DIY Network

How to Operate a Skid Loader

A skid loader is a great tool for large landscaping projects. Host Paul Ryan shows how to operate a skid loader.

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operating a skid loader
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Start the Machine

Put on the seat belt and lower the safety bar into position. Start the machine with a push of a button. The second button turns on the hydraulic systems.

Step 2: Drive Forward and Backward

To drive forward, push the two joysticks forward. Pulling back on both joysticks drives the machine in reverse.

Step 3: Drive Toward the Left and Right

Pulling on the left joystick turns the bobcat to the left, and pulling on the right joystick turns the machine to the right.

Step 4: Raise the Bucket

To raise the bucket, push down on the toe of the left pedal.

raise bucket with left pedal

Step 5: Lower the Bucket

To lower the bucket: push down on the heel of the left pedal.

lower bucket by pushing down left pedal with heel

Step 6: Roll the Bucket In and Out

To roll the bucket out, push down on the toe of the right pedal. Push down on the heel of the right pedal to roll the bucket in. By coordinating the hands and feet, scoop material up, lift it out of the way and move it anywhere.

Caution: Always look before backing up, especially if the unit does not have an audible backup signal. Make sure the loader has "ROP" (rollover protection) and "FOP" (falling object protection).