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SKID STEER: THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF CONSTRUCTION

03 JANUARY 2019

The rugged skid steer may be the single most versatile piece of equipment on the construction site. If you're thinking about hiring a wheel loader, digger, trencher, roller, forklift or other heavy equipment for your project, a compact skid steer loader with the right attachments could be all you need.

WHY IS IT CALLED A SKID STEER?

Skid steers are so called because of their distinctive turning action. Unlike the larger six-wheeled loaders, skiddys have four wheels (except those with tracks) and the front wheels are not independent of the rear wheels. This causes the machines to skid when steering, allowing for a tighter turning circle.

Skid steers are also called bobcats after a prominent manufacturer.

What are skid steers used for?

A skid steer loader can perform a huge range of tasks with the right attachments. Different sizes of skid steers are better suited to certain types of jobs. Smaller models can be ideal for landscaping and agricultural work, as well as working inside buildings and underground. Larger models have the power to take on heavy construction and demolition jobs, including lifting, excavating and grading.

How easy are they to use?

Another advantage of skid steers is that they're easy to operate, with ergonomic operator stations and intuitive joystick-type controls. They also offer greater visibility and easier front access than some larger loaders.

While certification is no longer required to operate a skid steer loader in Australia, operators must be appropriately trained.

What options are there?

Skid steers come in a range of sizes suited to different tasks, from mini bobcats up to extra large loaders weighing over a ton. All share similar controls, hydraulics and power trains. Another decision to make is whether you need a wheeled or tracked loader. If you're working on grass or soft ground, a skid steer loader with tracks will be more manoeuvrable and cause less damage than one with wheels. However, if you're working on rough terrain such as a demolition site, this could cause damage to rubber tracks.

What attachments are available?

The reason skid steers are so versatile is the sheer variety of attachments that can be fitted for different jobs. Most models are supplied with a 4-in-1 bucket as standard, which can dig, doze, haul and load. General purpose buckets are available in a range of sizes.

Other common skid steer attachments include:

augers – to bore holes for fence posts and other uses up to 600mm in diameterbrooms – for sweeping dirt and debris from roads, paths and floors

brush cutters – for cutting tall grass and weeds on farms and overgrown sites

crane jibs – for lifting heavy loads

dozer blades – for cutting and spreading material

forks – for lifting and transporting pallets, bales and other loads

hammers – for breaking rocks, concrete and other hard materials

rakes – for conditioning and levelling soil prior to turf laying

trenchers – to dig trenches for irrigation, pipes or cables

vibratory rollers – to compact clay, soil, asphalt and other surfaces>

Modern skid steers have high-flow auxiliary circuits that make them more efficient when using hydraulic attachments.

Hire a skid steer loader today

If you need a heavy-duty skid steer or a mini bobcat for rent, Coates Hire has one of the largest fleets of earthmoving equipment and accessories in Australia.

See our complete skid steer range

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