DON’T … turn the car wheels sharply on the driveway while the asphalt is fresh and in its curing phase of up to one year. Also, do not turn the wheels while the car is stationary – always ensure that the car is in motion while turning the wheels. Otherwise, power steering gouges will result. These are bruises or lacerations to the surface caused by the kneading, grinding action of the tires moving on the bias against the asphalt.
This problem is most often encountered in L-shaped driveways where the garage sits at right angles to the driveway. The repetitive backing, cutting, and turning actions create this condition. Even cars without power steering or lightweight sports or compacts can cause these marks under certain conditions. Greater care should be exercised in hot weather, since the asphalt is softer and more susceptible to marking.
Reason: Asphalt contains certain oils and volatiles to make it more workable or malleable. Until these oils and volatiles oxidize and evaporate, the blacktop will remain soft. This aging or curing process may take as long as a year, depending upon blacktop thickness, weather, and other factors.
“But my old blacktop never did this!” is a common refrain. This is quite possible because earlier mixes were coarser and therefore more stable. Today’s mixes are much finer in response to increasing public demand for a smooth driveway. While pleasing in appearance, the finer mixes have a greater tendency toward displacement under strain.
DO … be patient. Gradual oxidation will eliminate this problem.
*NOTE – Sealer applied too soon will only aggravate this condition since it tends to trap the oils that that need to oxidize. Premature sealing therefore prevents and retards the curing process. After the driveway “sets up,” then sealer should be applied. We advise that sealer not be applied earlier than 3 to 6 months after the surface is laid, and it is optimal to let the surface “winter over.”