Rototiller Instructions


A rototiller is a useful tool for weeding and cultivating a garden, as well as aerating soil and incorporating amendments into it. The tiller operates similarly to lawn care machines such as a mower, sod cutter and core aerator in that it has a pull-rope starter and the operator pushes it from behind. Because rototillers have cutting tines and most are powered by gas or electricity, use care in operating a rototiller. Read the product manual to familiarize yourself with warnings and instructions for your brand of tiller.

Step 1

Check the oil and gasoline levels of your tiller. Fill the oil and gasoline chambers if necessary.

Step 2

Set the tine engagement controls to the neutral position. Move the throttle control to the fast setting and the choke lever to the choke position.

Step 3

Grasp the starter rope and slowly pull until the rope reaches the start of the compression cycle. Allow the rope to rewind slowly. Pull the rope firmly and quickly outward until the engine starts.

Step 4

Move the choke lever to the halfway point between choke and run while the engine heats. Once the engine is warm, move the choke lever to the run setting.

Step 5

Position your tiller at the beginning of the path you intend to push it along to plow soil. Squeeze the forward engage handle to engage the tines in forward motion. This will propel the tiller forward. To engage the tines in reverse motion, release the forward engage handle and squeeze the reverse engage handle.

Step 6

Move the speed lever to adjust the tiller's speed once you are familiar with how the tiller operates. Find a speed with which you are comfortable.

Step 7

Adjust the depth regulator to change the depth that the tines plow. Remove the pin and slide the regulator handle up or down. Return the pin to the regulator, putting it firmly in place.

Step 8

Shut down the tiller. Move the tiller engagement controls back to neutral and adjust the choke lever back to the choke position.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear protective clothing when you work around a tiller, including long pants, close-toed shoes, gloves, long sleeves and safety goggles. Always be aware of where you place your feet in relation to the tines.


  • Manuals Online: Earthquake Operating Instructions
  • Manuals Online: Cub Cadet Operating Instructions

Who Can Help

  • University of California: Rototiller Safety
Keywords: operating a rototiller, tiller safety precautions, rototiller garden use

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."