How to Use the Rear Tine Tiller

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Most people refer to it as the gardener’s wonder of joy. Whether you plan to have a small flower garden or a considerably larger fresh fruit garden, the rear tine tiller comes in handy. Suppose you have never done gardening before, you are probably wondering how to use this powerful machine. 

You shouldn’t worry because using the rear tine tiller with proper safety precautions is as easy as taking candy from a baby. Its heavy-duty nature makes it a useful tool for breaking fresh ground never broken before. Others refer to it as the self-propelled rear mount tiller. 

The engineering behind the machine enables it to dig deep into the soil to your desired width and depth. Its front wheels are directly connected to the propelling motor, and the weight of the engine is set directly above the tilling tines. The handles are raised to minimize the operator’s force, making its control an easy task.

How to Use the Rear Tine Tiller

As a prerequisite for operating any machinery, always remember to read the user manual to familiarize yourself with how the machine is set up, operated, and maintained. 

Adhere to all the safety precautions in the user manual to prevent injury when using the rear tine tiller. Do not touch the tines when the machine is operating because you can easily amputate yourself.

How to Start the Rear Tine Tiller Engine

Before you start the machine, ensure that you disconnect the spark plug from the plug wire and the wheels are in the wheel drive position. Ensure that all the hardware is in place and any missing hardware undergoes the required service as indicated in the user manual. 

The engine oil should be at the required levels and all the covering material set in place. The gasoline tank should be filled with gasoline away from any open fires because it is highly flammable. Remember, the spark plug was detached; therefore, you need to return it to the position by attaching it to the spark plug wire. 

Before starting ensures that the tiller is on a flat surface. Adjust the depth regulator down to the travel position to ensure that the tines are on the ground. Release all the tiller controls by setting the choke lever to its place and the throttle set to the throttle position. 

Ensure that you turn the fuel valve on before pulling the start cord until you feel some resistance. At this point, the engine will warm up, and you can now adjust the choke lever to the run position so that the rear tine tiller can start moving. 

How to Stop the Rear Tine Tiller Engine

Stopping the engine can result from an emergency such as a mechanical problem or if you are done with using the machine and want to take a rest. You should immediately turn the engine button off whenever you feel you are in an emergency. 

However, under normal circumstances, you need to release all the control levers, which will immediately stop the wheels and the tines. You should then turn the fuel valve off to prevent any fuel from entering the engine. Under normal circumstances, the engine will continue to go on for a few minutes until it dies slowly due to fuel starvation. 

Best Tilling Tips for a Rear Tine Tiller

Whether you are working on an established garden or starting as an amateur gardener trying to prepare your garden for fresh fruits and vegetables, the depth the tines till the soils is significant for your plant’s general health and that of the soil. When tilling, always ensure that you get a good feel of the soil to adjust to desired levels whenever necessary. 

  • When the ground is hard, the soil becomes tough to crack, leading you to lean on the handle. However, that should not be the case since you will lose traction because the weight will move from the wheels. Therefore, you should gently lift the handle a little higher and slowly work through the challenging part or set the depth stake to a lower position.
  • When tilling, you need to let the machine do the work, and all you have to do is control the functionality. The wheels will pull the machine, and the tines dig into the ground letting the fresh soil up. You can walk on the side where tilling hasn’t been done yet to prevent leaving footmarks on the freshly dug earth. 
  • If you want to prepare a seedbed using the rear tine tiller, you will need to move over the same direction twice or thrice, then overlap when moving in the opposite direction the same number of times. Cut across the tilled ground two or three times in opposite directions to properly pulverize the soil. In situations where the ground is too hard, you will need to move a couple more times to ensure maximum pulverization. 
  • Avoid tilling on steep slopes greater than 15 degrees to prevent injuries and mechanical failure to the machine. Experts recommend that you cultivate on moderate slopes. It would be best if you did this on an up and down pattern instead of across. When planning on your cultivation, ensure that you leave room between rows for future plants. 

Cleaning and Storage of the Rear Tine Tiller

The tines on a rear tine tiller have been designed so that they will automatically remove any tangling debris and other materials when tilling, however at some point, grass and other materials such as pieces of wood stick on the tines or even efficient workflow. 

At some point, it may require you to remove the debris using your bare hands. Before doing this, ensure that the plug is disconnected and the machine is off. It would be best if you never used the pressure cleaner to clean the tiller because water can penetrate the engine and cause damage. Instead, always use a towel to do the cleaning and apply a tiny oil layer to prevent rust. 

It is not all times the machine will be under operation. Therefore during the off-season, you need to thoroughly clean the machine’s exterior and avoid water from getting into the engine. The tines should be greased or oiled to prevent rusting. Avoid storing the tiller alongside fertilizer or any other corrosive chemical.

Maintaining the Rear Tine Tiller

The Engine

Different manufactures have different types of engines. You should therefore confirm with the user manual or your manufacturer the appropriate ways of treating your engine. 

Ensure that the engine oil is maintained at standard levels as per the manufactures requirements. The engine should be cleaned regularly by use of a brush or a cleaning cloth. You should avoid running the engine with an incompletely assembled air cleaner. 


Lubrication is one of the most critical activities required when maintaining any machinery. It would help if you lubricated the clutch handle and the cable at least after every season. Lubricate all the pivot points, tine shaft at least once every season 

Replacing the Belt of a Rear Tine Tiller

When planning for a belt replacement, ensure that you contact your manufacturer for directions to an authorized dealer. Before anything else, disconnect the plug wire from the plug and unscrew the cover. Follow the steps according to the type of your machine and remove the old belt. Reassemble the belt and return the body using the hardware you previously used to uncover. 

The rear tine tiller is a powerful gardening tool that every experienced or aspiring gardener should have. It is easy to use and requires less effort saving the gardener from stress and back pains. You do not require an expert to run maintenance because you can easily do it yourself. 

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