What should I know as the new owner of a backhoe?

A backhoe is a machine that’s designed for one thing, to dig, and it does that very well. In addition to digging, a backhoe has strong material lifting and moving capabilities. With various attachments like grapples, front forks, digging buckets, and concrete saws, a backhoe can perform a number of other tasks.

If you’ve purchased a backhoe, you want to get the most productivity from your new machine. To help you with that, here are some tips that will help you to safely start working with your backhoe.


The first step in backhoe operation is training. Anyone who will be operating the machine needs to know exactly how to use every function the machine is capable of. This would include exactly how to use the controls, and what to do in the event of a malfunction or accident. This sort of training may be available from the equipment dealer, the manufacturer, or even online videos.  An operator should also read the operator’s manual.

Test Drive

Before an operator starts using the backhoe on a job, he or she should spend some time to become fully comfortable with all of the controls, settings, and features.  Driving it around an empty parking lot or field will give the operator time to feel how it’s going to start, move, turn, and stop.

Routine Maintenance

As with any machine, maintenance is important. At the start of every work day, the operator should perform a thorough basic maintenance check to ensure that the backhoe is ready to work. It’s a good idea to have a checklist to run through every time to make sure that the day’s work will go as planned and without accidents or breakdowns.

A checklist may include items like checking all of the fluids and the tire pressure or looking for any damage or excess wear. Like an airline pilot, the operator should routinely go through every step on the checklist and report any abnormalities. If the machine isn’t completely ready for the work day, the problems will have to be resolved before the backhoe can be used.

Safety Checks

Safety checks are important on any job. If the project is going to require digging, the site should be thoroughly checked out. Any underground utilities or obstructions should be marked and anyone on the job site should be aware of them. The operator should also make sure that there are no overhead obstructions or lines that might be problematic in completing the job. Unintended contact with underground or overhead lines could have a terrible outcome.

While operating the backhoe, the operator should be aware of the presence of others nearby. When the backhoe is to be moved, the operator should sound his horn to alert other workers in the area.

After Work

When the job is done, the backhoe should be parked on a stable and level surface, then both the loader and bucket should be lowered so that they’re resting securely on the ground. Finally, engage the parking brake and exit the cab. Under no circumstances should you leave the operator’s seat while the backhoe is running.

Some Operational Safety Tips

  • Always look at the dashboard when starting your equipment – follow the light indicator, it will let you know when your tractor is warmed up so you may fully engage the ignition
  • When positioning to dig, lower the stabilizers to prevent rocking or tipping
  • Don’t overload the bucket, as this could spill material and could damage the machine
  • Keep the bucket low during transport
  • At the end of the day, allow the backhoe to cool down before fully shutting it off

Congratulation on your new acquisition. Make sure that all operators receive adequate training, keep up with any routine maintenance, and practice sound safety practices to get the most productivity out of your new backhoe.

Mission Valley Tractor & Equipment has become an authorized distributor for Land Pride, Gearmore, Towmaster Trailers, Kubota, Paladin, and Echo Outdoor Power Equipment, making us one of the area’s best resources for rugged farming and construction equipment. We’re committed to putting our customers first, which allows us to provide our clients with tough and durable equipment for a variety of uses. In addition to offering new and used equipment, we have a staff of highly trained and experienced technicians that can complete any repairs or preventive maintenance you may need.

We’re conveniently located in San Jose on Brokaw Road, making us easily accessible from both Interstate 880 and Highway 101. If you would like more information about the products and services we offer, visit our website, give us a call at 833-530-6710, or stop by and see us.

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