Skid Steer Training – How to Operate a Skid Steer

16th July, 2018

A Bobcat T650 compact track loader in the VDNKh, Moscow, Russia. A front view.

Skid Steer Training – How to Operate a Skid Steer Loader

Skidsteer or tracked loaders are highly capable machines ideal for materials handling or operating attachments, so it makes sense that you may want to buy or hire one for your next project.

As with any plant machinery however, operating them safely, efficiently and effectively is a must.

Be sure to prepare the workspace before using the machine and most importantly, use it with all safety precautions in place. Here at MTS Plant we have comprised a quick training guide to operating a skid steer machine. Read more below:

Choose the Right Skid Steer for your Job

If the workspace is narrow, a smaller skid steer would be most efficient. Same is the case with wooded areas where trees are in close proximity to each other.

Bigger skid steers are great if the project involves large amounts of materials to move or there are heavier objects to lift. Bigger machines are preferable as they come with bigger buckets for the task.

If your site features rough terrain or turf, a tracked loader may be better suited. These machines are smooth to operate and will almost never get stuck even in the most demanding conditions. They are also gentler on lawns to help reduce the damage.

Both skidsteer and tracked loaders often come with the option of traditional “hand and foot controls” or joy stick controls. Both are great, however the joystick controls offer greater precision and accuracy when needed. Both options are good, and often the decision comes down to operator preference.

At MTS Plant, we offer a wide range of skid steer loaders for hire in the UK as well as for outright purchase. You can also hire a range of Bobcat attachments to make the most of your machine and increase your job efficiency.

Bobcat S650 Skidsteer Loader Google Labled For Reuse


How to Safely Transport your Skidsteer:

If you are transporting the loader yourself, be sure to have an adequate truck / trailer set up. When loading, the bulk of the machines weight should be just in front of trailers tyres, however not too far as you don’t want the weight to cause the truck/vans front tyres to lose traction. When strapping down the straps / chains should be pulling the machine equally towards both the front and back of the trailer.

If this is your first time towing a trailer, moving a tracked loader or skidsteer is probably not the best place to start. At MTS Plant our teams can arrange transport to and from your site if required.

Bobcat Pallet Forks Hire


How to Operate a Skid Steer without Mishaps?

  • Where you are concerned about causing damage underfoot, cover the path of the skid steer with plywood, especially walkways, sidewalks and patios. A skid steer is a heavy machine and can cause damage as you drive.
  • Objects behind and on the sides of the machine are rarely visible. It is important to keep your workspace clean when the machine is in operation. Put objects and more importantly, people out of the machine’s way.
  • Save time and effort by picking rocks in the way of the machine by hand. If you choose to pick up rocks using the skid steer, be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy.
  • Avoid skids by making your turns long and wide. This will also help reduce surface damage, and increase the life of your tracks and tyres.
  • Use the machine on dry land whenever possible to avoid ruts.
  • Ensure the bucket is tilted down when you lift, failing to do so can be a messy mistake as the contents can spill back into the cab.
  • When travelling uphill, it is important to keep your bucket low to the ground. You should always enter hills with the heavy site first (when the bucket is full this is the heavy side), occasionally this may mean reversing uphill to keep the machine stable.
  • Ensure that the bucket is clean every time you offload dirt. Stubborn dirt can stick to the insides making the job of moving dirt inefficient. Use the skid steer controls to shake the bucket and remove the dirt when emptying.
  • Stuck in loose soil or sticky clay? use your bucket to push your machine free as you back up. When working in poor ground conditions always avoid backing up to objects as this will make life difficult should you become stuck.

Our Important Safety Tips:

  • Ensure operators are trained and competent. MTS Plant can offer Lantra award beginner and re-fresher training courses if required.
  • Always shut off the engine when exiting the machine.
  • Never walk under raised arms.
  • Always wear hearing protection.
  • Never lift or transport passengers in the machine.


We Have a Wide Range of Skid Steer Loaders for Sale & Hire in the UK

MTS Plant offers a wide variety of Skid steer and Tracked Loaders for sales and skid steer loaders for hire in the UK at competitive rates. Not sure which model is right for you? Our specialists would be happy to assist you.

Our plant sales team in the UK offers both new and used machines. As approved Lantra Award training providers we can also assist with operator training requirements where needed.


Talk to the MTS Plant team today to discuss your loader requirements :

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Andy Richardson – Wetherby Tool Hire

We have been working with MTS Plant for just over 12 months now and have found their service and support second to none. Vanessa, Jenny, Matt and the team are fantastic and will always go the extra mile to meet our requirements. We have regularly used MTS Plant for Dumper and Excavator hire throughout this period and have found their range of machinery very reliable & of excellent quality. I would 100% recommend MTS Plant Hire.

Mark Dormer – Contracts Manager – Furness Brothers Ltd

We have used MTS Plant for a number of years and have been constantly impressed by the service provided. We work in a quick-moving industry where our requirements for small machine hire can be at short notice and highly varied. MTS Plant manages to keep us supplied with quality machines along with great customer service. We look forward to driving our business forward knowing that we have the resources to satisfy our customers needs without the high expense of owning our own machines.

John Cassidy – Travis Perkins

MTS has been a great company to cross hire small plant in for our customers. The great thing about MTS is the friendly staff who are very committed to making sure Travis Perkins is a priority customer and will move things around in their daily transport too fit urgent orders in. Myself and my team now use Mts as our first point of call as we have confidence in how the business works from the staff to the machines themselves.

Paul Kinsella – Easy Driveways

MTS has arranged for us at times very short notice the most diverse ranges of hire equipment, even nationwide. We first started using MTS a few years ago now an don’t hesitate to call the well mannered and excellently informed staff, We have experienced difficulties when on hire and the response was second to none, from the delivery drivers to the mechanic’s, the professional advice and service we haven’t matched anywhere in my 32 years in construction.

The branch at Leigh is always ready to accommodate our needs and they do it with a cheerful professional manner every time.

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