Three Ways to Improve Skid-Steer Loader Productivity

Published on August 14, 2015

It’s the busy season and you can’t afford for your skid-steer loader to breakdown. Create and follow a simple maintenance plan to stay ahead of costly repairs and downtime.

Commit to three maintenance habits to significantly extend the life of your skid-steer loader: a routine maintenance schedule, advanced fluids knowledge and seasonal equipment needs.

Routine Maintenance Schedule

If you perform most of your own skid-steer loader maintenance, make time for routine visual inspections of the machine and its components. Inspect these three areas: fluids, filters and grease points.


Check fluid levels every day. Most manufacturers’ operation and maintenance manuals and some engine compartment decals provide instruction on daily fluid-level checks for engine oil, hydraulic oil and coolants. Measurable fluid loss may indicate loose hoses, fittings or other potential damage. 


Inspect filters at least once a month. All filters and fluids should be changed at scheduled intervals. Fluids should be monitored to see if they are running at proper temperatures as running them at elevated temperatures may require more frequent replacement. Also note that as oils and coolants age, their additives break down and could impact performance.

Grease Points

Grease equipment parts like pins and bushings at the manufacturer’s specified interval to minimize wear on pivot points.

Advanced Fluids Knowledge

Today’s skid-steer loader engines burn cleaner and run hotter. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) engine emissions standards take effect in the compact equipment industry, you must be more knowledgeable about fuel and oil selection.

Tier 4 engines require ultra-low-sulfur diesel that burns cleaner and helps to reduce engine emissions. CJ-4 oil is required for these engines as it is formulated to reduce ash. Additional filters on storage and transfer tanks will also help ensure that you’re using clean fluids.

Equipment Needs in Different Weather Conditions

Plan to take some special steps in your fluid maintenance plan depending on the time of year. Follow these tips:

  • Select engine oil viscosity to match the expected temperature range.
  • Frequently monitor coolant levels.
  • Keep cooling components like the radiator and oil cooler clean to maximize their efficiency.

Three Time-Saving Maintenance Tips

Making time for daily maintenance is worth every minute and penny you spend on it. Bobcat skid-steer loaders have the industry’s most convenient access to components.

  1. One-side serviceability: The swing-open tailgate and transversely mounted engine put daily maintenance within easy reach, allowing you to check engine fluids and filters, examine the air cleaner and other components, and inspect the battery.
  2. Easy tip up cabs: Access hydraulic and hydrostatic components within five minutes by removing two nuts and tipping the cab.
  3. Oil cooler and radiator: Components are easier to access and clean.

Contact your local dealer for parts support, or to schedule a maintenance check for your machine.