Skid-Steer Loaders

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    Skid-Steers can be difficult to operate, but with the proper safety knowledge and instructions you’ll be a pro in no time.

    Rent a skid-steer loader to easily complete small jobs in tight spaces.

    Before renting a skid-steer loader, it is very important to make sure it can lift the load you need to move. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professional can help you select the best skid-steer to rent for your purposes. The major considerations you need to evaluate prior to renting your skid-steer loader include:

    • Size. Make sure to rent a skid-steer loader that can fit through any narrow passages necessary to get to your worksite. The widths of skid-steer loaders typically range between 3 and 6 feet, whereas lengths usually fall between 8 and 12 feet.
    • Dump height. Make sure the bucket can be raised as high as you need to dump the contents in the desired location. Smaller skid-steer loaders may have a dump height of only 6 feet, whereas larger ones may offer a dump height of about 8 feet.
    • Rated capacity. The rated capacities typically range from about 700 to 3,250 pounds. Keep in mind that different materials do not weigh the same. Do not exceed the lift capacity of the rented skid-steer loader, even if all of the material fits in the bucket. Exceeding the rated capacity can damage the skid-steer loader and seriously injure the operator.
    • Additional steering options. Some all-wheel drive models allow for use them in either a skid-steer-loader steering mode or an all-wheel-drive steering mode. The all-wheel-drive steering mode means that all four wheels turn when changing directions. This option can result in less surface disturbance and damage at the worksite.

    Benefits of a skid-steer loader

    The skid-steer loader’s name derives from the fact that its wheels on one side work independently from the ones on the other side, causing it to move by sliding sideways. Contractors rent skid-steer loaders for a variety of construction and landscaping applications. Skid-steer loaders can spread, dig, lift, carry and load all kinds of loose material, as well as perform a number of other functions using attachments. Wheels distinguish a skid-steer loader from its almost identical cousin, the tracked loader. Other characteristics that make a skid-steer loader desirable to rent include that it is:

    • Compact. Rented skid-steer loaders can work in areas too small for larger front loaders or backhoes.
    • Maneuverable. Many skid-steer loader rentals offer zero-turn radius, which gives them incredible maneuverability in tight quarters.
    • Flexible. A rented skid-steer loader’s ability to accept a wide variety of attachments makes it the Swiss army knife of earthmoving equipment. Depending on the tool you attach to the skid-steer loader, you can use it as an auger to drill a hole, a breaker to demolish concrete or a forklift to move pallets of material. Other attachments give it the capabilities of even more tools.

    Attachments

    Attachments make rented skid-steer loaders one of the most versatile pieces of equipment of all. Although, the list of attachments available for skid-steer loaders is nearly endless, the following describes 10 popular attachments.

    • Bucket. This attachment allows you to use the rented skid-steer loader for lifting, moving and loading all types of loose material, such as dirt or rock.
    • Pallet forks. By attaching pallet forks to a rented skid-steer loader, you can lift, move and load pallets of material.
    • Power auger. A power auger attachment on a rented skid-steer loader lets you easily dig a hole for foundation footings or fence postholes.
    • Blade. Attach a dozer blade to a rented skid-steer loader for leveling and grading sections of earth.
    • Grapple. If you need to hold, lift and place trees, you can accomplish the task by adding a grapple attachment to the rented skid-steer loader.
    • Tiller. A rented, skid-steer loader’s tiller attachment allows you to till and level a field or pasture.
    • Breaker. You can connect a hydraulic breaker to your rented skid-steer loader to chip away at old concrete, asphalt or stone for removal.
    • Stump grinder. The sharp teeth and cutting wheel on a stump grinder attachment lets a rented skid-steer loader cut into and grind a stump.
    • Cement mixer. You can attach a concrete mixer attachment to a rented skid-steer loader to mix, transport and dump concrete where needed.
    • Snow blade. To clear a parking lot or driveway of snow, you can add a snow blade attachment to a rented skid-steer loader.

    Best practices

    As the operator of a rented skid-steer loader, you bear the responsibility for the safe operation of the equipment. Do not operate the equipment until you know how to use it properly. Please review the tips below and read all manufacturer warnings and instructions. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professional can provide you with complete instructions. Some rental stores offer how-to video instructions for information on using the equipment safely and effectively.

    • Read all manufacturer warnings and instructions prior to using a rented skid-steer loader.
    • Properly secure the rented skid-steer loader when you transport it.
    • Follow safe practices when to hook up and tow a rented skid-steer loader.
    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
    • Always wear a seat belt when operating a rented skid-steer loader.
    • Do not remove or modify any built-in safety features.
    • Use skid-steer loader only in areas that offer adequate ventilation.
    • Keep onlookers away from the jobsite while using a rented skid-steer loader.
    • Do not allow anyone to ride in the rented skid-steer loader other than the operator.
    • Do not lift anyone using the bucket of the rented skid-steer loader.
    • Check and, if needed, service fluid levels in the rented skid-steer. Shut off the skid-steer loader’s engine before refueling.
    • Select an attachment — approved by the manufacturer of the rented skid-steer loader — that suits the intended application. Make sure to secure it to the skid-steer loader properly.
    • Perform a worksite inspection, taking note of all overhead electrical lines or obstructions, as well as soft ground, drop-offs and steep slopes. Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet from overhead electrical lines.
    • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for starting and shutting off the rented skid-steer loader.
    • Only operate the rented skid-steer loader from the operator’s seat.
    • Operate the rented skid-steer loader at reduced speed until you know exactly how it handles.
    • Avoid quick, jerky movements of the rented skid-steer loader or any of its attachments.
    • When moving the rented skid-steer loader on slopes, go up and down the slope and not across it.
    • When moving the rented skid-steer loader, keep the bucket or attachment low to the ground.
    • Do not exceed the lift capacity of the rented skid-steer loader.
    • Never use the rented skid-steer loader to lift a load over anyone.
    • Always lower the attachment to the ground, lock it, turn off the engine and set the parking brake prior to leaving the rented skid-steer loader.
    • Mark the areas where you will dig.
    • Before you dig, call 811 — the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number — to notify utility companies of your digging plans, so that they can send a locator to mark underground lines for free. Plan ahead, it will be a few days after calling. The exact time requirements for waiting vary by state.

    Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your skid-steer loader needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.