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Introducing JAF Tow Trucks and Car Transporters

This video, titled "(Vehicle Guide) JAF Tow Truck and Car Transporter" (【のりもの図鑑】レッカー車・積載車(JAFの車)), was broadcast on the t.v. show "Go! Go! Norimono town!" (ゴーゴー!のりものタウン!), on the Kids Station (キッズステーション) t.v. channel. (*Norimono means vehicle in Japanese).
JAF's tow truck is used to move broken down vehicles and repair them.
They can repair a large range of vehicles as well.

The tow truck, made by manufacturers such as Tomica, is a very popular toy with kids.
The toy version of the truck also comes with a loading apparatus used to repair and move broken down vehicles.

More About JAF

JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) is an organization that deals with various automobile related requests and problems, including breakdowns.
They also hold several sporting events throughout the year.

It costs 4,000 yen a year to become a JAF member. If you were to request roadside assistance and were not already a member, you would have to pay the joining fee and membership fee on top of the cost of the repairs at the time of the request.
However, If you are already a member, JAF will repair your vehicle at no extra cost, however fuel and battery charges still apply.

Tow Truck Breakdown Repair

From 1:52 in the video, you can see staff at the JAF call center take various requests from customers requesting assistance.
As soon as a call comes in, a tow truck is sent to the site.
After arriving at the scene, the customer is asked a variety of questions, and if the vehicle cannot be fixed on site it will be towed.

At 3:14 in the video, you can see a boom truck lift up a car with its crane.
Using the crane, the JAF staff can lift the car and have it ready for transportation in around 20 minutes.
A pivot arm is used to lift the front wheels and fix them in place.
The rear wheels and steering wheel are then fixed in place, ready to be pulled away by the JAF vehicle.
Due to safety concerns, a special license is required to lift and tow vehicles weighing more than 750kg.

Types of Tow Trucks

There are five additional types of tow trucks in addition to the regularly used JAF tow truck.
At 4:59 in the video, you can see a car transporter towing away a large vehicle that a regular tow truck would be incapable of transporting.
From 6:03, we see a multi-purpose tow truck transporting motorbikes.

There are also two trucks capable of driving down narrow roads, two-wheeled vehicles that can filter through traffic, and four-wheel drive vehicles that can traverse through the mountains.

The Difference Between a Tow Truck and a Car Transporter

Image of a car transporter
Photo:Car transporter

The difference between a tow truck and a car transporter lies in whether or not the broken down car is loaded onto the vehicle or towed from behind.
A car transporter is capable of loading a broken down car onto the vehicle, reducing any risk of damage to the car and its large size, allowing for multiple cars to be loaded onto the vehicle at one time.
Car transporters are often used to transport brand new vehicles or when moving homes.

JAF Tow Truck and Car Transporter Summary

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the JAF tow truck, a vehicle you might see often while you're in Japan.
For our readers with cars, we recommend looking up JAF services online for when you find yourself in need of assistance.

【Official Website】JAF Road Service Car (Tow Truck)

Written By
Last Updated : Mar. 28, 2022
山本 孝(Takashi Yamamoto)
I've been a writer for seven years. I write articles on travel, food, and history.
The Service Vehicle Helping Those in Need! This Powerful Tow Truck Can Quickly and Easily Move Broken Down Vehicles!
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