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How to Level Dirt With Your Pickup

Tom Lutzenberger

For those out on a ranch or large property, leveling dirt can be an annual chore. Paying for someone to come out and perform the work can become costly, particularly if it involves a long stretch of property, such as a private road.

Private ranch roads frequently need to be leveled on a regular basis.

Instead, using your own pickup truck can provide an at-home, cheaper approach with a few extra items and tools. The result will be an effective grader system that does the job fairly well.

  1. Install a towing hitch on the back of your pickup truck if it does not already have one (this avoids towing damage to your bumper). Attach a loop connection hitch insert to the hitch.

  2. Route a chain through the loop connection sufficiently long enough to cover a 16 foot distance. Place the midpoint of the chain in the loop with the ends hanging outward. Attach two chain clips to the chain, one on each end.

  3. Purchase a seven foot by ten foot section of chain link fence from a hardware store with the frame piping already assembled. Attach one end of the chain clips to one corner of the fence. Attach the other chain clip to the parallel corner on the other side of the fence.

  4. Turn the truck on and position it at your starting point. Drop the chain link fence section flat if you want it to drag dirt in front and fill up potholes. Hitch the fence piece up at slight angle if you want it to just level and push excess dirt to the sides.

  5. Place a railroad tie or two on top of the fence section to weigh it down so it won’t bounce while driving. Start driving slowly along the area you want leveled. Repeat the process a few times to get the full leveling effect.

  6. Tip

    Perform the work when the dirt is dry for smooth earth movement. Mud and clay are almost impossible to level when the ground is wet.


    Using a flat leveler such a chain link fence section will flatten an area, but it also takes the center crown down. If you’re worried about water drainage to the sides of a road, you will be better off leveling with a blade attached to the front of the truck so you can control the push of the dirt material back up to the center of the road.