Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Start a Rototiller

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Many makes, models and brands of rototillers are on the market. However, like cars, most rototillers have similar starting mechanisms. But that does not mean that these instructions can function as a substitute for a thorough reading of your rototiller's operating instructions, which contains warnings and instructions that may shorten the life of the rototiller or put you in harm's way if they are ignored.

Check to make sure that all of your rototiller's safety mechanisms are in place. All of the rototiller's guards, covers and hoods should be secured in place. If your model of rototiller features a whee lock pin, make sure that it is inserted through the wheel hubs and wheel axle.

Disengage the clutch if one is present on your brand of rototiller.

Move the choke lever to the full choke position.

Move the throttle lever to the "start" position or "fast" position, depending on the model.

Move the shift lever (if present) to the "neutral" position.

Pull the starting rope out slowly and allow it to return. Then, pull the starting rope out quickly and allow it to return. The engine should start. If not, pull the starting rope rapidly again until the engine starts.

Once the engine starts, slowly move the choke lever to the "no choke" position and increase the throttle speed.



  • Be sure to wear sturdy footwear whenever you operate your rototiller.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.