How to Maintain a Roto-Tiller


While some people might enjoy working their soil by hand, many gardeners prefer the speed and convenience of a Roto-tiller to prepare and cultivate their soil. This power tiller is capable of accomplishing in a few minutes the same work it would take a person hours to finish with a shovel or fork. Like any tool, Roto-tillers need regular maintenance to ensure they stay in the best working order, and to extend the life of the machine. Most Roto-tiller maintenance can be done at home.

Step 1

Read the Roto-tiller's manufacturer's manual carefully before performing any maintenance for warnings and instructions specific to your tiller.

Step 2

Disconnect the spark plug before performing any maintenance on your tiller. The spark plug should be replaced yearly.

Step 3

Clean your Roto-tiller thoroughly after each use. Prevent rust by removing all the dirt and mud from the tines. Wait for the engine to cool, then spray the tines and engine housing with a hose and scrape caked mud off with a screwdriver.

Step 4

Check the tiller's tires regularly to make sure they have the correct tire pressure. Consult your tiller's manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for tire pressure.

Step 5

Change the oil in your Roto-tiller at least once a year, or after every 50 hours of use. Tillers tend to get dirtier than other gardening machines, so make sure the lubrication on grease fittings is sufficient. Check your manual to find all of the grease fittings, and use a grease gun to replace the lubricant.

Step 6

Inspect the air filters regularly. Wash the foam pre-filter with soap and water after each use, especially if it has gotten very dusty, and replace the paper air filter yearly.

Step 7

Check all of the tiller's bolts, chains, supports, and belts at least once a year, either before storing the tiller for the winter or before starting to use it in the spring. Make sure nothing is loose or worn, as this causes extra stress on the rest of the machine and can lead to more expensive repairs later on.

Step 8

Top off the oil in the tiller's chain case or gear case, or replace it if it's very dirty or cloudy. Consult the tiller's manual for instructions on how to do this because each type of tiller is slightly different.

Step 9

Check the Roto-tiller's tines for dullness at the end of each season. Replace any tines that have gotten dull.

Step 10

Drain the fuel from the tiller before putting it away for winter storage. After draining, run the tiller to make sure the tank is absolutely dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Manufacturer's manual
  • Spark plug
  • Hose
  • Screwdriver
  • Oil
  • Grease gun
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Air filter
  • Replacement tines


  • Roto-tiller Safety and Maintenance
  • Garden Tiller Maintenance
Keywords: tiller maintenance, clean your Roto-tiller, check the Roto-tiller