How to Use a Garden Tiller

Check out these tiller operation tips

Before you begin using a tiller, check out your owner's manual for tiller operation tips and to identify and familiarize yourself with the different garden tiller parts. Then review these tips for how to use a garden tiller to ensure your machine works efficiently and lasts a long time.


Tilling Depth Tips

When using a tiller, it's important to avoid digging too deeply too quickly, especially when busting sod or when tilling soil that hasn't been tilled for some time.

  • Use the shallow depth regulator settings - only an inch or two deep - for the first passes through the garden area.
  • Adjust the depth regulator to dig an inch or two deeper with each succeeding pass.
  • Water the garden area a few days prior to tilling to make the work easier. then let the newly worked soil set for a day or two before making a final, deep tilling pass.

Tiller Operation Tips

While tilling, relax and let the wheels pull the tiller along while the tines do the digging. Tiller operation means guiding the machine rather than forcing it.

  • Walk on the side that is not yet finished to avoid making footprints in the freshly tilled soil.
  • Avoid pushing down on the handlebars in an attempt to force the tiller to dig deeper.
  • Do not put hands or feet near the rotating parts.
  • Never operate your tiller without good visibility or light.
  • Always be sure of you footing and keep a firm hold on the handles.

Tips for using a Tiller on Different Surfaces

Be careful when tilling in hard ground. The tines may catch in the ground and propel the tiller forward. If this occurs, let go of the handle bars and do not restrain the machine.

  • Exercise extreme caution when operating on or crossing gravel surfaces.
  • Look down and behind you and use care when in reverse or pulling the machine towards you.

Tips for Garden Tiller Parts

When you're ordering garden tiller parts, it's important to use only the attachments and accessories approved by the manufacturer. Failure to do so could result in personal injury. You can shop for genuine attachments and accessories for your garden tiller with the MTD Part Finder.


If you accidentally strike a foreign object when using a tiller, stop the engine, disconnect the spark plug wire and ground against the engine. Thoroughly inspect the machine for any damage. Repair the damage before starting and operating. Use our garden tiller troubleshooter to find out what's wrong with your machine and make repairs or order the necessary garden tiller parts.  

Part Finder

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You can use the Part Finder to help find your model and the right part for your machine.

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