Skid loader fire risk - Paranoid newbie

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New member
Oct 16, 2023
Hi all,

Hoping you can give some tips or possibly relief to a paranoid newbie. We are currently building a pool house which has a walkout basement shop - between living on 10 acres and seemingly needing to lift heavy things constantly, I've always wished I had a skid loader because they're so ridiculously handy

I recently got a 3,000 hour Bobcat 553 that appears in good condition for its age - it lived in a barn its whole life and appears to have been greased etc.

After I got it, I started reading about skid loader fires and it frankly scared the crap out of me -- particularly because this will be stored beneath our pool house.

From what I can surmise, many (but not all) of these fires come from accumulated debris. Seeing as how my loader was previously on a farm, there was no shortage of this and I got it cleaned up both in the engine compartment and belly pan as much as possible.

With that said -- is there anything else I should be doing? It has no leaks, but I'm terrified that one day I'll start it up and it'll burst into flames inside my shop, with no way to get it out quick enough if hydraulics failed.

Worse yet, I've heard of a few fires that supposedly started while parked and not in use -- which makes me think about installing a quick disconnect on the battery to lessen the chances of electrical fire.

Are my concerns unfounded? What other tips do you have? Is it actually a reasonable fear to have? Of course, I'll get a fire extinguisher before we store it inside -- but I worry that may not be enough if something happened.

Thanks in advance!


Well-known member
Jun 30, 2009
I'm unfamiliar with spontaneous combustion on Bobcat Skid Steers. I would recommend cleaning debrie under the cab and foot wells. My 753 has a battery shut off / disconnect switch that I turn off anytime I'm not going to be using the machine on a regular basis. This prevents a dead battery and I would think any fire hazard. Good luck!


Active member
Sep 2, 2023
Why not add a good size fire extinguisher somewhere on the skid so you have it available when you need it.


Well-known member
Mar 1, 2018
if you keep the pan area fairly clear of combustables as leaves and excess oil and keep the exaust in good shape and use a battery switch you will be fine


Oct 13, 2009
Run all sorts of them for years in a wood dust environment, the only time they caught fire was when the lazy people never cleaned them out. I seen a few hydraulic leaks that smoked pretty good but never caught fire. Keep the engine bay clean, fix any leaks in a timely manner and clean up excess grease you should be good. We keep a little fire extinguisher in the back window area. I have 3 extinguishers strategically around the yard also, it is frozen here 1/2 the year or more and the garden hoses are out of service. Battery disconnect as others have mentioned is a good idea.


Well-known member
Jul 19, 2016
something you can also do, to help prevent fires is,
before parking machine after using and its HOT up to ,
Is just leave it outside to cool off, back to a COLD motor and such
once it is fully COLD< (and thus FIRE safe more or less(minus any electrical possibilities, adding a battery disconnect can help here as well if these worry you too)
But if you DON"T park the machine in your building till after its all cold, it will for sure lessen the odds of a fire from debris or fluids dripping on hot motors or items(exhaust and so on) as there won't be anything hot enough to cause a fire!

simply leave machine outside away from building , wait till fully COLD<
then quickly start machine let run enough to build pressure enough to work hydraulic system, then drive into building park and shut off, this won't allow enough time for things to get hot enough to ignite anything, fluids, debris and so on!, thus lowering the odds of a fire !
and again if you add a battery disconnect switch close to battery, (or just disconnecting battery when parking ) that also lessens the odds of a mouse chewing a wire while parked and causing any sparks from a short in system,
it however won' t help when you starting after turning power back on, , but you will be there when doing so, so you could act on things if needed,
compared to to a parked machine all alone in storage! just an added step you can take to decrease odds of a fire IMO<
plus, having a battery disconnect switch will also prevent any drain on battery while parked, which pretty much all machine have any how, so there worth adding

so, food for thought on that addition to help you easy your worries!


Well-known member
Apr 21, 2023
I have also noted that way too many burned up skidsteers show up at salvage yards. I suspect the main problem is the development of small leaks that make a spray of hyd oil onto the exhaust manifold, but that is just a guess. I hadn't heard of apparent spontaneous combustion. Fire extinguishers are great if you are there to use them and keep your head, but...

I was considering mounting a throw type fire extinguisher device in the engine compartment. Ace sells them, and no doubt others--something that explodes and sprays extinguisher chemicals if it gets too hot. The target use is to throw them through a window into your burning house, but it seems like they would help with an engine or other location fire if permanently mounted in the appropriate areas of a skid steer.

And obviously, as others have noted, if there is no build-up of combustibles, any fire can't do much.


Nov 17, 2014
Keep it clean watch for leaks. Let it cool off as mentioned, fire extinguisher is nice as is the battery shut off. Sleep easy.

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