Equipment and Solutions

How to Operate a Bulldozer

Bulldozers are crucial tools for construction work. These powerful pieces of equipment require the correct handling procedures to minimize risk. By following the proper security procedures, you’ll be able to use the machine safely and efficiently.

Read on for more tips for operating a bulldozer.

1. Conduct a Safety Check

Before starting your bulldozer’s engine, it’s important to conduct a thorough safety check of the machine. This investigation ensures that you and the surrounding areas stay safe while using the machine.

Many operators use a checklist to mark off each component and record any problems. These are actions to include in your safety check:

  • Look for damaged parts: First, scan the bulldozer’s exterior thoroughly for any damaged parts. Look for cracks, dents or other forms of wear. If these are excessive, limit your use of the machine until you get a second opinion and ensure it’s safe.
  • Check for leaks: Next, look closely for signs of hydraulic or oil leaks. Leaks are usually detected on the ground, underneath the engine. You should also look at the hydraulic hoses for any cracks or leaks. If you find a leak or hole, consult your user manual for the best way to fix it.
  • Check that hoods latch: You must secure doors and hood latches properly, or else they might open during operation. Close each door and hood and give it a few tugs to make sure they’re secure.
  • Make sure fuel levels are sufficient: Bulldozers need proper levels of oil, fuel, engine coolant, transmission oil and hydraulic fluid to run correctly. Use the owner’s manual to discern the appropriate levels you need and how to fill them.
  • Inspect the cab: Lastly, ensure the cab is safe and secure. Climb into it using the safety rails and steps. Make sure the seatbelt fastens correctly and the ignition is clear.

2. Start the Machine

Once you’ve completed your safety check, it’s time to operate the dozer. Follow these steps to turn it on:

  1. Fasten your seatbelt: Once you’re in the cab, locate the seatbelt and fit it around your waist. Make sure to tighten the belt so you don’t bounce around while the vehicle moves.
  2. Turn the ignition: Place the key in the engine and turn it to the right. Some bulldozers require you to place your foot on the brake before the machine will turn on. Pay attention to any strange sounds that occur when you turn the bulldozer on, such as clanking or squealing. If the engine sounds fine, you can move on to the next step.
  3. Let the engine heat up: Most bulldozers need time to warm up before they can perform at their best. The oil begins lubricating all the components and the cooling system can reach its peak temperature.
  4. Turn the speed control down: To move the bulldozer, you need to move the speed control down. This panel is normally located on the left joystick, and it could be a button, wheel or some other form. Adjust the speed slowly.
  5. Turn the throttle knob to the “run” position: The throttle knob controls engine power. It’s usually on the right or near the ignition key. You can alter it by grabbing it and turning it to the right.
  6. Shift the joystick into forward or reverse: Next, you can gently move the joystick into forward or reverse. You should hear a click as it slides into place. 
  7. Use the joystick and brakes to control the bulldozer’s movements: After the bulldozer is in drive or reverse, moving the joystick will alter its direction.

As you move the bulldozer, test the controls and make sure they work properly before performing at full power or speed. If you notice an issue, troubleshoot it with a supervisor before continuing. 

3. Operate the Bulldozer

After turning the bulldozer on and ensuring all the features work properly, you can begin using it for job purposes. Here are some operating bulldozer tips that can maximize your bulldozer’s performance:

  • Work in the slot: Slots are previously unfilled tracks or paths that you should use to mark out a bulldozing path. Moving your bulldozer forward and backward in the slot reduces the possibility of dirt filling your blade. It’s also often more efficient to use the slot method.
  • Doze from the front and work backward: Many bulldozing experts recommend dozing front to back. This method lowers the time you use the machine in reverse and lessens the amount of wear you put on the track.
  • Check the track tension: You should consistently check the track tension of your bulldozer. If they’re too tight, they could wear down more quickly and result in costly repairs. To make sure your track tension is at a safe level, check the sag regularly. You can measure them by slowing your vehicle to a halt and measuring between the lowest point of the sag and grouser tip. Use a tape measure to get accurate measurements.
  • Use shortcuts: Another one of these operating a bulldozer tips is to use shortcuts where possible. The longer cuts you use, the more dirt the blades will accumulate. Once the machine reaches a certain fill weight, it no longer cuts through the material and only pushes dirt in front of it.
  • Work up and down slopes when possible: Try to work slowly up and down slopes when you can. The more slowly you move, the less likely a rollover or tip-over will occur. It’s also best to avoid changing gears abruptly while you operate the bulldozer. 

As you begin using the bulldozer regularly, make sure to check coolant and engine oils regularly or before each use. It’s best to also look at the transmission, engine oil and air filters before you begin.

4. Shut Down the Machine

Once you’ve completed your work for the day, it’s time to shut down your machine. Using the correct shutdown procedures minimizes wear and improves the longevity of your bulldozer. It will also make sure the heating and cooling systems cool off efficiently.

These are the typical steps for a bulldozer shutdown:

  1. Shift the transmission to neutral.
  2. Lower the blade until it rests on the ground.
  3. Run the engine at a low idle for three to five minutes.
  4. Switch off ignition.
  5. Release the hydraulic pressure.

Your dozer might also have disconnecting switches or security locks. If your dozer features these components, use the user manual to ensure you use them properly.

Contact RAKA for Your Rental Needs

By using correct bulldozer operating techniques, you can preserve it for future needs. At RAKA, we understand the need for high-quality construction equipment. We offer a wide variety of rental equipment for many industries. Whether you need to rent or want to buy a new equipment piece, RAKA is here for you. Our dedication to customer service and superior supply sets us apart from competitors.

Contact RAKA today for all of your rental needs.