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Conventional vs. LCG™ 10 & 12-Series Car Carriers

How Low Do You Need To Go?

Within the Miller Industries line of car carriers, there are Century, Vulcan, and Chevron brand carriers.  Outside of the Industrial carriers, there are also two basic kind of carrier designs;  Conventional and LCG (Low Center of Gravity).  While the carrier functionality is not different, the design of the LCG™-style of carrier allows a lower deck height, providing center of gravity that aids in significantly reducing the approach or load angle of the carrier deck, as well as keeping the height of the loaded carrier as low as possible for transport of tall loads.  These benefits provide better maneuverability when loaded, as the loaded carrier becomes less "top heavy".  The lower platform also provides ergonomic and safety benefits when loading and securing a loaded vehicle on to the carrier deck.  The LCG™ platform is lower to the ground, helping to limit the need to climbing on the carrier deck to secure the vehicle.  With the LCG™ carriers it is easier to reach the chain slots on the deck during securement due to their lower height.  

While the benefits of an LCG™-style carrier are fantastically superior to most other carrier designs, the other option of a Conventional carrier might be all you need.  We recognize that all needs are not the same, and with the Conventional-style of car carrier we are able to provide a low approach angle for recovery, and while not near as low as the LCG™-style, this load angle is sufficient for recovering most standard automobiles.  If you don't find yourself recovering or transporting high-end low-profile sports cards, then it is possible that you might not need an LCG™ carrier.  There are also specific chassis requirements with the LCG™-style that can sometimes make choosing a chassis for a conventional-style carrier easier.  One thing is for certain, you don't want to find yourself wishing you could recover that high-end sports car.

Whatever your decision and needs are, we have the Century, Vulcan, and Chevron carriers to meet them.  Our knowledgeable distributor network is ready to answer any questions, and help you decide the right carrier platform for your needs.

Carrier Capacity

Ready to Answer the Call?

Whether you call it a Rollback, Slidebed, or Car Carrier, when selecting one there are many things to consider.  One of the most basic of these criteria is capacity.  Here at Miller Industries, we produce a wide range of carriers in different capacities.  Everything from  10,000 lb. to 40,000 lb. capacity carriers are an option when it comes to the Century®, Vulcan®, and Chevron™ car carriers, all produced by Miller Industries.   

The 10,000 lb. to 16,000 lb. capacity car carriers are primarily designed for towing and recovery of motor vehicles.  A 10,000 lb. capacity carrier is called a 10-Series, a 12,000 lb. capacity carrier is called a 12-Series, and so on.  All speciality options aside, the deck and wheellift capacities should be considered based on the primary usage of carrier.  

Bed ratings are actually based on a "water" load, which means the load is evenly distributed over the entire bed surface.  Passenger vehicles are typically in the 3,500-8,500lb. range.  Pickup and work trucks and SUV's can range from 5,000-10,000lbs. and up to as much as 15,000lbs. when loaded.    Most passenger vehicles on the road today will fall within the capacity range of a 10-Series or 12-Series car carrier.  However, the larger and heavier extended cab work trucks and utility vehicles might require the larger capacity of a 16-Series carrier.  Most often the larger the vehicle, the larger the capacity required to tow it.  

Within this same regard, below shows how the wheellift capacity follows the bed rating for the carrier:

  • 10-Series- 10,000 or 12,000 lb. Deck Capacity / 3,000 lb. Wheellift Capacity 
  • 12-Series- 12,000 lb. Deck Capacity / 4,000 lb. Wheellift Capacity
  • 16-Series- 16,000 lb. Deck Capacity / 4,000 lb. Wheellift Capacity

Overall chassis capacity must be accounted for as well, so as not to exceed the GVRW of the tow vehicle.  For this reason, the carrier bed capacity and wheellift capacity follows the overall capacity of the chassis, so as not exceed the GVRW of the chassis.  This can be an important decision when selecting a truck chassis to put your carrier on.  Below are demonstrates how these considerations play into your working load limit for the carrier deck:

  • 10-Series with a 19K GVW truck provides approximately 5,000lb. rear axle payload.
  • 12-Series with a 26K GVW truck provides approximately 8,000-9,000lb. rear axle payload
  • 16-Series with a 33K GVW truck provides approximately 12,000-14,000lb. rear axle payload
  • 20-Series on a Tandem-Axle truck provides approximately 17,000-20,000lb. legal payload
  • 30-Series on a Tri-Axle truck provides approximately 24,000-30,000lb. legal payload

Other points to consider from the above examples are that there is a difference between chassis, axle, and legal payload.  The above examples include margin for weight distribution and axle capacities, but these may not be exact for every load towed.  Another factor that can affect ratings is the bed construction (steel/aluminum), due to the weight of the bed itself.  Transportation regulations can differ significantly between countries, and an example of this is that rantings in Canada may be much higher than those in the United States.  The example ratings listed above are specific to the U.S. Federal Interstate Scale requirements.  

 

Outside of the four-car carrier, the 20,000 lb. to 40,000 lb. capacity carriers are typically classified for industrial usage.  The industrial carriers feature extra deck support for heavier loads, as well as other options like different specialized decking materials for everything from forestry equipment tracks to large off-road tire platforms.  Industrial carriers are also designed to handle heavier and more concentrated loads, such as forklifts or small tire vehicles.  

Other features on industrial carriers include adjustable-height hydraulic dock-levelers, integrated into the stabilizer bar, that allow for height adjustment at different loading docks.  The addition of stake pockets and outer rail & center row tie-down slots, provide versatility in securing various loads for transport scenarios like hauling mixed freight and pallets.  A class-8 rated chassis is often required with the industrial carrier platform, but this also opens up options for adding tag or lift axles to assist with weight distribution to the axles and tires.

If you are still unsure of which capacity carrier is the right choice for you, then rest assured that the knowledgeable sales staff at your local Miller Industries Distributor are ready and waiting for your call.  Your local distributor can be a wealth of knowledge in helping you select the best carrier for your needs.  

What Size/Type of Carrier Bed Should I Choose?

Picking the Right Length.

There are many factors to take into account when picking a carrier bed size.  A longer carrier bed can give you more flexibility to tow larger cars, trucks, and even trailers.  Choosing a shorter bed provides you with a shorter wheel base, which gives you more maneuverability in tight areas like city streets.  Taking into account these factors of the chassis wheel base, maneuverability, and towing flexibility will help you to better choose the right carrier bed size for your needs.

Another specification of choice is the type of carrier bed construction.  Depending on the carrier type, options can include aluminum, steel, and apitong wood floor.  The considerations of the deck surface also play a role in the usage of the equipment.  Whether choosing the standard tread plate deck surface or the rumber flooring, we have you covered on usages from auto salvage to transporting forestry equipment.  Your location can also be something to consider when choosing a carrier bed construction.  For instance, if you live in the northern areas that are prone to snow and ice, and you are choosing a galvanized subframe, then an aluminum bed might also be a good consideration due to its natural resistance to the elements and salt and chemicals often used to treat roads.  Other preferences such as a smooth bed surface in lieu of the tread plate are options in the configuration of a carrier bed.  Taking into account the usage of the carrier, your overall preference, and regional location will help you to make the best decision possible when configuring a carrier.

Picking The Best Options & Add-Ons

Selecting the Right Wheellift Configuration

So you are looking for a new car carrier, and you have your chassis and bed type selected.  The next big consideration is the style of wheellift configuration.  The wheellift on a car carrier can be the difference between towing one or two vehicles from the scene of an accident using a single car carrier. With the wheellift consideration, there are several options to choose from.  Miller Industries offers five main types of wheellift configurations:

  • L-Arms (Standard Option)
  • Century® Pivot
  • Vulcan® Scoop-Style
  • Drop-In L-Arms
  • Chevron™ Auto-Grip II

Each option listed has their own benefits, and can offer different types of hook-ups and restraints for securing the vehicle to the carrier wheel grid.  Many of these options come down to user preference.  Speed and ease of securement are factors that many towers look at when selecting the wheellift that is right for them.  Please see this Carrier Wheellift Video  that walks you through all of the different wheellift options, and outlines the benefits of each.  If you still have questions or are ready to explore your options and purchase a car carrier, please reach out to one of our knowledgeable distributors.  

Car Carrier Maintenance Corner

Keep Your Carrier in Top Condition

Maintenance on your wrecker or carrier is critical to maximizing its longevity.  Miller Industries products are durable and have stood the test of time, but not without some tender loving care.  Simple routine steps like proper lubrication of grease points, changing of fluids, and other maintenance items go a long way toward keeping your wrecker in top condition.

Here are a couple helpful resource links:

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The heart of our 14-truck operation are the carriers.  Our fleet includes two industrial carriers and four Century Right Approach™ carriers.  The Right Approach™ carriers are truly one of the best additions to our fleet.  The design allows us to load and offload efficiently and without damage.  Thanks Miller Industries for an awesome product.

Shawn Bristow

Jim Kissane Jim's Towing Service, Elmhurst, IL

Miller Industries has been our choice of towing equipment for many reasons over the years. Their dedication to their products and the changes they make to better their products are second to none. Miller Industries side mounted winch on their carriers is our go to for safe loading a wide variety of vehicles. Thanks Miller Industries for supplying a great product and developing new products for the future of towing.

Shawn Bristow

Bob & Laurie Jaspersen Kustom Karriers, Minnetonka, MN