How to best operate a backhoe loader

How to best operate a backhoe loader

Backhoe loaders are one of the best pieces of large construction equipment for digging. They’re very good at it! Getting the most out of your backhoe is all about operating it correctly. Use these operating tips to ensure the safety and longevity of your machine!

Have thorough training

The first step to operating any large construction equipment is proper training. Those operating the backhoe loader, as well as technicians, should be trained on it. Start by reading through the owner's manual, learning the controls and watching videos from the manufacturer. You can also take advice from those who are experienced and familiar with working with the machine.

Perform pre-operation checks

Know how the backhoe loader works and what you need to check for before operating. It’s important to perform pre-start, warm-up and shutdown procedures. There are numerous settings and options that are important to be aware of. Machines may vary in controls, so be sure you’re able to notice if something will affect the operation. Most backhoe loaders have two operating options: backhoe and excavator digging. You can adjust the machine to suit your job’s needs.

Be sure to adjust the cab settings, such as the seat height and steering wheel. Also, familiarize yourself with the joystick, throttle, and accessories such as the wipers, horn and lights. Allow the engine time to warm up. Test the stabilizer legs and raise and lower the backhoe boom and front loader to ensure there’s power. You’ll want to ensure the machine is level, so adjust its parts accordingly. Be sure to test the arm and bucket as well. After you test each control, practice until you’re comfortable maneuvering the machine.

Attend to regular maintenance

Regular maintenance may seem like too much, but it helps your machine out in the long run. Regular checks will help keep your machine running and out of the shop. Some machines, like those from John Deere, have a chart of things to check right on them. You can also refer to the user’s manual for what to check. A daily checklist should look something like this:

  • Check for any damages that could interfere with operation

  • Check for flat tires and fill them to the recommended PSI

  • Check all fluids (hydraulic, fuel, oil, DEF and coolant/anti-freeze)

  • Apply grease where needed, typically on high-activity areas

  • Check all parts for wear and tear, and replace as necessary

General safety tips

You always want to be safe when working on the job site. Safety precautions keep your machines in check and, more importantly, your employees protected. When working on the job site, be sure to mark any underground obstructions, especially when you’re going to be digging.

Be aware of overhead lines as well so you can avoid coming into contact with them. Other safety tips include honking the horn to notify those nearby, ensuring the boom is locked before driving, never leaving the machine unattended and not going under the machine while it’s running.

Find large construction equipment at Lyon Auction

Proper operation means you’re able to get the most out of your backhoe loader. If you’re looking for one of these machines for your upcoming project, try searching at one of Lyon’s auctions. Buying secondhand can be just as good as buying new, and it saves you money! Contact us today to learn more!


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