Yard Spotter Truck: Everything You Need to Know

Yard Spotter Truck
Yard Spotter Truck: Everything You Need to Know
A cargo yard or warehouse facility needs someone to do all the heavy lifting. Learn all about the yard spotter truck here.

The terminal tractor market is worth over $603 million

These vehicles are also known as a yard spotter truck. They're a specialized type of forklift with a wide range of applications.

Read our yard spotter truck guide to learn what these vehicles do, whether to rent or buy, and how to choose the best one. 

What Is a Yard Spotter Truck?

There are several types of forklifts, but the yard spotter truck is one of the most essential. It's similar to a semi-tractor but uses a shorter wheelbase.

Yard jockeys are the employees you'll see using these vehicles to move trailers and cargo around a yard. They aren't allowed on public roads and highways.

The yard spotter truck has a cab made of 12 gauge steel with a 360° view and a rear cab door. They also use a fifth wheel coupling that helps them lift and keeps their legs low while they load and unload.

Nearly 90% of the terminal tractor market uses diesel fuel in Europe, North America, and Asia, but the demand for fewer emissions and better fuel efficiency is increasing.

There are different types of yard spotter trucks. Ottowa trucks, for example, are the best for connecting and disconnecting lines from within the cab.

Should I Buy or Rent a Yard Spotter Truck?


Most forklift dealerships allow you to buy or rent their products. This is the first and one of the most important decisions you'll have to make.

Buying a forklift will cost you at least a few thousand dollars. Renting one is the more economical option.

Buying increases your investment in terms of both money and time. It puts all the burden of maintenance and transportation on your shoulders.

When buying a yard spotter truck, you'll have to replace and repair any failing parts. You'll also have to pay to transport the machine to job sites. Renting allows you to avoid all these obstacles because the rental company will pay for all repairs and transport your machines wherever you need them.

Buying a forklift is a sensible option if you know you'll use the same type every day. Rental companies give you a larger variety of up-to-date equipment.

How Do I Choose the Right Yard Spotter Truck?

Deciding whether to rent or buy a forklift is only the first step in the process. You must also consider several other factors to ensure you get the best possible vehicle.

When choosing a yard spotter truck, be sure to research the dealership, have all the information you need on hand, and decide what amenities you need. Be sure to take every option you're considering on a test drive before committing to it.

Find a Dealership

Research every dealership in your area online by looking into their reviews, testimonials, and products. This, along with speaking to the members in person, should help you find the best option.

Bring the Necessary Information

There's a wide range of information you should bring with you when purchasing or renting a yard spotter truck. Tell the dealership about your needs in regards to acreage, size, air conditioning, transmission, and other factors.

Like any tractor, you'll need to know how many acres you have before choosing a terminal tractor. It helps the dealer know what size you need.

Yard spotters have a variety of applications, including:

  • Field, yard, and material moving
  • Grading
  • Haying
  • Snow removal
  • Garden tilling

The vehicle you choose should be able to handle every task you give it. Give the dealership a rundown of what type of jobs you need the yard spotter truck to do and which ones are the most important.

Forklifts of all types come in a range of sizes, and choosing one that's too big or too small is an easy mistake to make. Be sure to know how large your facility is and what type of cargo the vehicle needs to carry.

Transmission is another important factor to consider when looking for the right vehicle. There are 2 main types for terminal tractors; manual and hydrostatic.

Manual transmission is the most common type but requires a bit more skill to operate. You need to get used to releasing the clutch to move forward.

A hydrostatic transmission is better for new drivers. It allows you to choose a speed range or gear and then push down the reverse or forward pedal to control your direction. It also lasts longer than manual transmissions.

Consider whether you need a front-mounted loader on your yard spotter truck. These parts affect your vehicle's hydraulic capacity and determine whether or not it needs four-wheel drive.

Consider Amenities

A basic yard spotter truck can do most jobs but may not be comfortable or efficient enough for your employees. Consider adding popular amenities such as:

  • Air conditioning
  • LED lighting
  • Comfortable seats
  • Entertainment systems
  • Bluetooth
  • Dashboard-mounted yard management systems
  • Automation

These additions can improve employee morale, safety, and productivity. They may be worth the extra price, so be sure to find a vehicle that includes them if you need to.

Test drives are as essential for forklifts as they are in consumer automobiles. It's the best way to find a comfortable, maneuverable yard spotter truck. Test as many different options as you can. 

Other factors to consider include lift and hydraulic capacity and horsepower range. The right dealership will help you find the perfect yard spotter truck to meet your needs.

Where Can I Find a Yard Spotter Truck?

Forklifts are the backbone of several industries, and the yard spotter truck is one of the most essential types. It moves trailers and cargo across lots and is useful for other applications such as removing hay or snow and tilling gardens.

Before choosing a yard spotter truck, decide whether you want to rent or buy and what specifications you require. The next step is to find the right dealership to guide you to the right vehicle.

Large Lift Trucks is a dealership you can trust for renting or buying any type of forklift your jobs require. Get a quote today.