damage to the towed vehicle compared to the hook and chain tow truck.
Flatbed / Rollback
The rollback tow truck, also referred to as a flatbed, places the vehicle onto a platform for transport. The platform is lowered, making a ramp that the vehicle is driven or pulled onto. The rollback tow truck is the least likely to damage a vehicle of the three types.