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On Road vs Off Road Terminal Tractors – What’s the Difference?

On-road terminal tractors can be legally driven on public streets, unlike off-road models. To comply with federal regulations, the on-road truck must meet stringent guidelines set by the DOT, including emissions and fuel efficiency standards. It should also have a more powerful drivetrain and safety features such as ABS brakes.

What Makes a Terminal Tractor Street Legal

To qualify for on-road use, a terminal tractor must meet the following standards:

  • A top speed of around 35 miles per hour – versus the 25 mile per hour limit typically found among off-road tractors.
  • Add-on environmental features – like “clean idle” exhaust and efficiency-boosting fuel systems.
  • Higher fuel capacity – up to 65 gallons in some cases.
  • A VIN and title – clearly displayed on a metal plate.

 An on-road tractor must also undergo an annual inspection by a licensed DOT inspector. The inspection certificate must remain with the vehicle at all times. The upgrades and additions needed to make a terminal tractor roadworthy can add thousands of dollars to the purchase price.

Is the Extra Cost Worth It?

The answer to this question depends on whether you need to take your terminal tractors onto city streets. For example, let’s say you have a small, self-contained warehouse that’s located well off the public roads. In that case, an on-road terminal tractor might be an unnecessary expense.

On the other hand, let’s say that you have a large distribution center that crosses multiple public roads. You often need to move trailers across the property from one warehouse building to the other. You may also need to use the vehicle for other purposes, such as quick, low-speed trips to local businesses. In such a case, adding a few on-road terminal tractors to your fleet might be a good idea.

Renting vs. Buying: Which Is Better for You?

Whether you go with on-road or off-road vehicles, one thing’s for sure: terminal tractor truck rental from Big Truck Rental offers many advantages over buying. Here’s why:

  • No long-term commitment – you use the truck for as long as you need it. Once the rental period is over, you can either renew your agreement, purchase it for a discounted rate, or simply turn it in and walk away – whatever you prefer.
  • The ability to scale your operations as needed – renting your terminal tractors is a great way to add vehicles to your fleet on a seasonal or as-needed basis, without committing to long-term capital allocation.
  • Top-level trucks from the industry leader – we work with Autocar, the leading name in terminal tractor design.
  • Freedom from maintenance hassles – when you rent from Big Truck Rental, we are responsible for maintenance and repairs, not you.

To learn more about our trucks for rent, we invite you to contact us today. We’ll soon have you on the road to higher profits.

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