The increased limiting effects of soil compaction on Central Anatolian soils in the recent years demonstrate the need for a detailed analysis of tillage system impacts. This study was undertaken to ascertain the effects of seven different tillage systems and subsequent wheel traffic on the physical and mechanical properties of typical Central Anatolian medium textured clay loam soil (Cambisol), south of Ankara, Turkey. Both tillage and field traffic influenced soil bulk density, porosity, air voids and strength significantly except the insignificant effect of traffic on moisture content. Traffic affected the soil properties mostly down to 20 cm. However, no excessive compaction was detected in 0-20 cm soil depth. The increases of bulk density following wheel traffic varied between 10-20% at 0-5 cm and 6-12% at 10-15 cm depth. In additions, traffic increased the penetration resistance by 30-74% at 0-10 cm and 7-33% at 10-20 cm. Less wheel traffic-induced effects were found on chisel tilled plots, compared to ploughed plots. Soil stress during wheel passage was highly correlated with soil strength. Also, both tillage and traffic-induced differences were observed in mean soil aggregate sizes, especially for mouldboard ploughed plots. The obtained data imply that chisel+cultivator-tooth harrow combination provides more desirable soil conditions for resisting further soil compaction. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.