5 Operator Mistakes That Can Shorten The Lifespan Of A Skid Steer Loader

6 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog


A skid steer loader is an important tool in warehouse operations because it can be fit with a wide variety of attachments that help carry out numerous work tasks with one machine. Unfortunately, operator practices at many worksites shorten the lifespan of this important piece of equipment, raising overhead costs and reducing productivity.

The following are five common operator mistakes that sometimes cause a facility's skid steer loader to require new parts or replacement prematurely:

Operating machinery when tires are inadequately inflated

Keeping tires properly inflated just takes a little awareness and forethought. Properly inflated tires reduce everyday wear and tear on a skid steer loader. They not only prolong the lifespan of a skid steer loader, but they also reduce fuel consumption. 

Using the wrong size of attachment

At many facilities, attachments are carelessly added to skid steer loaders without any concern for the compatibility of the equipment.

If the wrong size attachment is used on a skid steer loader, equipment can be off balance during operation. This not only creates a safety hazard, but also causes premature wear of machine parts. 

Not only is the size of attachments important, but also the flow requirements. While some attachments require high hydraulic flow, certain skid steer loaders don't offer these hydraulic specifications. Mismatching skid steer loaders with attachments like augers and grinders that require unmet hydraulic specifications will prematurely age the equipment. 

Neglecting to work the machine carefully around surrounding obstacles

Skid steer loaders are popular in warehouse applications because they are designed to fit into tight environments. However, the different attachments that are used on them add additional bulk and make it more challenging for operators to efficiently and safely use them. 

Any impact between a skid steer loader's attachments and surrounding equipment- even a very weak impact- can instigate mechanical failure in the machinery.

Proper training of operators can ensure that operators are familiar with the existing warehouse infrastructure and won't cause damage to either the skid steer loader itself or any attachments during machinery use through accidental impacts. 

Working with a skid steer loader without proper chain tensioning

One of the most important factors of using a skid steer loader properly is ensuring that proper drive chain adjustment has been attained. Improper chain tensioning will be inefficient in fuel consumption and cause premature wear and tear on skid steer loader components. 

Neglecting to clear out the engine and chassis compartments after use

Through the course of a workday, debris can build up in engine and chassis compartments that could contaminate machinery components and make malfunctions more likely.

Conducting a thorough cleaning at the end of each workday- ideally while the skid steer loader is still warm from use- can clear out this debris and prevent contamination. Contact a business, such as Independent Lift Truck Of Alaska, for more information.