Tips and Best Practices for Your Dozer Operator

Proper bulldozer operation is critical for many construction, grading, and road building jobs. How productive your machine ultimately is depends largely on your dozer operator. To help them and your business out, follow the below best practices below that will ensure optimal performance and the safest operation possible.

Always remember the daily walkaround inspections

Just like with your other equipment, it’s important that your dozer operator visually checks the machine prior to starting each shift. A close inspection allows you to notice and fix small issues before they turn into larger, more expensive, and potentially dangerous problems. If they see any issues, your dozer operator should report them immediately and hold off using the equipment until they are resolved. Things to be on the lookout for include fluids on the ground around the machine, low fluid and battery levels, and any cracks, bends, and breaks on undercarriage parts. Your operator should also ensure that safety features like backup alarms and seatbelts are functioning properly.

Avoid fast or non-productive movements

Dozers should always be operated deliberately and carefully. If your dozer operator is traveling at high speeds or taking longer routes, it will lead to greater stress on the machine’s undercarriage components and increase wear and tear. We recommend moving slowly whenever possible and taking the shortest route available.

Try not to drive in reverse, if possible

When moving dozers backwards, it increases the stress on its pins and bushings, which leads to more wear and tear on its components. Traveling in the forward direction causes significantly less stress and related wear, so we recommend trying to spend the majority of operating time in this direction.

Prevent track slippage

Track slips on dozer jobs waste fuel and create greater stress and wear on components. Your dozer operator should avoid overloading the blade or pushing material up steep inclines, as both can lead to track slippage and spinning.

Your dozer operator needs to inspect track tension throughout the day

The primary culprit behind increased or abnormal undercarriage wear is improper track tension. A good dozer operator needs to adjust tension at the jobsite rather than in the shop, so it matches real working conditions. They should also make frequent adjustments throughout the entire day, because changes in weather will often alter the packing conditions of the terrain you’re working on.

Keep your undercarriage clean

Dozer jobs take place in dirty, muddy, messy conditions, leading to dirt, mud, and other debris collecting in your tracks, which can hurt performance and hinder effective bulldozer operation. A dirty undercarriage will run less efficiently and experience faster wear and tear. On muddy or dirty dozer jobs, we suggest clearing away debris after each shift and using a power washer to thoroughly clean the tracks with water.

Use the right angle blade

Depending on the particular machine, a dozer operator will have various blade angle options to choose from. Common angles are 30, 45, and 60 degrees. We suggest choosing a 30 degree angle for lighter grading projects, because it enables a shallow approach and a fine finish with minimal soil removal. A 45 degree angle is best suited for general purpose dozer jobs like rough grading, cutting undulations, and filling in lower spots. Setting the blade at 60 degrees provides the best results for scarifying and cutting into harder or heavier ground.

Set the correct blade pitch

The pitch or angle of your blade can have a huge effect on your grading performance and how efficiently your dozer operator finishes the job. We recommend pitching your blade forward slightly for penetrating material during initial loading, and then pitch it backwards while pushing for maximum material retention.

Implement grade control technology

An important part of improving performance and productivity on dozer jobs with modern machines is using grade control systems. This technology helps the operator maintain a pre-programmed grade, avoiding time consuming and costly rework and allowing them to complete the job in as few passes as possible.

If you have any questions about our dozer operator tips or dozers and dozer jobs in general, contact our team today!

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