There are many different manufacturers of front loader tractors, including Caterpillar, Bobcat, Case, John Deere, and Kubota. Have you ever wondered why front loader tractors are often called skid steers? If so, you’re not alone. That is a question we get quite often, and one we are happy to answer for you. After all, as the go-to place to shop for all skid steer accessories, we know a thing or two about this industry!
The Origin of the Name “Skid Steer”
The term “Skid Steer” seems like a strange name. In fact, many operators don’t even know the true origin. Typically the wheels on a skid steer have no steering mechanism like conventional equipment. Instead, all four wheels are like the rear wheels of an automobile. They are mounted in a fixed, straight line with the body of the machine. Steering is accomplished by causing the left and right wheel pairs to turn at different speeds and in turn. Doing so makes the front loader machine drag or “skid” its wheels on one side thus turning in that direction. These machines are incredibly heavy for their size, providing the rigid structure needed to prevent damage from enormous torque created by turning. This characteristic skidding motion makes skid steers easy to recognize.
The wheels are on a track that is fixed, so they will only point straight ahead. The wheels on each side of the vehicle are locked in synchronization with each other. Because the wheels are fixed, the operator cannot steer by angling the wheels in a different direction like you would with a regular car or truck. Instead, the operator steers the front loader by speeding up either the left or right side of the vehicle, causing the wheels to skid across the ground. You may have heard this type of steering being referred to as differential steering. Doing so allows you to make zero-degree radius turns, a helpful feature in tight work spaces and when the task at hand calls for precision handling. That’s what skid steers excel at!
Now you have your question answered. Why are they called skid steers? Because they skid when you steer them. The skid steer gets its name from the way it turns. It really is as simple as that!
Skid Steer Attachments
You have a tough job ahead. Whether it’s a professional project or a chore around your large residential property, it’s going to be made much easier if you enlist the help of your front loader tractor. Now that you know a little more about skid steers, you can order the attachments you need to complete the job you’ve been planning for. Here at Skid Pro, we have any and all attachments you could possibly need, from angle brooms to tree saws and beyond!