How To Operate A Skid Steer – A Step-By-Step Guide

February 20, 2023 4:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A skid steer is a versatile machine that can be used for many different tasks. They can be rented from rental companies or heavy equipment dealers, and they come in all shapes and sizes. But, like any piece of machinery, it’s important to know how to operate them safely and efficiently. 

Getting Started 

The first step is to get familiar with your machine and understand how it works. This will help you make decisions when choosing tools and the best size for your project. 

Choose A Skid Steer That’s Right For Your Project 

The best skid steers are designed to handle your specific job requirements, and they also have the proper controls to make your work as easy as possible. You’ll find that pros prefer hand joysticks over foot pedals, but either is fine as long as you are comfortable using them. Before you start, read the operator’s manual. It should give you a detailed description of the control functions and show you the correct positions for the levers, foot controls and the boom/bucket controls. If you’re unsure what’s where, ask a rental specialist for help. 

Use The Bucket And The Lift Arm Safely 

A skid steer has a short wheel base, which makes it extremely maneuverable, but also adds to its instability. This can be dangerous when you’re dumping or loading a load. Always back up from a pile of material to ensure that you don’t bottom out or roll the machine over. Avoid rocking the skid steer around or turning the bucket unless the soil is dry and you’re confident you can keep your balance. Turning the skid steer can wreak havoc on lawns, driveways, and other ground surfaces, so only turn it in wide circles to minimize damage. 

Check Gauges Before Operating 

Before you begin any project, check the gauges of your skid steer. If the gauges show anything in the red, that’s a sign of a problem that you need to address before moving forward. Never operate a skid steer in conditions that are unsafe, such as when the weather is rainy or snowy, when there are animals, insects, or other wildlife nearby, or when there is ice on the wheels. This will help you protect yourself and others from injury. 

Enter And Exit The Loader Safely 

Once you’ve completed your project, lower the bucket to the ground, set the parking brake and then shut off the engine. Leaving the machine while it’s running will cause the motor to overheat and potentially cause damage to the machine or yourself. 

Follow The Three-Point Contact Procedure 

When entering, face the skid steer and maintain three points of contact with the handholds, steps, or hand controls on the door. Do not climb onto the bucket or lift-arm supports. After lowering the bucket to the ground, pull down the overhead safety bar and buckle the seatbelt until it’s secure. You’ll also need to lock the safety bar before you can exit. 

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