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How to Operate a Bobcat

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How to Operate a Bobcat. A bobcat is a machine used in construction to move dirt, stone or debris. As most heavy machines in the construction industry, bobcats require practice and skill to operate effectively and safely. Learn to use a bobcat for optimum performance.

Understand that operating a bobcat machine takes practice which requires time. Allow for approximately 10 hours of practice time in order to become proficient with the bobcat.

Familiarize yourself with the parts of a bobcat. The machine has levers to control direction, pedals to control the bucket and safety mechanisms. Ask the bobcat rental company for a brief overview or detailed instructions if you are unsure.

Start the engine of the bobcat and throttle it to get the engine moving. Secure the lap bar to ensure you are safely inside the bobcat. Push both levers away from you to move forward; pull the levers toward you to move the bobcat back. To turn left, pull the left lever back while simultaneously pushing the right lever forward. Perform the reverse to make a right turn. To stop, let go of the levers.

Work the two pedals at your feet to control the bucket of the bobcat. One of the pedals controls the up and down motion of the bucket while the other pedal is used to scoop up debris and dump it where you'd like it to end up. Pushing forward on the pedal picks up debris; pushing the back of the pedal dumps the debris. Apply pressure to either pedal to perform the desired task; release the pedal and the task immediately stops.

Park the bobcat when you are finished, making sure that the bucket is touching the ground (to avoid crushing something underneath) when you shutdown the bobcat.


Prepare for a rough ride as bobcats aren't equipped with a suspension system.


Always check your surrounding while operating a bobcat to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Bobcats move quickly and are heavy machines. Make sure the bucket is lifted up a bit when moving the bobcat to avoid skidding on the ground.

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