Once your asphalt driveway has been newly installed, you will want to take care of it to help it last as long as possible, which can be as long as 35 years. Along with the right maintenance of your asphalt driveway, it is important to keep it cleaned and free of damaging vehicle fluids, which can eat away at your asphalt's surface. Here are some tips and recommendations to help keep your asphalt surface free of fluids and their damage to keep your asphalt's surface long-lasting.
Clean Off Vehicle Fluids
Vehicle fluids that spill and drip onto your asphalt driveway not only look unsightly as they create stains, but they will also wear away and break apart the materials holding together your asphalt. Asphalt is made of sand, gravel, and tar emulsion, which is what can immediately begin to deteriorate it when it comes in contact with oil, gasoline, brake fluids, and other vehicle fluids. When the tar emulsion begins to break down, it loosens the aggregate and sand, causing the surface to deteriorate. The asphalt will begin to show pitting damage and soften until you have a deep hole in the asphalt.
For new stains, it is recommended that you treat and clean them immediately. You can use kitty litter to soak up the excess fluids. Sprinkle it over the fluids and let it sit overnight, then sweep it up to remove it from the asphalt the next morning. Any remaining fluids can then be washed from the asphalt. Use a degreaser asphalt cleaner or liquid dish detergent with a scrub brush and water. Scrub the area clean and rinse it with water.
Remove Fluid-Damaged Asphalt
If the fluids have begun to cause damage that has begun to work its way down into the asphalt's surface, you will need to remove the section of asphalt from the paved area. Leaving any of the fluids behind in the asphalt will allow the fluids to continue to eat away at your pavement, eventually working through its entire thickness.
Use a circular saw with a concrete or masonry blade to cut around the area of damage. Be sure to extend your cut several inches past any visible fluid damage to ensure you cut out all the fluids. You will need to cut through the entire thickness of asphalt to remove it down to its gravel base or to the soil layer beneath it. Use a shovel and a sledgehammer to break up the asphalt, then remove it into a dumpster for disposal. Be sure none of the damaged asphalt touches nearby asphalt, as the fluids can transfer and begin to cause new areas of damage.
Repair Fluid-Damage Areas
Once you have cut out all affected asphalt, you can replace it with new hot mix or a bagged cold-patch asphalt. If you are repairing large areas of damage, it may be economical to order a load of hot mix asphalt from a local paving company who can fill your damage holes. If you only have small areas you need to fill, you can find cold-patch filler sold in bags at most home improvement stores.
When filling holes with cold-patch filler, pour and compact it into the holes in layers so that you can compact it fully and remove any air pockets to give your asphalt strength. Use a hand tamp or the end of a wooden fence post to compress it as you layer it by shovel into the hole. Fill the hole slightly over the surrounding asphalt surface, then compact it with a vibrating compactor machine to compress it level. You can also set a piece of plywood over the patch and drive your vehicle over the wood to compress it.
Use these tips to help you remove and repair damage from vehicle fluids on your asphalt pavement.