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How to Tow a F-150 Pickup Truck

by Ryan Long

The best way to tow a Ford F-150 is on a flatbed truck. Because the Ford F-150 is primarily a rear-wheel drive vehicle, it presents a few unique challenges when it needs to be towed. First, a tow truck that does not have a flatbed must winch the rear wheels instead of the front wheels. The problem with this scenario is that it leaves the front wheels free to turn, potentially causing harm to the F-150 and the tow truck if the wheels suddenly turn while towing is in progress.

Check that the flatbed truck is at least a medium duty truck able to support 5,500 pound or more. Explain to the tow company or the tow-truck rental company that you will be towing a F-150 and ask for a medium duty or higher weight rated tow truck.

Lower the flatbed of the tow truck using the flatbed's hydraulics system so that it makes a ramp. If possible, drive the Ford F-150 up the ramp and park the vehicle and engage the parking brake. If it is not possible to drive the F-150, set the truck to neutral and use the tow truck's winch to pull the F-150 onto the flatbed rear wheels first to avoid damaging the transmission.

Secure the truck on the back of the flatbed by connecting the tow-truck winch to the F-150 and securing the tires with chains through the wheels and locked to the sides of the flatbed and tightened down, or lock the F-150 into place using metal plates or wheel chocks. Make sure that the back of the flatbed is flat in the upright position, disengage the hydraulics, and lock the bed before driving off.

Tips

  • When driving onto a flatbed try to have someone help guide you and keep your tires straight to avoid running off the side of the flatbed or parking at an angle.
  • Always drive or winch a truck slowly onto the flatbed to prevent damage.
  • Always park as straight as possible on a flatbed.

Warnings

  • If you must tow your F-150 with a conventional tow truck rather than a flatbed, be sure to lock the steering wheel in the forward position using rope or even the seatbelt.
  • Never back up onto a flatbed as it is more difficult to correctly maneuver your truck and there is no benefit in towing or securing your truck on the flatbed.
  • Avoid fast or sharp turns while traveling with a truck on the back of a flatbed. Sharp turns at excessive speeds may cause a loss of control and, in some cases, cause the truck to fall from the back of the flatbed.
  • Check the height of the flatbed truck. If the F-150 is the tallest point on the truck then measure from the roof of the F-150 to the ground. This is important mainly in approaching low bridges. If the height of the tow truck and the load is too great you may need to take a detour or risk damaging the F-150 or tow truck when attempting to go under a low bridge.

About the Author

Based out of Wrangell, Alaska, Ryan Long has been a professional writer and photographer since 2007. His work has appeared in the "Wrangell Sentinel," "Homer News," "Frommer's Travel Guide," "Juneau Empire," "Ketchikan Daily News" and "The Seattle Times." Long has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Michigan State University.

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