How to Use a Tiller

A tiller can be a great tool if you ever need to break up soil for a new lawn or garden. Once you understand how they work and how to maintain them, using a tiller can be a very easy process. If you have never used a tiller or are just looking for a refresher course in how to use one, then listen up. We are going to cover in detail, how to use a tiller, but first we have to start by going over how to prepare the tiller and ensure that all safety precautions are followed correctly.

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Like with most machinery, you want to make sure everything is working properly and that you have the right safety equipment on before you go off and try to start it up. While you may want to just hurry up and get it done, that could result in a poor tiller performance or may even hurt you. So take the extra few minutes and go over the following things.

First, you need to start by checking the oil levels, tire pressure, available gas, and also adjust the handlebars to the proper height for you. Checking these basic things can really go a long way into making sure the tiller lasts a long time and doesn’t malfunction while in the middle of using it. Without oil or gas the tiller runs the risk of stalling or even burning out the engine, and no one wants to replace a whole tiller or an engine just because they forgot to check the levels.

Then, you need to make sure that you are not about to dig up one of your utility lines, because then a small project turns into a massive repair bill. You can usually do this by calling your local office to see where the utility lines are located within your yard or by checking any paperwork regarding the land to see if it shows exactly where they are. Either way, it is highly discouraged to start digging up your yard if you don’t know exactly where the utility lines are.

Tillers are most effective when they are digging up dirt and only dirt. A big mistake people make is that they try and dig up much more, such as sod. You want to try and avoid mixing anything other than dirt when using a tiller, especially rocks. Most tillers have a safety cover to make sure that rocks and dirt don’t fly and hit you, but you never know with small rocks. They could sneak out of the bottom and hit someone or something.
If you don’t already have a tiller you know you are going to use, then make sure to pick out the right one for your project. There are many different types of tillers that can come in small and very large sizes. Pick the one that is easy for you to handle and can get your project finished.

So now that you have your tiller, you already checked it to make sure the oil, gas, and tire pressure is good, and are ready to start using it, you need to make sure you have some safety equipment on. Try to wear closed toed shoes, jeans, eye protection, gloves, and even ear protection if you can. By wearing these simple things, you could save yourself a world of hurt if something were to happen. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so take the advice and wear the protective gear.

Handling the Tiller

Alright, you are all ready to start getting into your project. Before you turn the tiller on, make sure it is in the exact spot you want to start on. This will make sure you don’t end up tearing other parts of your yard apart that you don’t mean to. You almost always want to start the tiller on a shallow setting to start loosening up the soil then switch to a deeper setting later. If you notice the almost all of the soil is pretty loose as it is, then you could probably jump to a medium setting. If it is your first time using a tiller, just start at a shallow setting to get the hang of it and figure out how the tiller feels when it is in use.

It usually doesn’t take long to get used to the feel of a tiller in action, but you want to make sure and take your time. The slower you go, the more efficient the tiller will be, which means it will reduce the chance that you will need to redo that same area. Just walk slowly up and down in lines until you cover the entire area. Once you have done that, you need to switch direction of the tiller then go sideways. If you took your time and went through every inch of your project area, then you should finish up with beautiful soil, all broken up.

Now it is time to clean the tiller. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to use it again in a few days or you only rented it and plan to give it back soon, it is important to properly clean the tiller so that it doesn’t malfunction in the future. If the soil was easy to get through, then most likely your tiller only needs a quick wash down with the hose. On the other hand, if the tiller has massive chunks of dirt stuck on the blades or sides, you may need to get in there and scrap all of it off. If wet dirt dries inside the tiller it could cause it to get stuck when you try to use it again in the future.


So there you have it, an easy to follow guide on how to properly use a tiller. The biggest thing to always keep in mind when using machinery is safety. If you think something doesn’t seem right, turn the tiller off and double check everything. No point in risking an injury if it can be easily avoidable. Once everything is working again, all you have to do is go over the covered area at the right settings to get the desired effect on your soil.

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