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How to Put Transmission Fluid in a Rear Tine Tiller

Owen E. Richason IV

A rear tine tiller -- also called a "power tiller" or "rototiller" -- is a small engine-powered cultivator that turn tines or blades to till soil. These outdoor equipment tools are ideal for cultivating soil to plant a vegetable garden.

Because the tiller uses a motorized engine, it must be maintained just like any other internal combustible engine -- it needs regular oil and transmission oil changes. On most rear tine tillers, this is a simple procedure.

  1. Read the owner's manual to find the right transmission oil for your model.

  2. Place the rear tine tiller on an even, sturdy surface. Allow the rear tine tiller's engine to cool completely before adding more transmission fluid.

  3. Push the depth regulator lever backward and slide to the second notch from the top position. You may have to lift the hood flap and cut the plastic tie with scissors if the tiller is brand new and the transmission fluid has not yet been added.

  4. Locate the oil level check plug on the transmission's left side. Wipe away any dirt or loose paint with a clean rag. Unscrew the oil level check plug by hand or with a wrench, if it is stuck. If transmission fluid begins to spill out, screw the oil level check plug back into place; this indicates the tiller's transmission oil does not need to be filled.

  5. Insert a funnel into the oil level check plug hole. Pour the appropriately rated transmission fluid into the funnel. Stop pouring transmission oil into the tiller once fluid begins to run out of the hole. Remove the funnel. Place the oil level check plug into its hole and tighten it down securely with a wrench or by hand.


Manufacturer Troy-Bilt recommends tiller owners check the transmission oil after every 30 hours of use or if an oil leak occurs on the tiller.