Tow truck operators beware! Drive Shaft Removal - An Important Lesson

Tow truck operators beware! Drive Shaft Removal – An Important Lesson

Many reports have reported that a tow truck operator was injured while removing an RV’s drive shaft. However, the injury could happen with any vehicle.

A motorist saw the operator of a tow truck being struck by the driveline while he was taking out the debris. He suffered severe head injuries and was called our towing Association of California. After reading this horrible description, I thought back to how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it.

This is something I’ve seen many times, having worked in towing for over 30 years. This is a key subject in every employee’s training and it is a tool we use to retrain our employees when we hold safety meetings.

Problems arise when the differential or transmission is locked, causing the drive to bind.

1. Before proceeding with any further steps, the tow truck should be connected to the disabled vehicle using safety chains.

Tow truck operators beware! Drive Shaft Removal - An Important Lesson

2. Do not attempt to remove the drive shaft. Instead, grab it with one hand and gently rock it back and forth until you are satisfied that it is free of play.

3. You can free up one of the drive wheels if there is no free play. This will release the tension on the drive shaft and allow it to play freely. This must be done only if the disabled vehicle has been hooked up to a tow truck. Visit to read about Find out basic safety towing tips.

4. After the tension or binding has been released, the drive shaft can be removed.

Driveline injuries are a common occurrence in the towing industry. The tow truck operator will not be able to remove the drive shaft if the above-mentioned steps aren’t followed. To remove the drive shaft, the tow truck operator uses other tools like a prybar. The drive shaft will pop out and spin like a propeller.

Towing can be dangerous just because you are on the road. Safety should be the number one concern of any tow truck operator.

Steven E Ramirez is an author for, a big rig towing company for over 30 years in Northern California.

Find out basic safety towing tips

Find out basic safety towing tips

Towing is a serious business. Towing requires both business and driving expertise. Towing is a dangerous business. Here are the top safety tips to be aware of for both operators and drivers of tow trucks:

The trailers should not have passengers

It is essential to ensure that no one is seated in the trailer when towing any vehicle. You are putting your passengers at risk and allowing accidents to occur while towing the vehicle.

Ensure proper trailer loading

You can avoid any swaying or shaking when loading the vehicle onto your trailer. You should ensure that the heavier part of the vehicle is loaded ahead of the axle when you tow it. Also, ensure that both the load and vehicle are evenly balanced. To prevent any shifting, ensure that all chains, hooks, or slides are securely attached to the trailer.

Also, you should check the tongue weight. This is the force produced by the trailer against the hitch ball. The tongue weight, which is usually 10 to 15% of the Gross Trailer Weight of the actual trailer weight once it has been fully loaded, is most often between 10 and 15 percent. The trailer might sway if it is too heavy or too light. The trailer may not function properly if it is too heavy. The trailer should be heavier on the front.

Find out basic safety towing tips

Proper driving

It is important to remember that you aren’t just driving the truck when you tow a truck. Your driving performance will be affected by the vehicle you tow. Remember that your tow truck’s speed and acceleration will be affected by the trailer’s weight.

Towing trucks requires extra time when passing, stopping, or changing lanes. Avoid passing on bumpy roads if possible. Avoid driving on rough roads if you have to. Not only will it cause damage to your towing vehicle but also to the trailer. You can read about How towing companies use technology to better serve their customers by visiting

Stop the trailer from swaying and make any necessary adjustments

Sways can’t be prevented completely. You can cause it by sudden wind gusts or sudden changes in speed. If the trailer is swaying excessively, stop the truck and investigate the cause. Make sure to check the trailer load, and make sure the harness equipment is secured.

Truc Tow aims to offer the best towing and trucking accessories at the most affordable prices. For more information, visit