Skid Steers are extremely versatile equipment that can tackle different types of terrains. They are usually used in construction sites and farms to load large amounts of dirt and debris and to level the ground. They can have a number of devices attached to them depending on the job, ranging from buckets, forks or snow blowers. Their operation is similar to tanks and while they are not tough to operate, it takes skills and practice to operate them with ease.

Getting started with a bucket attachment

Skid steers have separate drive wheel controls enabling them to navigate small areas, turning completely on their own axis. Some models come with hand controls while others have foot pedals. Once the control arms and foot pedals are located, the arms must be pushed forward to steer the equipment forward, and pulled back to move the equipment in reverse.

The best way to get started with operating the skid steer is by studying the operations manual that came with it so that you can familiarize yourself with the various features and controls. Since this equipment is built to travel rough terrain, getting your seat belt on before operating it is a must, to avoid being toppled out. Here are some quick instructions to operate the vehicle:

• Release the parking brake and unlock the hydraulics

• To turn right, the left lever must be pushed forward and the right lever must be pulled back. The extent to which you pull the right lever will determine the angle of your turn.

• To turn left, the right lever must be pushed forward and left lever pulled back. Now, to lower the device in front, for example, the bucket, the front of the left foot pedal must be pressed with your left foot.

• To raise it, apply pressure with your left heel on the left foot pedal. To tilt the bucket upward, press your right heel down on the right foot pedal.

• To empty the bucket while in the raised position, apply pressure on the front of the right foot pedal.

The joystick style operation is easy to learn although it takes plenty of practice to steer it over rough ground. The moment the left joystick is pushed forth, the wheels begin to spin or if it has tracks, they turn.

You must remember to lower the bucket and arms and switch the engine off before climbing out of the cabin. The operations manual will have instructions on the maximum weight the bucket or other device can take and it is important to stick to these limits since overloading can imbalance the vehicle.

While skid loaders come with wheels, the multi terrain models have tracks for better traction in slippery terrain. Other benefits of tracks are reduced soil compaction, minimal damage to the surface and low ground pressure.

The drive system on the skid steer does not have transmission and so it powers the wheels or tracks with pumps and powerful hydraulic motors. There is an anti-stall device in some models where the pumps powering the wheels or tracks can sense the load and ensure that the engine does not get overloaded.

Skid steers are particularly useful in landscaping as they can handle many tough jobs with a variety of attachments, besides being easy to switch between job sites.