Towing story…

My buddy John just posted a blog entry entitled ‘towing for dummies‘. Not to be outdone I decided to post my favorite, and true, towing story.

Years back when I was still a young lad I worked for Triple-A driving a wrecker. AAA taught you to TOW, we had yearly updated manuals from the boom/winch manufacturer. We spent a three weeks training to be a wrecker operator. We were, for the most part, good at what we did.

One of the easiest cars to tow was the VW Rabbit (sadly we towed a LOT of them) there are two tie-down eye hooks under the front bumper that are attached to the bumper shock and frame mount. You slip the little T-hook on the chains into the eyes and drop a 4″ x 4″ board on the chains so it comes up under the bumper. Easy and no laying down in the dirt, slush, snow, oil, mud, etc.

Similar but NOT the same to the VW is the front end of one of the older Toyota’s (the Tercel I believe) this has tie-down slots stamped into the lower valance panel under the front end. The panel on the Toyota is NOT attached to the frame it’s held on by four 1″ sheet metal screws.

One of our chucklehead drivers tired from weeks of double shifts (we were working 80 – 110 hours a week during the winter) saw these slots, thought VW, threw his chains on and started towing…

About a mile or so later he was going around a hilly corner when the valance panel let go. The car crossed into oncoming traffic, careened off another car and into a yard where it proceeded to make it’s way through a wooden stockade style fence, a picnic table, bounced off a brick BBQ and finally went off a four foot retaining wall and landed on the railroad tracks.

It doesn’t end there….

This happened just at shift change so we first shift drivers returning after 12 – 16 hours were forced to sit at the office waiting to fuel our trucks and get signed out. Several hours later the foremen who’d been called to the accident scene returned with the hapless idiot. Our driving wonder then pulled his truck into the fueling lane, the wrong way, and parked it, leaving no room for the freshly fueled wreckers to back around the other trucks waiting in line. One of the foremen screamed at him to move the damn thing so we could all go home. He jumped in his truck and somehow got the beacon-bar caught in fence around the parking lot pulling down twenty feet of fence and destroying the gate.

Hawk (where are the real Ota’s? I’m tired of the toy ones.)


  1. Ann

    Talk about having a BAD day! LOL

  2. hawk (Post author)

    I felt sorriest for the people who were having their car towed because it wouldn’t start. It probably needed a $90 alternator and it ended up utterly destroyed.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *