Instructions for a Bobcat Skid Steer Operation

Written by douglas quaid
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Instructions for a Bobcat Skid Steer Operation
A Bobcat loader is driven using both hand and foot controls. (loader clearing land - widening driveway image by from

A Bobcat skid steer loader takes some practice to learn how to operate, but once you've got the knack of it it's a very powerful tool. Bobcats are available with wheels or tracks for use on rough or muddy ground and there are a number of different buckets and attachments available. Use a Bobcat skid steer for all kinds of lifting, digging and hauling jobs and the ability to drive a Bobcat is a very useful skill to have.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Use the hand rails and steps to climb into the driver's seat. Lower the safety bar and fasten your seat belt. The hydraulic controls only operate if the safety bar is in place.

  2. 2

    Set all controls to the neutral or park position prior to starting up the Bobcat. You don't want the Bobcat to start moving as soon as you turn it on.

  3. 3

    Put the key in the ignition, turn it counterclockwise and hold it for 20 seconds. Holding the key counterclockwise warms up the glow plugs and makes the skid steer easier to start. After 20 seconds, turn the key clockwise to start the engine, then disengage the parking break.

  4. 4

    Raise the bucket a few inches off the ground using the left foot pedal, which controls the boom. Pivot your left foot back to raise the bucket and pivot it forward to lower the bucket. Often operators park a Bobcat by lowering the bucket onto the ground, lifting the front wheels off the ground, so raise it a few inches before you start moving.

  5. 5

    Use the right foot pedal to control the angle of the bucket. Pivot your right foot back to roll the bucket back towards the cab, and pivot your right foot forward to dump the bucket. Be careful to keep the bucket level when you're driving or carrying a load. If you tip the bucket too far back you might dump the load on your head.

  6. 6

    Push the throttle lever forward to move forward. The throttle lever is located to the right of the seat. The further forward you push the lever, the faster you'll move.

  7. 7

    Steer the Bobcat using the two hand levers on either side of the seat. Each lever controls the set of wheels on that side of the loader. Push the right-hand lever forward to turn right and pull it back to reverse the wheels and turn left. Similarly, push the left-hand lever left to turn left and pull it back to turn right.

  8. 8

    Come to a full stop and set the controls the neutral before you turn off the Bobcat. Park by lowering the bucket so that it pushes against the ground, lifting the front wheels.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid steep slopes, and always drive straight up or down a slope, never across. Navigate a slope with the heaviest end of the Bobcat uphill. The Bobcat turns very abruptly, so be gentle on the controls. Rather than cornering like a car, it turns in place, on its own axis.
  • Driving with the bucket raised will make the Bobcat unstable and possibly cause it to tip over. Always drive with the bucket as low to the ground as possible.

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