Interactive Skid Steer Parts Diagram: Search and Learn About Skid Steers and Compact Track Loaders

Interactive Skid Steer Parts Diagram: Search and Learn About Skid Steers and Compact Track Loaders

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Whether you’re a passionate skid steer specialist, you’re a compact track loader operator looking for more knowledge on your machine, or you’re just about to roll up your sleeves and take on a skid steer repair, we’ve created this simple interactive skid steer diagram to help you better understand this important construction machine.

Click a part or a label to learn more about the part, its function on a skid steer or compact track loader, or to see and search that specific part at H&R.


Axles Bucket / Attachment Bucket Cylinders Cab Engine Final Drives / Travel Motors Lift Cylinders Lift Arm / Boom Lighting Main Control Valve Main Hydraulic Pump Radiator Rims / Undercarriage Tires / Tracks Weights / Brackets


The axles on a loader connect the drive systems to the wheel or tracks of the machine. The design of the machine’s axles ranges greatly from tracked to wheeled machines and between manufacturers with each configuration taking into account applications, efficiency, and operator comfort.

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Bucket / Attachments

Buckets are the most common type of attachment on a skid steer. However, since skid steers and compact track loaders are used in such a wide range of applications, attachments are available for a number of job-specific tasks. In fact, one of the strongest selling points of the modern skid steer is its easy adaptability to hundreds of specific jobs through the quick change of its attachment.

Some common attachments are:

  • Pallet forks for lifting and moving pallets and application-specific forks for agricultural uses
  • Augers for digging holes
  • Blades for moving material or clearing snow
  • Grapples for grabbing and moving material
  • Mowers and ground clearing implements for maintaining brush and landscaping
  • Brooms and sweeps for clearing debris
  • Pavement saws, concrete buckets, and concrete mixers for performing concrete work 

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Bucket Cylinders

Two bucket cylinders, attached to the lift arm and the bucket, allow the operator to tilt the bucket to load or dump materials. In applications where a different implement is being used the cylinders can be designed to control the attachment in different and specific ways.

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The cab on a skid steer or compact track loader is the control center for the machine and, in today’s newest machines, the cab can be loaded with advanced technology to maximize the abilities of the machine and its operators.

Since small loaders so often work in busy and compact areas, cabs are outfitted with features to protect the operator and ensure their safety as they use the machine. In the most extreme work sites, some loaders are even operated remotely and allow the person controlling the machine to work from a more safe location.

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At the heart of the loader is an internal combustion engine that turns fuel into output to drive the machine's travel system, power the machine’s hydraulic systems, and charge the batteries that power the machine’s electrical systems. 

Often a skid steer is called on to run continuously for long stretches of the work day so engines must be designed to balance efficiency with power. 

Recently, all-electric skid steers have been introduced for use in applications that require low emissions or low noise, but these are still largely a small percentage of loaders in use today.

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Final Drives / Travel Motors

In tracked equipment, final drives transfer power from the drive train to the tracks using a system of gears designed to reduce speed and increase torque through planetary gears. Most commonly, a final drive is divided into a hydraulic travel motor and a gearbox with gears designed to increase torque as it is applied to the tracks.

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Lift Arm / Boom

The lift arm (or boom) connects the bucket to the machine and allows the machine to lift materials. The lift arm of the loader must be built and designed to accommodate the weight of loads, stand up to forces when in pushing applications, and resist wear from constant and repetitive use. The length of the lift arm defines the reach of the machine and the dumping height of the bucket.

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Lift Cylinders

Two hydraulic cylinders, one on each side of the lift arm, control the lifting and lowering of the boom. These cylinders must be sufficiently powerful to lift heavy loads and designed for frequent use. A loader operator must take care to prevent damage to lift cylinders during lifts and when the boom is subject to forces from the side.

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Lighting on a skid steer or compact loader serves two purposes: highlighting the work area and increasing the visibility of the machine to other machines and their operators. Loader operators often work in tight quarters and need to perform their work to exacting measurements. Under these constraints, proper lighting and good visibility can mean the difference between success and failure on the job.

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Main Control Valve

The main control valve in a skid steer or compact track loader controls the direction of flow and pressure of the hydraulic system and each of the loader’s hydraulically-powered parts. 

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Main Hydraulic Pump

The main hydraulic pump on a skid steer or compact track loader transforms mechanical energy from the engine into hydraulic energy that is in turn supplied to hydraulic components through hydraulic fluid. Cylinders, travel motors, swing motors, and other hydraulically-powered components all derive their power from hydraulic pumps on the excavator.

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A radiator is a heat exchanger that transfers heat from a fluid to the air. In a skid steer or compact track loader, the radiator transfers heat from the engine coolant to the air, cooling the engine and preventing it from overheating.

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Rims / Undercarriage

On a skid steer, heavy duty rims connect the drive system to the tires. A skid steer rim can be subject to impacts and wear from materials and quick and constant pressure from starting, stopping, and changing directions so it must be designed for strength.

In a compact loader, the tires are replaced by tracks and need support from a number of undercarriage parts, including springs to maintain tension, wheels to keep tracks aligned, and sprockets to direct force to the tracks.

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Tires / Tracks

While tracks and tires each offer unique benefits to loaders, choosing which to use often comes down to application. This choice is extended even further when deciding tread patterns and materials and choosing can involve considerations for ground impact, operator comfort, working conditions, cost and durability, and more.

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Weights / Brackets

Brackets on the rear of a skid steer or compact track loader allow an operator to add weights to the machine. While weights will decrease the overall efficiency of the machine, adding weight can be used to increase the down pressure of the machine or offset balancing issues when lifting heavy loads.

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We hope you found this diagram and these simple, short definitions helpful in your skid steer and compact track loader knowledge search. As always, if you're searching for a part solution for your own skid steer or compact track loader, our expert Parts Specialists are here to help connect you to a part in our deep and ever-expanding inventory or even to search our vast parts network. Just drop us a line or request a quote.

Excavator Parts Diagram Image

A labeled skid steer parts diagram.
A skid steer diagram shows the location of some of the important parts of a skid steer.