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How to Fix Driveway Ruts

By Aurora LaJambre ; Updated September 21, 2017
Even the most beautiful driveway can develop problems over time.
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Whether your driveway is paved or gravel, maintaining a smooth surface and repairing damage as it occurs maximizes its appearance and durability. Ruts typically develop in a gravel driveway when heavy vehicles crush and scatter stones with daily wear and tear. Paved surfaces can become rutted if the exposed aggregate dislodges, or brittle concrete chips away. Do-it-yourselfers can fix ruts in a few hours with basic materials. If the damage is excessive, have a professional inspect the driveway for structural problems.

Ruts in a Paved Driveway

Step 1

Remove loose debris from the rut, using a hand brush and blower.

Step 2

Brush a thin coat of bonding adhesive around the inside of the rut, using a paintbrush.

Step 3

Spread vinyl concrete patch compound, plastic filler or solid cold patch over the binding adhesive with a trowel. Tamp the patch down with a metal hand tamper or the end of a 4-by-4 inch board.

Step 4

Brush transparent sealant over the patch with a paint roller to protect it from further damage. If you’re applying a coat over the entire driveway, use sealer that loads into a spray pump for a quicker, less laborious application.

Fix Ruts in Gravel

Step 1

Rake the surface of the driveway first. Move across the width and then down the length to spread the gravel from high areas into shallow ruts.

Step 2

Park a tractor at the end of the driveway that's closest to the house. It should face the street. Attach a box scraper to the back of the tractor, and lower the blade to dig an inch deep into the gravel. If you don't have a tractor, hire a landscaper to complete the project.

Step 3

Drive the tractor over the driveway slowly, so that the blade can loosen and evenly disperse the top layer of gravel. Do this two or three times or until the surface is smooth.

Step 4

Replenish the driveway with a 2-inch-thick layer of new gravel. Rake it into a crown so that the middle is higher than the sides to allow for drainage.

Step 5

Compact the gravel with a hand tamper or a compactor machine. If you don't have access to this equipment, an alternative is to lay wood boards over the driveway and drive over the boards a few times to apply even pressure on the surface.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand brush and blower
  • Paintbrush
  • Patch adhesive
  • Vinyl patch compound, plastic filler or a solid cold patch
  • Trowel
  • Tamper or 4-by-4 inch board
  • Sealant
  • Spray pump -- optional
  • Paint roller
  • Rake
  • Tractor
  • Box scraper
  • Compactor machine -- optional

About the Author


Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.