A skid loader, skid-steer loader, or skidsteer, is a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. Many manufacturers have their own versions of this vehicle, including Kubota, Bobcat, Terex, Case, Caterpillar, Gehl Company, Hyundai, JCB, John Deere, Komatsu, LiuGong, New Holland, Volvo, Wacker Neuson, and others. Skid-steer loaders are typically four-wheel vehicles with the wheels mechanically locked in synchronization on each side, and the left-side drive wheels can be driven independently of the right-side drive wheels. The wheels typically have no separate steering mechanism and hold a fixed straight alignment on the body of the machine. By operating the left and right wheel pairs at different speeds, the machine turns by skidding, or dragging its fixed-orientation wheels across the ground. The extremely rigid frame and strong wheel bearings prevent the torsional forces caused by this dragging motion from damaging the machine. The skid-steering vehicle is turned by generating differential velocity at the opposite sides of the vehicle. Like tracked vehicles, the high ground friction produced by skid steers can rip up soft or fragile road surfaces. They can be converted to low ground friction by using specially designed wheels such as the Mecanum wheel. Skid-steer loaders are capable of zero-radius, "pirouette" turning, which makes them extremely maneuverable and valuable for applications that require a compact, agile loader. Skid-steer loaders are sometimes equipped with tracks in lieu of the wheels and such a vehicle is known as a multi terrain loader. Unlike in a conventional front loader, the lift arms in these machines are alongside the driver with the pivot points behind the driver's shoulders. Because of the operator's proximity to moving booms, early skid loaders were not as safe as conventional front loaders, particularly during entry and exit of the operator. Modern skid loaders have fully enclosed cabs and other features to protect the operator. Like other front loaders, it can push material from one location to another, carry material in its bucket or load material into a truck or trailer.
Wheeled Skid Steers are ideal for moving gravel, sand, and a number of other materials around construction sites. These machines have quick couplers that allow for a variety of attachments to be installed instead of the standard bucket. The attachments include graders, breakers, and augers.
Renting the right skidsteer loader is a matter dependent upon just how congested a jobsite is. The tighter the workspace, the more appropriate a small skidsteer. Terrain is also a factor. For wet, muddy or snowy jobsites, a skidsteer with tracks gives the operator better traction. If the skidsteer is going to be used three-axel dump trucks -- a standard sized truck, -- a bigger skidsteer is a better choice because the arms have more reach and the bucket is larger which means a large skidsteer can load a truck faster than a small one.
Skidsteers are only between five and seven feet wide which means they can inch between tight spaces with relative ease. Front-end loaders and backhoes, while very useful in their own rights, can not compete with a skidsteer on a congested jobsite. The pivoting action of skidsteers allow the machines to turn 360 degrees on a zero-degree radius.
Job site uses of loader are: