One of the expenses in maintaining a garden is the upkeep of cultivator parts. There are several styles of cultivators and some have more parts than others that require frequent service. Self-propelled cultivator parts include an engine and transmission to be serviced as well as the actual cultivator. Tiller tines, cutting disks and bearings are all cultivator parts that require service and attention throughout the gardening season. Modern metallurgy and manufacturing practices have created cultivator parts that last much longer than parts from only a decade ago.
Perhaps the most popular cultivator found in the home garden is the rototiller. This machine consists of an engine powering not only the tiller tines which dig into the earth, but a transmission which drives the tiller in forward and reverse directions. In this type of machine, one of the most changed of all cultivator parts is the drive belt. As the machine digs its way through the garden spot churning up the soil, the occasional hard spot in the ground often causes the tiller to chew through its belt. In models that are gear-driven instead of belt-driven, the shear pin is sacrificed upon encountering a difficult spot in the soil. This feature spares saving other cultivator parts from damage as the engine attempts to power through the area.
Due to the nature of the machine's use, certain cultivator parts are prone to frequent damage and replacement. The tiller bearings are operated beneath the surface of the soil. This leads to premature bearing failure as dirt makes its way into the bearing housings. Proper maintenance in the form of greasing and cleaning the bearings will add time between bearing replacement.
Some of the most abused cultivator parts are the tiller tines themselves. The tines or blades should be sharp to promote the best cutting and turning of the soil. Tines that are dull and bent make the machine work much harder to dig through the earth. The finished appearance of soil worked by a cultivator with dull tines is much more lumpy and uneven than that of a machine with sharp tines.
By rearranging the spacing of the tiller tines, the cultivator can be used to weed the garden as well as to work it up in the first place. The cultivator parts can be spaced so as to run on both sides of a row of plants. This not only removes any weeds that might have taken root, but it also loosens the soil to promote better root growth.