A grader, also commonly referred to as a road grader, a blade, a maintainer or a motor grader, is an engineering vehicle with a large blade used to create a flat surface. Typical models have three axles, with the engine and cab situated above the rear axles at one end of the vehicle and a third axle at the front end of the vehicle, with the blade in between.
Graders can produce inclined surfaces and surfaces with cambered cross-sections for roads. In some countries they are used to produce drainage ditches with shallow V-shaped cross-sections on either side of highways.
Graders are commonly used in the construction and maintenance of dirt roads and gravel roads. In the construction of paved roads they are used to prepare the base course to create a wide flat surface for the asphalt to be placed on. Graders are also used to set native soil foundation pads to finish grade prior to the construction of large buildings.
In some locales such as Canada and places in the United States, graders are often used in municipal and residential snow removal. In scrubland and grassland areas of Australia and Africa, graders are often an essential piece of equipment on ranches, large farms and plantations to make dirt tracks where the absence of rocks and trees means bulldozers are not required. A more recent innovation is the outfitting of graders with GPS technology, such as manufactured by Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., Trimble Navigation, or Mikrofyn [www.mikrofyn.com] for precise grade control and (potentially) "stakeless" construction.