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A skid loader, skid-steer loader or skidsteer is a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms that can attach to a wide variety of buckets and other labor-saving tools or attachments. Skid-steer loaders are typically four-wheeled or tracked vehicles with the front and back wheels on each side mechanically linked together to turn at the same speed, and where the left-side drive wheels can be driven independently of the right-side drive wheels. This is accomplished by having two separate and independent transmissions; one for the left side wheels and one for the right side wheels. Earliest versions of skid steer loaders used forward and reverse clutch drives. Virtually all modern skid steers designed and built since the mid-1970s use two separate hydrostatic transmissions (one for the left side and one for the right side). The wheels typically have no separate steering mechanism and hold a fixed straight alignment on the body of the machine. Turning is accomplished by differential steering, in which the left and right wheel pairs are operated at different speeds, and the machine turns by skidding or dragging its fixed-orientation wheels across the ground. Skid-steer loaders are capable of zero-radius, turning, by driving one set of wheels forward while simultaneously driving the opposite set of wheels in reverse.
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