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 driveshaft. However, the injury could happen with any vehicle.

A motorist saw the operator of a tow truck being struck by the driveline while removing it from his vehicle. 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 retaught periodically during safety meetings. Click here to read about How towing companies use technology to better serve their customers.

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

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.
  2. Do not attempt to remove the driveshaft. 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 driveshaft and allow it to play freely. This must be done only if the disabled vehicle has been hooked up to a tow truck.
  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 driveshaft if the above-mentioned steps aren’t followed. To remove the driveshaft, 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.…