What is a Terminal Tractor?

A terminal tractor is a vehicle designed specifically for moving semi-trailers across the grounds of a distribution center, warehouse, receiving facility, or intermodal depot. They are rarely used on public roads, although some models are DOT compliant.

Terminal tractors are known by a variety of terms, including:

  • Yard truck
  • Yard spotter truck
  • Shunt truck
  • Yard dog
  • Yard goat
  • Hostler

 Big Truck Rental offers a variety of short- and long-term terminal truck rental agreements in partnership with Autocar, one of the industry’s top yard truck manufacturers. Get the world-class truck you need immediately and keep it only as long as you need it. Rent-to-purchase options are available, and our tailored maintenance program is customized to fit your needs.

Characteristics of a Terminal Tractor

Terminal tractors have a distinctive design and appearance that includes:

  • A compact wheelbase – allowing them to make tight turns in crowded spaces.
  • Auto-locking kingpin couplers – that can be raised or lowered by the operator from inside the cab.
  • Space-efficient cab designs – meant to accommodate a single driver. Modern versions include heat, air conditioning, padded seats, and ergonomic controls.
  • Rear-opening doors – that allow the operator to access the semi trailer’s connections without climbing up and down the truck.
  • Fuel-saving diesel engines – designed specifically for low-speed travel across short distances. Some models use electric engines instead.
  • Simplified transmissions – usually automatic and with pushbutton controls.
  • Spacious windshields and windows – allowing the operator a 360° view at all times.

These trucks can be rented or purchased. Terminal tractor rental allows your company to meet temporary, unexpected, or short-term demands without an exorbitant outlay of capital.

Why Terminal Tractors Were Created

Traditionally, the task of moving trailers across distribution center property was left to OTR drivers using their personal semi-tractors. However, in recent years this method has become increasingly awkward and potentially dangerous, due to the following factors:

  • The explosive growth in the size of distribution centers and intermodal facilities – as these locations become larger and more crowded, the risk of collisions grows ever greater.
  • The danger of injury to truckers – who must climb in and out of their cabs, operate landing dollies by hand, and engage or disengage kingpins manually, all while keeping an eye out for other vehicles. Terminal tractors include features that either avoid these tasks or make them far easier to accomplish.
  • The training curve associated with driving a big rig – operating an over-the-road semi-tractor is a skill that can take months or even years to learn. On the other hand, the skills needed to operate a terminal tractor can be learned quickly.

Rent Your Terminal Tractors from Big Truck Rental

Our instant yard truck rental program allows you to add vehicles to your fleet on an as-needed basis, without the hassles and headaches associated with outright ownership.

We have a plan designed to meet your needs, whether you’re after short-term yard spotter truck rental, long-term shunt truck rental, or rent-to-purchase. For garbage trucks to rent and more, get in touch with us today for your personalized quote.

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