RAC rolls out award-winning 'all wheels up' system

RAC patrols can now recover the widest possible range of vehicles - saving drivers time and hassle and helping fleets manage vehicles off road more efficiently.

The RAC has launched its latest innovation in roadside recovery and is rolling out the ‘all-wheels-up’ next generation equipment as standard across its 1,600-strong patrol fleet.

The new facility effectively brings flatbed recovery capability to RAC breakdown patrol vans and has already been recognised with an industry-leading award at the Great British Fleet Event in January.

The increasing number of SUVs, EVs, hybrids and vehicles with electric handbrakes has led to a significant rise in the number of customers whose vehicles cannot be towed due to all wheels locking up on breakdown.

In response, the RAC created an extension to its current rapid deployable towing system (RDTS) so that patrols vans can now fully lift all four wheels of broken-down vehicles, enabling patrols to recover more and reducing the need for an additional recovery vehicle.

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RAC’s director of Technical & Change Kate Burn, who picked up the award for Innovation in Customer Service, said it was important recognition of the value of this innovation in providing an even better service to customers.

She added: “The award is real recognition of the continual innovation and hard work from the RAC Technical team which was able to understand the trends in vehicle towing capability, develop the concept at pace and implement nationally, so that the new all-wheel-lift will be rolled out as standard for all patrols.

“This is really another example of how the RAC responds proactively to changes we see at the roadside, to provide solutions to customers, whether as individual members or fleet managers.”

Vehicles that normally need to be recovered separately – such as SUVs, 4x4s, pick-ups, vans, automatics, hybrids and even electric vehicles – can now all be recovered by a single patrol van.

But it also means vehicles with certain types of fault which make towing impossible, like multiple punctured tyres, handbrake or transmission failures, and many breakdowns caused by potholes, can now be recovered using the new towing equipment.

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The new All-Wheels-Up technology builds on the success of the RAC’s existing rapid deployment trailer, which is fitted to all RAC patrol vans and can tow broken-down vehicles by lifting two wheels off the road. The RAC was the first UK roadside assistance company to introduce this equipment in 2001, and since 2010 its patrols have completed more than 37 million miles of recoveries using it on the UK’s roads.

RAC patrol Martin Payn, who works in Somerset and Dorset and regularly uses the new equipment, said: “This new kit has been very well received by customers who have seen it in action, with many remarking how clever and compact the design is. There are times when customers are fully expecting to have to wait for a recovery truck, and they are genuinely surprised and then very impressed that I’ve now got the ability to recover them myself, with my van.”